Assessment Process

Assessment and Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)

Assessment in the William State Lee College of Engineering is handled by the Individual Course Assessment Process (ICAP) and by the Focus Area Improvement Teams (FAIT).  Every semester through ICAP, faculty members track direct performance measures and make improvements at the course level.  In addition, ICAP results are evaluated by faculty to improve content, delivery, and student learning outcomes in each successive offering of a specific course.  ICAP results are also forwarded to the appropriate FAIT for continuous improvement of course sequences.

Description of Assessment Reports

Assessment reports include a description of the effectiveness measures, information on the scaffolding of learning that takes place prior to assessment, the methodology of assessing the SLO, reflection on the learning process, and any proposed changes to be implemented as a result of the SLO data trends. Each program establishes an acceptable target for student achievement. The results of the assessment act as one source of evidence about student learning.

BS in Civil Engineering (BSCE) SLOs

The BSCE has 9 learning outcomes, including 6 specifically for the concentrations in the program:

BSCE01: Students will be able to identify, formulate, and solve civil engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.

BSCE02: Students will effectively communicate through technical report writing.

BSCE03: Students will effectively communicate through oral presentations.

BSCE04: Students who graduate with an energy infrastructure concentration will be able to identify, formulate, and solve energy infrastructure design problems.

BSCE05: Students who graduate with an environmental/water resources engineering concentration will be able to apply engineering design to produce solutions that consider public health, safety, and welfare, in addition to environmental and economic factors.

BSCE06: Students who graduate with a geotechnical engineering concentration will be able to apply engineering design to produce solutions that consider public health, safety, and welfare, in addition to environmental and economic factors.

BSCE07: Students who graduate with a land development engineering concentration will be able to apply engineering design to produce solutions that consider public health, safety, and welfare, in addition to environmental and economic factors.

BSCE08: Students who graduate with a structures concentration will be able to apply engineering design to produce solutions that consider public health, safety, and welfare, in addition to environmental and economic factors.

BSCE09: Students who graduate with a transportation concentration will be able to apply engineering design to produce solutions that consider public health, safety, and welfare, in addition to environmental and economic factors.

Effectiveness Measures, Method & Expected Performance Outcomes

BSCE01 - Students will be able to identify, formulate, and solve civil engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics. SLOs are evaluated during each calendar year. The following data refer to the previous calendar year (January 1 – December 31). Two types of instruments are utilized to assess SLOs: (1) final exam questions and (2) the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE) exam.

Final Exam Questions

One final exam question from two core civil and environmental engineering (CEE) courses is selected to evaluate each student’s ability to identify, formulate, and solve civil engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics. The two courses selected for this assessment cycle were Structural Analysis (CEGR 3122) and Geotechnical Engineering (CEGR 3278). 

Structural Analysis CEGR 3122. Students were asked to draw shear, bending, and axial diagrams for a frame that has specific connections that will test their understanding of determinant versus indeterminate civil engineering problems in the structural area. It was expected that 75% of students would earn a minimum of 13 points out of the 25 available points for this problem using the rubric provided at the end of this report. (see the circles on the rubric, which indicate minimum requirements for this Student Outcome)

Geotechnical Engineering CEGR 3278. Students were asked to calculate the total consolidation settlement in clay given the appropriate laboratory results. It was expected that 75% of students would earn a minimum of 11 points out of the 15 available points for this problem using the scoring rubric provided at the end of this report.

Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam.

UNC Charlotte civil engineering students were evaluated on their ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering to the following 11 topics: a) mathematics, b) statistics, c) engineering economics, d) statics, e) mechanics of materials, f) hydraulics and hydrology, g) structural analysis, h) structural design, i) geotechnical engineering, j) transportation engineering, and k) environmental engineering. It was expected that the average performance of civil engineering students at UNC Charlotte on 11 different math, science, and engineering topics of the FE Exam would meet or exceed the national average as measured by a comparator ABET accredited test sample. The ratio of UNCC/Comparator was ≥ 1.0.

Structural Analysis CEGR 3122

There were 30 students assessed in CEGR 3122 during the fall 2018 semester. 33.3% of students met the performance target resulting in a performance ratio (Actual/Target) = 0.44. The target was not met for this course.

Geotechnical Engineering CEGR 3278

There were 44 students assessed in CEGR 3278 during the fall 2018 semester. 72.7% of students met the performance target resulting in a performance ratio (Actual/Target) = 0.97, slightly below the performance target.

FE Exam

41 students took the FE Exam in the spring and 39 students took the exam in the fall of 2018. The results from all 11 topic areas listed for this SLO are presented in tabular format as an attachment (see supporting documentation). The performance ratio (UNC Charlotte Performance/ABET Comparator Performance) varied between 0.96 and 1.07 for all 11 areas. A performance ratio = 1.0 means that our students performed on par with the national average. The only ratio falling below national average was reported in mathematics, which is taught outside of the CEE department. Our students performed at or above the national average in all areas taught by the department (values ranging from 1.0 in engineering economics to 1.07 in mechanics of materials). 1.0.

In CEGR 3122, the instructor incorporated an extensive example into her lecture time to the concepts that are assessed (determinate versus indeterminate structures and solving for reactions) since they are covered at the beginning of each semester for only a few weeks and then not assessed until the final exam. She believes that this review will help the students improve their overall performance. While the target performance goal was not met again this semester, there was a significant increase from last year (from 19% to 33%) and the number of students who were able to identify the solution method (a major component of the problem) increased from 51% to 67%. The instructor still feels that this is a good assessment problem so she will continue to make changes in the instruction to help students firm up the fundamentals.

In CEGR 3278, while the performance falls just shy of the 75% target level, the instructor has no concerns and the students are performing above the national average on the FE Exam. The instructor feels that this number is low in comparison to the ability of the class. The average final grade score for this class was still high at 82.3% and this group slightly out-performed the previous assessment group in 2017.

On the FE Exam, students scored at or above the national average on all topics taught within the CEE Department but there were also a few noticeable improvements from the previous reporting cycle. Two topics within the structural discipline (mechanics of materials and structural design) increased approximately 7% in performance over the last year. We will continue to monitor results in all areas.