Outcomes-Based Accreditation of Engineering Programmes L.S. “Skip” Fletcher
What is accreditation? "Accreditation is public recognition that an educational institution or educational programme has met certain standards or criteria."
Components of Accreditation • Quality assurance • Non-governmental • Voluntary • Self-assessment • Peer-review • Periodic or Continuing review
Accreditation Objectives • Assure that graduates of an accredited programme are adequately prepared to enter the practice of engineering • Stimulate the improvement of engineering education programmes • Encourage new and innovative approaches to engineering education and its assessment • Identify accredited programmes to the public
What is ABET? • Established in 1932 as the Engineers’ Council for Professional Development (ECPD). • United the engineering & technical professions through the professional societies to assess educational quality. • Accredits engineering, engineering technology, applied science, and computer science programmes.
Who Recognizes ABET • Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) • State Boards of Engineering Registration • US Patent Office • US Reserve Officers Training Corps • US Civil Service • Accrediting organizations outside the United States
ABET Vision: ABET will provide world leadership in assuring quality and in stimulating innovation in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology education.
ABET Mission • Accredit educational programmes. • Promote quality and innovation in education. • Consult and assist in the development and advancement of education worldwide in a financially self-sustaining manner. • Communicate with our constituencies and the public regarding activities and accomplishments. • Anticipate and prepare for the changing environment and the future needs of constituencies. • Manage the operations and resources in an effective and fiscally responsible manner. ABET serves the public through the promotion and advancement of applied science, computing, engineering, and technology education. ABET will:
ABET Structure • ABET is a federation of professional and technical societies representing the ABET disciplines with no individual membership • 28 Member societies and 2 Associate Member societies • Member societies provide approximately 1,500 volunteers who serve on ABET's Board of Directors, on the Accreditation Commissions, and as Programme Evaluators
ABET Accreditation Commissions • Conduct visits and vote accreditation actions for • Applied science programmes by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC) • Computer and information science programmes by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) • Engineering programmes by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) • Technology programmes by the Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC)
Accreditation Process • Criteria developed by professional societies, practitioners and educators • Self-Study by the institution and programme • On-site evaluation and assessment • Publication of lists of accredited programmes • Periodic re-evaluation (maximum 6 yrs.)
Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC) • 17 Commissioners • 70 accredited applied science programmes at 51 institutions • 16 programmes at 13 institutions visited • Accredits programmes at associate, baccalaureate and master's level
Applied Science Programme Areas • Health Physics • Industrial Hygiene • Industrial Management/Quality Management • Safety • Surveying and Mapping
Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) • 25 members • 215 accredited engineering-related programmes at 193 institutions • 79 programmes at 70 institutions visited • Accredits programmes at the baccalaureate level
Computing Programme Areas • Computer Science • Information Systems
Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) • 59 members • 1750 accredited engineering programmes at 350 institutions • 388 programmes at 126 institutions visited • Accredits programmes at baccalaureate and master's levels
Engineering Programme Areas Aerospace Engineering Geological Engineering Agricultural Engineering Industrial Engineering Architectural Engineering Manufacturing Engineering Bioengineering & Biomedical Engineering Materials & Metallurgical Engineering Ceramic Engineering Mechanical Engineering Chemical Engineering Mining Engineering Civil Engineering Naval Architecture & Marine Construction Engineering Engineering Electrical & Computer Engineering Nuclear & Radiological Engineering Engineering Management Ocean Engineering Engineering Mechanics Petroleum Engineering Environmental Engineering Software Engineering Surveying Engineering
Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) • 41 Members • 702 accredited engineering technology programmes at 230 institutions • 171 programmes at 69 institutions visited • Accredits programmes at associate and baccalaureate levels
Technology Programme Areas Air Conditioning Engineering Technology Environmental Engineering Technology Architectural Engineering Technology Industrial Engineering Technology Automotive Engineering Technology Information Engineering Technology Bioengineering Technology Instrumentation & Control Systems Chemical Engineering Technology Engineering Technology Civil Engineering Technology Manufacturing Engineering Technology Computer Engineering Technology Marine Engineering Technology Construction Engineering Technology Mechanical Engineering Technology Drafting/Design Engineering Technology Nuclear Engineering Technology (Mechanical) Telecommunications Engineering Electrical/Electronic(s) Engineering Technology Technology
Current Statistics • >2,700 programs accredited • >560 institutions • >1,500 volunteers
New Philosophy • Institutions and programmes define mission and objectives to meet the needs of their constituents – enable programme differentiation. • Emphasis on outcomes – preparation for professional practice. • Programmes must demonstrate how criteria and educational objectives are being met.
Continuous Quality Improvement and Accreditation The ABET Criteria for Accreditation have been developed on the principles of continuous quality improvement (CQI). The Engineering Accreditation Commission has prefaced the Criteria with this statement. These criteria are intended to assure quality and to foster the systematic pursuit of improvement in the quality of engineering education that satisfies the needs of constituencies in a dynamic and competitive environment.
What does this mean? An educational programme CQI process should involve a clear understanding of: • mission, • constituents, • objectives (what one is trying to achieve), • outcomes (the learning that takes place to meet the objectives), • processes (internal practice to achieve the outcomes), • facts (data collection), • evaluation (interpretation of facts), • and action (feedback to support decision making and improve processes).
New Emphasis • Practice of continuous improvement • Input of Constituencies • Process focus • Outcomes and Assessment Linked to Objectives • Knowledge required for entry into the engineering profession • Student, faculty, facilities, institutional support, and financial resource issues linked to programme objectives
Determine educational objectives Input from Constituencies The Two-Loop Process Assess Outcomes Evaluate Objectives
Determine educational objectives Determine Outcomes Required to Achieve Objectives Determine How Outcomes will be Achieved Determine How Outcomes will be Assessed Input from Constituencies Formal Instruction Student Activities The Two-Loop Process Assess Outcomes Evaluate Objectives Establish Indicators for Outcomes to lead to Achievement of Objectives
Criteria Reform “. . . new criteria should maintain a strong focus on quality and professional preparation, while offering flexibility for major innovations in curricular design and delivery methods, and be applicable to a diverse spectrum of institutional missions and goals.”
Engineering Criteria 2000(Basic Level Accreditation) 1. Students 2. Programme Educational Objectives 3. Programme Outcomes and Assessment 4. Professional Component 5. Faculty 6. Facilities 7. Institutional Support & Financial Resources 8. Programme Criteria
Programme Educational Objectives(Criterion 2) Each engineering programme for which an institution seeks accreditation or re-accreditation must have in place: • Detailed published educational objectives that are consistent with the mission of the institution and these criteria • A process based on needs of the program'se various constituencies in which the objectives are determined and periodically evaluated. • A curriculum and processes that prepare students for the achievement of these objectives • A system of ongoing evaluation that demonstrates achievement of these objectives and uses the results to improve the effectiveness of the programme
Program Outcomes(Criterion 3) • Engineering programmes must demonstrate that their graduates have the following capabilities: a) An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering appropriate to the discipline. b) An ability to design and conduct experiments and analyze and interpret data. c) An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs.
Programme Outcomes(continued) d) An ability to function on multi- disciplinary teams. e) An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems. f) An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility. g) An ability to communicate effectively.
Programme Outcomes(continued) h) The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a societal context. i) A recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in life-long learning. j) A knowledge of contemporary issues. k) An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
Professional Component(criterion 4) • Faculty must assure that the curriculum devotes adequate attention and time to each component, consistent with objectives of the programm and institution • Preparation for engineering practice • Major design experiencee • Subject areas appropriate to engineering
The Curriculum • “…Students must be prepared for engineering practice through the curriculum culminating in a major design experience based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating engineering standards and realistic constraints that include most of the following considerations: • economic environmental • sustainability manufacturability • ethical health and safety • social political
The Curriculum Requirement • Mathematics and Basic Sciences - One year of a combination of college level mathematics and basic sciences (some with experimental experience) appropriate to the discipline. • Engineering Sciences / Engineering Design -One and one-half years of engineering topics, consisting of engineering sciences and engineering design appropriate to the student’s field of study • Humanities and Social Studies -A general education component that complements the technical content of the curriculum and is consistent with the program and institution objectives
Programme Criteria • Programme Criteria provide the specificity needed for interpretation of the basic level criteria as applicable to a given discipline. • Each programme must satisfy applicable Programme Criteria • Programme evaluators apply the basic criteria and programme criteria using their best professional judgment when reviewing programmes for accreditation.
Outcomes Based Education • Successes • Every engineering institution in the US now accredited using Outcomes Based assessment • Engineering institutions are adapting to the need for educational improvement • Many individual faculty have improved their course offerings • Student performance has improved
Outcomes Based Education • Issues • University administrations are slowly adapting to outcomes based assessment • Moving to Outcomes Based Education takes time • Senior faculty often reluctant to change their courses • Faculty must work together for a quality engineering education experience
Multinational Organizations • UPADI – Central and South America • APEC – Fourteen countries in Asia • FEANI – Twenty-two countries in Europe • Washington Accord – A Multinational Organization • Sydney Accord – A Multinational Organization
Washington AccordAn International Partnership • Recognizes the “substantial equivalency” of an accreditation system within a country – that assesses/assures that the graduates of accredited programmes in their country are prepared to practice engineering at the entry level of the profession
Washington Accord Status • Agreement signed in 1989 by the engineering accrediting bodies in six countries - Australia - Canada - Ireland - New Zealand - United Kingdom - United States • Signatories meet every two years • Secretariat rotates among the Signatories
Washington Accord Recognition • Programmes accredited prior to acceptance of the country’s accreditation system as a full signatory are not recognized • Licensure/registration of graduates from recognized programmes rests with the receiving country • Each full signatory encourages the licensing body in its own country to accept the substantial equivalence of engineering education programmes accredited by other signatories
2007 Washington Accord Signatories • Australia – EA 1989 • Canada – CCPE 1989 • Chinese Taipei – IEET 2007 • Hong Kong China – HKIE 1995 • Ireland – IEI 1989 • Japan – JABEE 2005 • Korea – ABEEK 2007 • New Zealand – IPENZ 1989 • Singapore – IES 2006 • South Africa – ECSA 1999 • United Kingdom – EC 1989 • United States – ABET 1989 • Six year peer review cycle
Washington AccordProvisional Members • Germany – ASTIN (2003) • India – ICTE (2007) • Malaysia – BEM (2003) • Russia – RAEE (2007) • Sri Lanka – IESR (2007)
International Accreditation • Increasing interest by some countries in joining the Washington Accord • Many countries do not have an engineering accreditation organization, accreditation criteria or process • Increasing interest in developing accreditation systems within countries or regions
The Challenge • The establishment of outcomes based accreditation processes for all countries or regions is essential for the mobility of engineers • Engineering education programmes must adapt to outcomes based assessment and continuous educational improvement to ensure equivalency around the world.
Quality Assurance in Engineering Education • Engineering education, as we know it today, is facing a major dilemma in the near future. What will become of engineering education by 2020? • The challenge is - how can we address this dilemma and provide global engineers that are viewed as equivalent around the world. • Clearly, we must work together to ensure that equivalency exists through outcomes based accreditation of all engineering education programmes.