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Melvin Simms is a Tenured Associated Professor and Group Leader for the Computer Science Cooperative Education Group in the Department of Cooperative Education. He has over 35 years of involvement with developing educational curriculum: Writing behavioral objectives for usage in a high school mathematics curriculum and more recently developing skills assessment tools for the work component of the Computer Science Curriculum in the College of Computer Science.

His research efforts have been in the area of assessment. Using the curriculum objectives from the College of Computer Science as the conceptual foundation, he and his colleague Mark Erickson have developed and implemented a number of self-reported assessment instruments to measure where computer science students learn and use 58 identified skills (classroom and/or workplace). An employer version and a faculty version of the skills assessment instrument were developed an implemented. The comparison findings of the surveys were very encouraging. He continues to expand the assessment research to reflect changes in the Computer Science curriculum. His Learning Community proposal was titled, "Developing Assessment Tools in the Computer Science".

During the past eight months, as a member of the Learning Community he has continued his research efforts to develop and create better methods of measuring the defined skills/knowledge outcomes beyond the self-reporting format. He is working on a new approach to determine objective quantitative measurements for the skill/knowledge attainment. This new approach will be a more precise method of assessing skills. During the Learning Community involvement he has piloted three new assessment instruments for collecting student and employer co-op evaluation information. He has been conducting an extensive review of the literature on measurable criteria for learning objectives in computing and is working on a proposal for developing digital electronic portfolios based on criteria measurements.

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