Continuous Improvement is More Than Assessment

From its beginning in 1932, ABET has focused on improvement of engineering education. The explicit expectation that individual programs engage in improvement now appears as a common Criterion 4, continuous improvement, in all four Criteria. Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve based on the belief that a steady stream of improvements diligently executed will create transformational results. As such it involves repeating cycles of assessment, evaluation and corrective action in a culture of improvement. Unfortunately, the focus of many ABET-accredited programs is solely on assessment of student outcomes with a compliance mindset. This compliance mindset misses the whole point of Criterion 4. In this session we will explore continuous improvement as a sustainable quality management system that can reap the benefits and improvements that are intended.