J. Fredericks Volkwein, Lisa R. Lattuca, Patrick T. Terenzini, Linda C. Strauss, and Javzan Sukhbaatar
Center for the Study of Higher Education, Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802-3203, USA
This paper summarizes the research design, sampling plan, and instrument development for the Engineering Change (EC) Project, a three-year research activity that examines the impact of ABET’s EC2000 on engineering education. The project assumes that, if EC2000 has been effective, evidence of change in ABET-accredited programs will be linked to changes in engineering student outcomes. The primary focus of the EC Project, thus, is on student learning. Compared to engineers prepared under previous guidelines, engineers educated in EC2000 accredited programs should exhibit higher levels of achievement in the 11 learning outcomes identified in the accreditation standards, Criterion 3, a±k. The EC Project includes a secondary focus on curricular modifications and instructional practices, on institutional policies and reorganization, and on faculty cultures and attitudes that may, in turn, have affected student learning. Thus, the following evaluation questions guide the EC Project: What impact, if any, has EC2000 had on student learning outcomes in ABET-accredited programs and institutions? What impact, if any, did EC2000 have on organ- izational and educational policies and practices that may have led to improved student learning outcomes? To address these research questions, we developed a project evaluation plan that contains the following elements: conceptual framework, research design, sampling strategy, and instrument development.