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Using Pre- and Post- Test to Assess Learning Outcomes and Guide Course Improvement
This paper details the use of a pre- and post-test assessment for three purposes: 1) to evaluate student learning outcomes, 2) to understand the impact of pre-requisite statistics knowledge on course performance, and 3) to serve as basis for future course improvements. A pre-test was administered at the beginning of a Statistical Process Control (SPC) course. Introduction to Statistics serves as a pre-requisite, and historical, anecdotal evidence suggested that students did not retain enough statistics knowledge to perform well in the SPC course. Thus, the pre-test focused on five major Statistics concepts that are applied in Statistical Process Control. These concepts included: basic algebra, descriptive statistics, the normal distribution, the binomial distribution, and hypothesis testing. The questions from the pretest were also incorporated into the Final Exam. We use the results of these tests to analyze student performance. First, we investigate the correlation between a student’s pre-test grade and their final course grade. Next, we perform a question-by-question analysis using a paired t-test to evaluate increases in student knowledge. Our results show that, although student performance improved over time, there was still significant room for improvement. Therefore, we use these results to adjust the course content and provide additional resources and assignments around these key concepts that impact student performance in this course and subsequent Engineering courses.