This paper discusses a straightforward direct assessment process that has created an atmosphere in which outcomes assessment is conducted to truly strive to improve engineering education rather than to merely satisfy ABET criteria. It has been implemented only during the last 18 months but represents the latest improvement in a sustained six-year effort to implement an effective direct assessment process. The key component of the methodology is to use the learning objectives of each of the engineering courses as the performance criteria for assessment at the program-level. Each course objective is mapped to a program outcome and to the student work to be assessed. The assessment of student work is performed with rubrics. The course-level assessment measurements, that map into a specific program outcome, are then averaged in a spreadsheet to obtain program-level results for each of the program outcomes. The process is conducted every semester, including a closing-the-loop faculty meeting to evaluate the results. It is shown through a faculty survey that the response of the faculty, in general, has surprisingly been very positive, even though the average time to conduct the assessment is high: 9.22 hours per course per semester. The assessment results clearly reveal areas that need strengthening in the courses, as well as areas that can be de-emphasized. In turn, the integrated results also provide valuable information regarding the state of each outcome at the program-level. Although additional work is required to enhance the process, the results of this investigation suggest that a strong assessment component at the course-level — not directly required by ABET — can be the basis for achieving a sustainable and effective assessment process at all levels. Instead of creating a separate set of performance criteria for each outcome, the direct link between course objectives and program-level outcomes provides a straightforward and efficient mechanism to effectively manage continuous improvement efforts while fully engaging 100% of the faculty.

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