How to Use Drawings for Formative Assessment in Electrical Engineering

Drawing has substantial learning advantages. It is critical to incorporate it into a comprehensive academic experience. We can pique people’s interest in a topic by providing a range of learning styles. Also, utilizing intuitive thinking appeals to students’ different talents.

And this is where the use of drawing in learning electrical engineering comes into play. One can use drawing to ensure that relevant concepts that might seem boring are given an aesthetic appeal to be absorbed by students.

Given the critical nature of different electrical engineering concepts and how they are much better expressed using visuals because of the presence of circuits, current flow, etcetera, it is recommended to use drawings for formative assessment in electrical engineering.

It offers powerful methods for shaping and learning. It helps students take responsibility for their learning when they understand that it aims to improve knowledge rather than achieve final grades.

Students can examine themselves, their friends, or even the teacher through dialogue, writing, tests, and other means. Concisely, formative assessment occurs during a class or course and aims to improve student attainment of learning objectives using ways to support learning objectives.

Therefore, using drawings for formative assessment in electrical engineering is logical and the right thing. Not only will it add to the student’s learning experience, but it will also help the instructor make course content more exciting and easier to absorb.

Importance of Formative Assessment In Electrical Engineering

Formative evaluation allows you to observe what students are thinking and what they do and do not grasp. Then, in the following session, you can provide a firm foundation of the topics they find difficult to comprehend before taking exams or preparing for examinations.

Make sure you can see what parts your students need to include. All of these things will contribute to a more enjoyable learning experience.

The purpose of formative assessment is to evaluate student learning and give continuing feedback that instructors and students may utilize to enhance their teaching and learning. Formative assessments, in particular, assist students in identifying their strengths and shortcomings and focusing on areas that require improvement.

Keep this in mind with relevance to all electrical engineering concepts and how you would want them reproduced in the FE exam. The importance of formative assessment definitely becomes obvious.

The fundamental aim of formative assessment in boosting academic attainment is to provide students and teachers with continuous feedback on their progress toward their goals. Formative assessment assists students in closing the gap between their present knowledge and learning objectives.

If you are looking to advance your career as a professional electrical engineer, it’s worthwhile exploring this FE Electrical Exam Prep resource.

Passing the FE electrical exam is a key step in your engineering career, as it is the first step towards becoming a licensed professional engineer, and it opens the doors towards higher-level job opportunities.

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The Need for Drawing in Teaching Instruction for Electrical Engineering

An instructor’s reactions to a student’s artwork are just as essential as the drawing itself. It allows students to copy the words they have learned. Professors may provide constructive critique to assist students’ grasp, especially for fundamental electrical engineering concepts, which will prove critical in the FE Exam.

It’s nearly complicated for younger students to be right when they doodle while explaining a topic. Minor errors facilitate a more profound knowledge of the issue and aid in memorizing it for future reference. Formative evaluation often includes verbal dialogue.

Still, it only sometimes succeeds because instructors or professors must grasp what the student is attempting to communicate in their own words, or the student needs to deliver his knowledge verbally.

Sometimes the oral conversation fails because some students are shy, have public speaking phobias, or suffer from social anxiety, making it difficult for them to express themselves honestly.

As a result, drawing as a formative evaluation method is becoming increasingly popular among students and instructors.

How to Use a Student’s Drawing to Form Instruction in Electrical Engineering

You may use various techniques to educate pupils to increase their understanding of the subject, i.e., circuits. These methods include:

  1. Drawing an image that represents the seriousness of the circumstance, such as the protagonist-antagonist connection.
  2. Creating an argumentative article or just sketching a diagram.
  3. You may also create a flowchart or make a sequential drawing focused on crucial features of the themes.
  4. Simple shapes reflecting certain topic features can also be included in sketches.
  5. You may assign a line, color, or symbol to your thoughts. This is known as Color-Symbol-Line.  Make sure you remember your allotment and can explain it if necessary.

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Use of Drawings for Formative Assessment in Electrical Engineering

In electrical engineering, as per schedule, many professors teach several informative courses, and it can be difficult for pupils to keep up with the number of things they are learning. This sometimes takes a toll on aspiring engineers who might be slow learners.

Formative evaluations, which make the setting less stressful and more enjoyable, are a superb method to deal with this type of stress.

Given the stress an engineering student feels, especially around the senior year when they are supposed to be taking preferably licensure examination, apart from the finals and projects, this type of assessment, especially with the use of drawings, can prove fruitful to help manage stress.

Another thing an educator should be cautious about is constructive criticism. This evaluation is not being done to examine their drawing ability but to assess their grasp of a specific topic. Some novel tactics can help your formative assessment succeed. Among them are:

  1. Observation
  2. Pairing and Sharing
  3. Exit Notes

Let us now explore these methodologies one by one in detail to develop a further understanding of how to use drawings for formative assessment in electrical engineering to make the learning experience more wholesome for both the student and the professor.

1. Observation


One of the most enjoyable factors of being in a classroom and performing the formative assessment is watching your students draw their ideas on a sheet of paper or a device such as an iPad in their unique style. Then, you see them as they consider their thoughts, investigate their discoveries, and advance in their own time.

They construct things that may not even exist in your mind, and you are astounded by their inventiveness. Their minor errors and how they review and learn from their mistakes are all part of the observation. You are expected to assist them in performing their best and breaking out of their shell by discovering themselves and their style of acquiring information.

2. Pairing and Sharing

Pairing and Sharing

Formative assessment can be carried out either individually or in groups of students. One of the most effective methods for a student to learn is through peer discussion. There are always certain areas that students understand better than others, and they can band together, write down their views, and end up with the knowledge of more than one student.

One thing should be made clear: whether students are paired together for conversation or drawing for formative evaluation, there should always be an opportunity for consideration.

They should not think of themselves as superior and should constantly understand their partner’s point of view. After the instructor’s creative presentation or performance, the pairing and conversation should always take place.

3. Exit Notes

Exit Notes

Another strategy for formative assessment is to solicit comments from your students on whether they learned something valuable from your class or if they found your teaching style easy or difficult.

Teachers must be willing to accept constructive criticism from their students and focus on the specifics their students overlook. The correct technique to collect feedback from your students is to give them little notes after the lesson on which to jot down their comments.

You may also build a digital note tool for them to type down their experience, or you can put sticky notes on the door for them to write about their experience before leaving.

This will give you a sense of whether the students comprehend the material well or where they need to catch up. You may also have other students read it so that if they miss a detail in their drawing, they can catch up by glancing at their peers’ drawings or notes.

Sharing these thoughts at the end of sessions in the form of exit notes will add a valuable learning experience, especially when done after you have put to use drawings for formative assessment in electrical engineering classes.

Examples of Drawings for Formative Assessment

 Formative assessment is crucial in electrical engineering education, allowing instructors to gauge student understanding and tailor instruction accordingly. While traditional methods like exams offer valuable data, incorporating drawings into the assessment process unlocks a powerful tool for deeper insights. Here’s how analyzing specific types of drawings can reveal a student’s grasp of electrical concepts:

Circuit Schematics: These cornerstone drawings depict electrical circuits using standardized symbols for components like resistors, capacitors, and transistors. Analyzing student-drawn schematics allows instructors to assess more than just memorization.  Correct component symbols and connections indicate a basic understanding of circuit elements.  However, a well-drawn schematic goes further.  The arrangement of components, proper use of power and ground symbols, and inclusion of labels for voltages or currents all reveal a deeper understanding of circuit functionality.  By identifying errors or inconsistencies in schematics, instructors can pinpoint areas where students might have misconceptions about component behavior or overall circuit operation.

System Block Diagrams:  Electrical engineering often involves complex systems with various interacting components.  System block diagrams offer a high-level visual representation of these systems, focusing on the functional blocks and their interconnections.  

Analyzing student-drawn block diagrams reveals their ability to break down complex systems into smaller, manageable parts.  Correct identification of functional blocks and precise representation of their interactions demonstrate a solid understanding of system architecture.  Identifying missing blocks, incorrect connections, or unclear interactions within the diagram allows instructors to address gaps in student understanding of the overall system’s functions.

Flowcharts and Signal Flow Diagrams:  These drawings depict the flow of information or signals within an electrical system. Flowcharts, with their decision points and branching paths, can assess a student’s understanding of processes and control flow in circuits. 

Signal flow diagrams, focusing on the path of a signal through various stages, reveal the student’s grasp of signal processing and manipulation within the system.  Analyzing these drawings allows instructors to identify any misunderstandings students might have about decision-making logic, signal transformations, or the sequence of operations within the system.

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Using drawings for formative assessment in electrical engineering is not new in education. Still, it is now getting widely adapted since the nature of electrical engineering itself is very expressive and creative.

Throughout the degree, students work on different models and diagrams, which sometimes require rework and changes, thus making them ideally suited for formative assessment.

Therefore, drawings should be used during the formative assessment process throughout the electrical engineering degree duration.

This will help the students reach their full potential but will be helpful for the professors and instructors to identify the weak areas in their teaching methodology and improve on that.

We wish you the best of luck in your learning and teaching experience, which will touch new heights once drawings are introduced into the formative assessment process!


Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas (PE), Florida (PE) and Ontario (P. Eng) with consulting experience in design, commissioning and plant engineering for clients in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure.