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Scenario assignments as assessment tools for undergraduate engineering education

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3 Author(s)
F. McMartin ; California Univ., Berkeley, CA, USA ; A. McKenna ; K. Youssefi

A challenge many faculty face is finding effective qualitative tools to assess students' skills and knowledge of practices. This paper describes how one such tool, the scenario assignment, was used in an upper division Mechanical Engineering course at the University of California at Berkeley. The scenario assignment is a qualitative performance assessment tool designed to assess students' knowledge of engineering practices, framework, and problem solving. An analytic rubric was developed to assess students' knowledge with respect to the learning outcomes associated with the scenario tool. Students were given a scenario that describes a “day in the life” problem faced by engineers. They were then asked to describe a process they would use to solve the problem. Careful testing of the rubric and training of the scorers revealed that the scores reliably differentiated among student abilities. Two sample student responses to the battery scenario are presented and discussed. Initial findings suggest that use of the scenarios can help faculty to quickly identify students' strengths and weaknesses and adapt their course to address the areas where students need attention

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 2 )