Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Daniel M. Miller, PhD; Johanna S. Hunsaker, PhD; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD


accountability, Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology--ABET case study, communications skills, design skills, engineering education, Leadership studies, professors, proficiency, student learning, teamwork


Current reform in engineering education is part of a national trend emphasizing student learning as well as accountability in instruction. Assessing student performance to demonstrate accountability has become a necessity in academia. In newly adopted criterion proposed by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), undergraduates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in outcomes considered essential for graduating engineers. The case study was designed as a formative evaluation of freshman engineering students to assess the perceived effectiveness of performance skills in a design laboratory environment. The mixed methodology used both quantitative and qualitative approaches to assess students' performance skills and congruency among the respondents, based on individual, team, and faculty perceptions of team effectiveness in three ABET areas: Communications Skills. Design Skills, and Teamwork. The findings of the research were used to address future use of the assessment tool and process. The results of the study found statistically significant differences in perceptions of Teamwork Skills (p < .05). When groups composed of students and professors were compared, professors were less likely to perceive student's teaming skills as effective. The study indicated the need to: 1) improve non-technical performance skills, such as teamwork, among freshman engineering students; 2) incorporate feedback into the learning process; 3) strengthen the assessment process with a follow-up plan that specifically targets performance skill deficiencies, and 4) integrate the assessment instrument and practice with ongoing curriculum development. The findings generated by this study provides engineering departments engaged in assessment activity, opportunity to reflect, refine, and develop their programs as it continues. It also extends research on ABET competencies of engineering students in an under-investigated topic of factors correlated with team processes, behavior, and student learning.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access