tionally given more flexibility in their schedule in order to take
the elective courses that will best prepare them for their desired
career. We do not currently perform assessments in elective
courses. Our final assessment (in Senior Design) is holistic and
is not currently included in the reports automatically generated
by the assessment infrastructure.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION OF THE IMMEDIATE
VALUE OF ASSESSMENT PARTICIPATION
STUDENT VIEW OF THE RESULTS
When a course has a prerequisite course requirement, it may
use the previous courses material in many different ways. It
may directly build upon the previously earned knowledge.
It may use only parts of the previous course knowledge. It
may require the previous knowledge for completing current
tasks, such as using statistics in assigned problems. It may
just use the skills indirectly, such as expecting familiarity
with following sequential processes. Often students are
left to figure out on their own what exactly is required
and how well they are prepared for the task. This can be
particularly concerning for transfer students or students for
whom significant time has passed since taking prerequisite
The prerequisite quiz assessment instruments provide all
students with the opportunity to directly see what is expected of them and provide feedback on how well each student
is prepared for success in the course. A student can use the
results of the prerequisite quiz to determine what topics
they need to refresh or maybe even re-learn in order to be
prepared for the course. The quiz score can also reinforce
the students’ views of how much they are learning throughout the program.
Upon completing the quiz, the students immediately see
their scores as well as what questions they answered correctly and incorrectly. This is provided via the online assessment system used [ 2]. Figure 1 shows an example of what is
shown to the student when they finish the quiz.
online quizzes using a standard Course Management System
such as Blackboard or Desire2Learn. An administrator is able
to download the quiz results from the online assessment tool
and then uploads them directly into the database. This process
has been semi-automated, reducing the required overhead. For
our current nine courses, the downloading and uploading to
the database process takes less than a half hour of faculty/staff
effort per term.
The database also collects basic demographic information
on the assessed students. These questions are at the end
of every student quiz and allow for more flexibility when
trying to determine the impact of changes on various student
At the end of the term, administrators run an internal institutional report to collect data on final grades for the students.
This report is added to the database. After this largely automated process, the database contains the relevant criteria for generating assessment reports.
CREATING ASSESSMENT REPORTS
A database is used to generate reports to aid in determining
students’ development of knowledge throughout the program.
The reports can summarize impact to help assess new pedagogies, changes in individual courses, subsections of the student
population, and the overall curriculum.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION OF CONTINUOUS
DIRECT MEASUREMENTS OF RETAINED
In this infrastructure, assessment quizzes for expected prerequisite knowledge are administered before every core course in
the computer science and computer engineering curriculum.
Most students will take roughly five quizzes over their first two
years of the program (See Table 1). The course sequences and
time lapse between the courses tends to be similar for lower
Quizzes are administered to upperclassmen when they take
required courses, but there is naturally more variance in when
they choose to take these courses. Upperclassmen are inten-
Table 1: Courses with deployed prerequisite assessments
Course Recommended Year Taken
Computer Science II Freshman
OS Concepts and Design Freshman
Digital Systems Design Sophomore
Data Structures Sophomore
Computer Organization Sophomore
Software Engineering Junior
Comparative Languages Junior
OS Internals and Design Junior
Micro-Processor Based Embedded Systems Junior
Figure 1: A result that a student sees after taking the