Benchmarking Help

In addition to a thorough description of the content and development of the CDIO Syllabus, the materials below contain methods and tools to obtain curriculum goals, as well as to measure and describe the curriculum prior to the introduction of CDIO reforms, thus providing a baseline. We strongly recommend conducting both stakeholder/proficiency surveys and curriculum benchmarking studies before design and implementation phases begin.

CDIO Syllabus

The content of a CDIO-based program is defined by the learning outcomes of the CDIO Syllabus. The development and content of the CDIO Syllabus is presented in the report The CDIO Syllabus — a Statement of Goals for Undergraduate Engineering Education.

The paper Creating the CDIO Syllabus: A Universal Template for Engineering Education details how a Massachusetts Institute of Technology team identified and codified goals for engineering education that can serve as the basis for curricular improvement and outcome based assessment. With rationale, detail, and broad applicability, the CDIO Syllabus’ principal value is that it can be generalized to serve as a model from which any university’s engineering programs may derive specific learning outcomes. The paper was presented at the ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 06-09 November 2002 and is available here by permission.

Download paper (.doc 244K)

The Proficiency Survey

The Proficiency Survey captures the inputs and opinions of the potential stakeholders of the educational program and helps to determine the level of proficiency in each CDIO skill that is expected from a graduating engineer. Once the desired or expected levels of proficiency are known and agreed upon, the curriculum can be revised to ensure these levels are achieved.  Detailed information about the proficiency survey process is available in the CDIO Syllabus Report. (You can access the entire Syllabus Report, or click below to download just the section on the Proficiency Survey.)

Download Proficency Survey info (.pdf 960K)

Sample Proficiency Survey

A sample Proficiency Survey (Appendix H of the Syllabus Report mentioned above) is available for you to customize it to fit your situation, and use to survey your program's stakeholders.

Download sample Proficiency Survey (.doc 120K)

Benchmarking the Current Curriculum

The current curriculum should be analyzed to determine how many CDIO topics are already included in the curriculum, in which courses, and to what extent or degree they are being taught. It is recommended that this benchmarking process be conducted through a face-to-face meeting with each faculty member who teaches a required or compulsory course in the program. It can be impractical to benchmark all the elective courses. The downloadable files below — documents/tools/templates — serve as a basis for you to complete a curriculum benchmarking study.

Download the CDIO Benchmarking Survey Protocol (.doc 32K)

Download the CDIO Benchmarking Form (doc. 152K)


Once a baseline is established through the Benchmarking Survey, goals have been identified and prioritized through the Proficiency Survey, and the goals have been correlated to domestic accreditation requirements, then you can begin to design and implement a CDIO-based curriculum.

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