Improving upon best practices: FCAR 2.0

John K. Estell, John David S. Yoder, Briana B. Morrison, Fong K. Mak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

19 Scopus citations


The Faculty Course Assessment Report (FCAR) presents a streamlined methodology that allows instructors to write assessment reports in a concise, standardized format conducive for use in both course and student (program) outcomes assessment. The FCAR is a short one to two page form completed by the instructor that taught the class. The FCAR is structured as a sequence of standardized reporting categories that include what course modifications were made, the outcomes assessment information obtained, reflection on the part of the instructor, and suggestions for curricular improvement. Through this approach, the instructor is guided through a systematic review of the course, with the additional benefit of clearly and succinctly documenting critical portions of the "closing the loop" process. At the center of this approach is the concept of performance vectors, a 4-tuple vector that categorizes aggregate student performance on a directly measured assessment artifact. For each performance criterion to be reported, an entry is placed into the FCAR documenting the criterion, the outcome being supported, the assignment(s) used for acquiring the data, the assessment tool used for evaluating the data, and the resultant performance vector. Additionally, as this assessment information is processed by the instructor who is closest to the data, any observed difficulties or extenuating circumstances affecting performance can be readily documented as part of the FCAR. For the department chair or assessment coordinator, FCARs provide a valuable resource, as all assessment information regarding a particular course is included in one place in a readilyaccessible common format. This information can then be extracted and summarized in a way that allows all courses that cover a given ABET Student Outcome to be easily evaluated. For the past several years, presentations featuring the FCAR assessment methodology have been given at the annual ABET Symposium. Based partly on this dissemination stream, the use of this instrument has spread far beyond its origins. As other institutions and departments have adopted the instrument, they have made modifications as well. In turn, these adopters have reported at a variety of venues regarding how their version of the FCAR has played a highly useful role in streamlining their continuous quality improvement processes, yielding both qualitative and quantitative information, facilitating greater consistency in the reporting and processing of that information, and keeping faculty actively engaged in an on-going assessment process. In brief, this paper will present an in-depth discussion of the FCAR instrument, how it has been adopted and modified by other programs and institutions, and recommendations regarding its future use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
ISBN (Print)9780878232413
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012

Publication series

NameASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)2153-5965


Conference119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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