Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Surveys to Assess Program Effectiveness

Program: Materials Science and Engineering Department, Carnegie Institute of Technology
Assessment: Surveys to Assess Program Effectiveness:
– Senior Exit Survey
Educational Objectives Survey for Faculty and Employers


The Materials Science and Engineering Department developed six program educational objectives as part of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology’s external assessment process. Two of these objectives are to produce graduates who (1) are successful in a top graduate school in Materials Science and Engineering or in a related discipline and (2) take positions as materials science engineers and are successful in the field or related professional activities. For both the external assessment and our own use, we wanted to know if our program successfully prepared our students for graduate school and careers and if our educational objectives have measurable outcomes.


We created two surveys. The Senior Exit Survey asked graduating seniors to complete an online interview in which they used a ten-point scale to rate the curriculum’s effectiveness in terms of the program’s educational objectives; our faculty collectively decided that a score of 7 or higher indicated the successful achievement of an educational objective. The Educational Objectives Survey, which was given to faculty supervisors of graduate students and industry employers, asked respondents to evaluate our graduates based on our program’s educational objectives; the surveys were sent to our graduates, who were asked to pass them on to their faculty and industry supervisors. We distributed each of these surveys during the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 academic years.


We have used the survey results to revise and revisit both the program’s curriculum and educational objectives.


Survey response rates varied greatly. The response rate for the industry employer survey was especially low.

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