The Signals and Systems Concept Inventory

Kathleen E. Wage, John R. Buck, Thad B. Welch, and Cameron H. G. Wright

This paper describes the development of continuous-time and discrete-time signals and systems concept inventory exams for undergraduate electrical engineering curricula. Both exams have twenty-five multiple choice questions to assess students' understanding of core concepts in these courses. The questions require little or no computation, and contain incorrect answers that capture common student misconceptions. The design of both exams is discussed, as are ongoing studies evaluating the exams at four campuses. Preliminary results from administering the continuous-time exam as a pre-test and post-test indicate a normalized gain of 0.24 ± 0.08 for traditional lecture courses, consistent with reported results for the Force Concept Inventory exam in lecture courses for freshman physics [1].

[1] R. R. Hake, "Interactive-engagement vs. traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses," Am. J. Phys., vol. 66, pp. 64-74, 1998.

© 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. The article (PDF) appeared in Proceedings of the 2002 ASEE Annual Conference, Session 1532, pp. 1-29, June 2002. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires the permission of the authors and the American Society for Engineering Education.

This article is password-protected. Email John Buck (johnbuck [at] or Kathleen Wage (k.e.wage [at] to obtain the password.