NWCCU Mechanical Engineering Assessment

Program Assessment Process

The Mechanical Engineering (ME) program utilizes seven student outcomes. These student outcomes are defined by ABET and used for the program’s engineering accreditation. Each outcome is assessed every two years:

Evaluation Date School Year Outcomes evaluated
July/August 2021 2020-21 1-7, no direct measures for 3, 5, 6, 7
July/August 2022 2021-22 1-7
July/August 2023 2022-23 1-7, no direct measures for 3, 5, 6, 7
July/August 2024 2023-24 1-7
July/August 2025 2024-25 1-7, no direct measures for 3, 5, 6, 7
July/August 2026 2025-26 1-7

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

  1. Direct: Instructor Course Assessment – assessment of student coursework (exams, projects, lab exercises, reports, etc.)
  2. Indirect: Graduating Senior Survey
  3. Summative: Results from the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam for student outcomes 1, 2, and 4

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

Evaluation of the assessment process and data is conducted by the MAE Continuous Curriculum Improvement Committee, which meets annually during the summer (July/August) to review all assessment data. Results are then reviewed during the annual fall department meeting (August) and at the Industrial Advisory Board meeting (typically April). 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 1-2 years during the annual review.

Instructor Course Assessment

Most required mechanical engineering courses are mapped to specific student outcomes. Every two years an instructor in these courses assess the attainment of at least one student outcome by evaluating each student’s performance on a specific work product such as a 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 on a 1-4 scale based on faculty approved rubrics, where the score indicates the student’s level of mastery with respect to the outcome. 4 – exemplary, 3 – proficient, 2 – developing, 1 - beginning.

Each assessment result is documented in a standardized form and archived electronically in Box with 10 random samples of student work on that problem or assignment.

The ME 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 level of 3 or above.
  • Goal 2: at least 85% of the students will perform at a level of 2 or above.

Graduating Student Survey

Graduating seniors complete an anonymous online exit interview to provide feedback about the ME program and rate their perceived progress in meeting each of the outcomes among other questions. The performance goal is to have at least 85% of the students rating their attainment as “exemplary” (rating of 4) or “proficient” (rating of 3). Acknowledging that this is a subjective self-evaluation, 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 Mechanical 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 ME 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, 2, 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).

The annual Continuous Curriculum Improvement Committee reports are posted here:

Note: The assessment tools and processes go through periodic review and changes so some of these may be different than how they are described above.