A Concept Inventory for Engineering Design Graphics

Project No.
PI Name
Sheryl Sorby
Ohio State University

Abstract 1

A Concept Inventory for Engineering Design Graphics

Presentation Type
Sheryl Sorby/Ohio State University Steve Nozaki/Ohio State University Heidi Steinhauer/Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Mary Sadowski/Purdue University Nancy Study/Penn State-Erie Ron Miller/Colorado School of Mines


Engineering design graphics is taught at many different levels in the educational spectrum--at high schools, community colleges and at universities. In addition, engineering design graphics instruction has changed drastically in recent years due to the advent of tools such as Computer Aided Design. A tool such as a Concept Inventory for Engineering Design Graphics is useful for educators at all levels to ensure that the courses they teachadequoately preparing students with a fundamental knowledge of concepts in engineering graphics.


The primary goal for this project is to develop a Concept Inventory for Engineering Graphics that is available to educators at multiple levels of instruction. A secondary goal of the project is to disseminate the results from the project broadly so that the CI is employed by graphics educators across the country. The key activities that are taking place are to draft items with distractors and to test these items with large populations of students so that we can have a reliable and valid instrument for adoption by others.


We are using a method for CI development that has been referred to as the 'Assessment Triangle.' With this method, there are three corners that must be aligned in establishing a CI. The Cognition Corner includes the identification of the domain of the CI. The Observation Corner involves asking students to solve open-ended problems in the domain of the CI. The final corner is the Interpretation Corner where multiple choice items are tested and evaluated through rigorous statistical analyses methods. When these three corners are in alignment, the CI is complete and a reliable and valid instrument is available to other researchers and educational reformers.


To date we have created the open-ended problems and tested them with hundreds of students. We are now in the process of developing multiple choice items, with distractors taken from common student errors in the open-ended testing. The multiple-choice items will be tested with a large number of students in the coming months which will allow us to refine our instrument before we conduct nationwide trials.

Broader Impacts

Engineering Design Graphics is taught across a wide spectrum of educational levels. high School teachers will be able to use our instrument to align their course content to better reflect practice in higher education. University faculty will be able to revise their courses to ensure a focus on fundamental concepts. This will lead to a better-educated STEM workforce.

Unexpected Challenges

We were planning to upload our Concept Inventory to the CI-Hub, but that has since gone away. We are now exploring alternate venues for hosting the CI when it is completed.


Sorby, S., Sadowski, M., Steinhauer, H., & Study, N. 'Developing a Concept Inventory for Engineering Design Graphics,' Proceedings of the 69th midyear conference of the Engineering Design Graphics Division of ASEE, Normal, IL, October 2014, pp. 73-76.