Assessing Engineering Design Process Knowledge

Reid Bailey
College of Engineering, University of Arizona, 1130 N. Mountain Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA E-mail:

Zsuzsanna Szabo
Educational Leadership Department
Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Illinois, 62026, USA

Rigorously assessing students’ design process knowledge is essential for understanding how to best create learning environments to facilitate the development of such knowledge. Such assessment is also quite difficult and hence there is a lack of assessment tools capable of measuring design process knowledge of every student in a large college. Faculty from both the Colleges of Engineering and Education at the University of Arizona are developing such a tool. The approach being developed aims at assessing if students can explain and analyze an engineering design process by having them critique a proposed process. Two versions have been developed so as to provide a pre- and post-test. An analytic scoring rubric is used to assess the design knowledge embodied by the student responses. Results from the 2003-4 academic year indicate that one of the two tests has sufficient validity and that the scoring rubric is too detailed for the nature of the tests. Hence, in the second phase of this work, a new test will replace the invalid one and a simpler rubric will be implemented.


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