(324e) Development of a Chemical Engineering Comprehensive Concept Inventory | AIChE

(324e) Development of a Chemical Engineering Comprehensive Concept Inventory


Csernica, J. - Presenter, Bucknell University
Vigeant, M. - Presenter, Bucknell University
Raymond, T. M. - Presenter, Bucknell University
Prince, M. J. - Presenter, Bucknell University

In concert with consideration of what should be taught to chemical engineers, we should consider how we assess how much they have learned. Concept inventories are multiple choice tests aimed at assessing the level of conceptual understanding in a subject area, rather than recall of specific facts or equations. Tests of this nature are well established in physics, where the Force Concept Inventory (Hestenes et al, 1992) is a valid and reliable assessment of students' understanding of Newtonian physics concepts and has been used successfully to promote more effective teaching in physics. Concept inventories are of interest because they can be used to measure and demonstrate improvements in student conceptual understanding after a course, a novel educational intervention, or an entire curriculum. This last use is of potential interest as a direct assessment for ABET curricular evaluation.

While concept inventories exist or are in development for many aspects of the chemical engineering curriculum (materials science, statistics, transport phenomena, thermodynamics), there is no widely available comprehensive concept inventory assessing student understanding of the entire chemical engineering curriculum. At least two such tests are being tested, one at Auburn University (Eden, 2008, personal communication) and one at Bucknell University. This talk details the development of the test at Bucknell University, and shares initial results from the its pilot use in 2008. Graduating students achieved a passing average in every concept area and we plan to continue development and use of this instrument. Observations on the process of test development and limitations on interpretation of test results will also be shared.