Assessment Techniques for Contextual Competence

A resource for teaching and learning engineering design

In engineering education, there is widespread recognition that today’s engineers must be prepared to consider the complexities, opportunities, and challenges of the contexts in which they do design. In other words, successful solutions to real-world engineering design problems depend on more than mastery of technical problem-solving; successful solutions also require contextual competence—the ability to recognize and consider the relevant interrelated aspects of a design problem’s context, comprising the people, places, events, and socioeconomic systems that shape and are shaped by a particular engineering design process. This collection of assessment techniques is designed to help undergraduate engineering students at all levels and their educators gauge and facilitate the development of broad contextual competence. These assessment techniques were developed on the foundation of years of research on engineering design processes and have been field-tested in several instructional settings.

Click here to download the current version of the assessment technique collection in PDF.

Suggested citation:
Atman, C. J., Yasuhara, K., & Kilgore, D. (2014). Assessment techniques for contextual competence (CELT Technical Report 14-03). Seattle, WA: Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching, University of Washington.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants Nos. 0943242, 0125547, 0227558, 0943242, 1020678, and 9358516. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.