NWCCU Environmental Engineering Assessment

Program Assessment Process

The Environmental Engineering (EnvE) program utilizes seven student outcomes. Each outcome is assessed every two years:

Evaluation Date School Year Outcomes evaluated
May 2021 2020-21 1, 2, 3, 4
May 2022 2021-22 5, 6, 7
May 2023 2022-23 1, 2, 3, 4
May 2024 2023-24 5, 6, 7
May 2025 2024-25 1, 2, 3, 4
May 2026 2025-26 5, 6, 7

Three instruments (independent sources of information) are used in the assessment process:

  1. Direct: Student coursework (homework, exams, projects, lab exercises, reports, etc.)
  2. Indirect: Exit interviews with graduating seniors
  3. Summative: Results from the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam.

Feedback from the department Advisory Board is also utilized where appropriate.

Evaluation of the assessment process is conducted by the CEE Assessment Committee, which meets annually at the end of each academic year (May) to review all assessment data. Results are then reviewed during the annual fall department meeting (August) and at the Advisory Board meeting (typically November). If outcomes needing improvement are identified during that review, recommendations for improvement will be made by the Committee (and/or course instructors) and that outcome will be reevaluated the following year during the annual review.

Student Course Work

All required and some elective environmental engineering courses are mapped to specific student outcomes. Each time a course is taught, the instructor assesses the attainment of at least one student outcome by evaluating each student’s performance on a specific work product such as a homework problem, quiz or exam question, lab report, project report, or other assignment that is relevant to that outcome. Student performance on this work product is rated as a 0, 1, or 2:

2 = student met the outcome

1 = student partially met the outcome; for example, some aspects of the outcomes are met, but not all, or they applied some but not all of the fundamental principles in their solution or addressed some of the constraints

0 = student did not meet the outcome.

Each assessment result is documented in a standardized form and archived electronically in Box with an example of student work on that problem or assignment.

The EnvE program has two goals for attainment of student outcomes as measured by the aggregated student course work assessment data:

  • Goal 1: at least 70% of the students will perform at a 2 level
  • Goal 2: at least 80% of the students will perform at the 1 or 2 level.

Graduating Senior Exit Interviews

Graduating seniors complete an anonymous online exit interview to provide feedback about the EnvE program and rate their perceived progress in meeting each of the outcomes. The performance goal is to have at least 80% of the students rating their attainment as “met” (rating of 2) or “partly met” (rating of 1). Acknowledging that this is a subjective self-evaluation and the sample size is small (< 10 students), these exit interview results are taken as a general indication whether students feel they are meeting the outcomes.

Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam

The NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam is a nationally-normed exam taken by students in multiple engineering fields, including Environmental Engineering. Passing the FE Exam is an important step towards professional licensure and reinforcing life-long learning skills, and the exam provides good external, independent assessment data. FE Exam data are reported twice per year for the January-June (spring) and July-December (fall) testing periods; these data are combined and reported for each academic year.

The EnvE program goal is to have a 100% pass rate for first-time test takers; the minimum acceptable level of performance is a pass rate at or above the national average. We acknowledge that students can, and often do, take the FE exam multiple times. Nevertheless, we monitor performance on individual subjects to support meeting Outcomes (1) and (4). Data are reported as scaled scores, where a score of zero represents the national average. Our goal is to be at or above the average for each subject (scaled score ≥ 0, within the uncertainty range).