Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

Publication Date



Undergraduate engineering students regularly participate in laboratory experiences in introductory circuit theory courses. Based on instructor experience, it can be observed that students often struggle to remember how to use test and measurement equipment or important software from week to week, making long term retention of necessary skills inadequate. The facilitators of this study searched for strategies to improve student retention of important skills, and drew inspiration from performance-based assessment strategies used in the healthcare profession. In particular, physical therapy students are often subject to skills checks, where they must demonstrate competency in standard techniques for physical therapy practice. This approach was adapted to an introductory circuit theory lab, in which students were given regular skills checks to test competency with hardware and software standard in circuit theory courses. Data were collected for three years by asking students to complete anonymous Likert scale surveys designed to allow students to self-assess their achievement of the laboratory learning outcomes. The first year was a control group in which performance-based assessment was not used, while year two and three were separate experimental groups which were subject to skills checks. As a result of the addition of skills checks to the laboratory experience, student self-assessment of achievement of laboratory learning outcomes increased dramatically. This result is promising for the inclusion of skills checks in engineering laboratories to improve student competency using hardware and software common to engineering practice.






Included in

Engineering Commons