The Control Systems Concept Inventory

The Control Systems Concept Inventory (CSCI) is an assessment tool, designed to measure students' conceptual understanding of control-systems fundamentals. Modeled after the Signals and Systems Concept Inventory [1], the CSCI is a 25-question multiple-choice exam covering topics commonly taught in undergraduate control-systems courses, including the Laplace transform, system stability, the root-locus method, the Nyquist criterion, frequency-domain concepts, basic compensation, PID control, and simple nonlinear systems [2].

This concept inventory provides the control-systems community with a standard tool to quantify student learning in undergraduate control courses. When administered as a before-and-after assessment, the CSCI measures the improvement in conceptual understanding. Other potential uses include assessment of alternative teaching methods [3], identification of the most common student misconceptions, correlation with student performance in prerequisite courses, and satisfaction of accreditation requirements [1].

Instructors interested in using the Control Systems Concept Inventory as an assessment tool in their courses or in assisting with development of the exam are invited to contact the author.

[1] K.E. Wage, J.R. Buck, C.H.G. Wright, and T.B. Welch, "The Signals and Systems Concept Inventory," IEEE Transactions on Education, vol. 48, no. 3, pp.448-461, Aug. 2005.

[2] G.F. Franklin, J.D. Powell, A. Emami-Naeini, Feedback Control of Dynamic Systems, fifth ed., Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 2005, chapters 1-6, 9.

[3] J.R. Buck and K.E. Wage, "Active and Cooperative Learning in Signal Processing Courses," IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 76-81, Mar. 2005.

Kent H Lundberg (email address)
Last updated January 18, 2008.