Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



In this research study, a new model to assess student performance and academic learning in engineering disciplines is proposed with the intention of shifting a grade driven mentality into a learning-oriented mindset. The rational for this model of assessment is to disrupt normalized assessment practices in higher education, reframe student thinking regarding learning and acquisition of knowledge, and encourage students to engage in coursework in meaningful ways. Unfortunately, grades in higher education have become a primary focal point for many students as a means to secure internship opportunities, undergraduate research, post-graduation employment, and graduate school acceptance into desired institutions. The downside of such a grade-based orientation is that anxiety, stress, and memorization have overtaken the essence of attending higher education to acquire valuable knowledge and skills needed to become a well-trained professional. 88% of the students surveyed in this study memorize course material in order to pass any sort of assignment, which means that student learning and retention of fundamental principles are at risk. As such, the authors have developed a preliminary model in which students receive an assessment sheet for every homework assignment and exam rather than a grade. This assessment sheet provides detailed feedback on the procedures/calculations done correctly and the procedures/calculations done incorrectly, and it is based point-scale from 1 to 4: (4) flawless work, (3) quality work, (2) average work, and (1) needs improvement. This assessment sheet is targeted to increase student awareness on the technical areas in which they need to improve and provide opportunities for continuous growth and successful progress. Once students receive their assignments, they have to option to revise their work and correct any errors. Survey results from this study reveal that this alternative student assessment relieves pressure and helps counteract self-inflicted stress and anxiety, while promoting student efficacy and increased competence and knowledge of engineering content and principles.


ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference.

Publication Title

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.