ENGINEERS AND ASSESSMENT
Listen in on just about any discussion among engineering educators these days and the subject of assessment will inevitably come up, not always in language printable in a scholarly journal! Spurred by ABET's Engineering Criteria 2000 and a push for accountability from numerous stakeholders as well as by a renewed interest in the teaching and learning process, engineering educators are re-examining their fundamental assumptions about how to measure the effectiveness of their programs. Hunches and anecdotes are no longer sufficient measures: instead we find ourselves discussing "outcomes," "formative and summative assessment," "rubrics," "feedback," "performance criteria," and a host of other once-esoteric terms. A quick glance at recent conference programs from ASEE and FIE; the popularity of several assessment conferences in the past year; and the number of assessment-related articles in ASEE Prism, the Journal of Engineering Education, and other publications demonstrate clearly that assessment is a topic of current interest to engineering educators. I believe that this special issue of the Journal of Engineering Education devoted to assessment will contribute significantly to the scholarly literature on the subject. The goal of this issue is to focus on process, to provide scholarly documentation for assessment claims, and to include a variety of assessment philosophies, strategies, and methods. We need to remember that the primary purpose of assessment is to help us improve education: if we aren't helping our students to become better engineers and better citizens, our process is ultimately doomed to failure.
The articles in this special issue provide valuable information for engineering educators with a range of interest in and knowledge about assessment. …