Project : Software Architecture: Principles and Practices Examination (certificate examination for professional development courses)

Tasks : educational assessment design, content creation

Client : Software Engineering Institute (research project)

Completed : Sep 2007

Challenge : The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University offers several tracks of professional development courses in software architecture. Unlike some other professional development certification courses, these tracks had no assessment component at the time of the project. One course, Software Architecture: Principles and Practices, formed the common basis for all the software architecture professional development tracks. Any assessment for this course would have to be available for remote delivery and automated grading.

Solution : I designed a certification examination for the Software Architecture: Principles and Practices course. I elicited a set of instructional goals as baseline requirements. I then reviewed and prioritized these goals with the course designers/instructors and reviewed the instructional materials to determine whether they reflected the stated instructional goals.

By combining principles of educational psychology, software engineering domain knowledge, and the instructional requirements, I developed the content for a multiple-choice exam that validates a student's basic understanding of principles and practices of software architecture. I also provided recommendations for delivering and evaluating the results of the examination.

Results : A version of the assessment I designed is in use today at the SEI.