Provost & Academic Vice President

2005 - 2006 Undergraduate Program Assessment Summaries
College of Arts & Sciences

Department of African American Studies
Department of Biology
Department of Chemistry
Department of English & Journalism - English
Department of English & Journalism - Journalism
Department of Foreign Languages (Spanish, French)
Department of Geography
Department of History
Department of Mathematics
Department of Meteorology
Department of Physics
Department of Political Science
Department of Psychology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Department of Women's Studies

The purpose of this report is to describe the assessment plans as well as the current results of major assessment for 2005-2006. Department results are reported in alphabetical order.

Department:    African American Studies

Learning Outcomes:  1) write clearly and communicate effectively orally; 2) reason outside the box and analyze critically; 3) understand the texts and contexts of the Black experience, from Africa to the African Diaspora and relate such understanding to forming ideas about new possibilities for future greater humanity; 4) record knowledge and achievement in Afrocentric scholarship and attain its methodological skills; 5) conduct research and write scholarly reports from such research activities; and 6) work effectively in a group and efficiently independently, whenever desired.

Direct and Indirect Measurement: graduating student survey and recorded interviews. The Department of African American Studies is in the process of developing its assessment plan and measures.  An assessment committee has been constructed. 

Results: n=4.  Data not clearly reported. 

Feedback Loop: no changes as a direct result of assessment of student learning indicated.  

Department:   Biology

Learning Outcomes:  Students will: 1) interrelate the various subject matter areas and an in-depth understanding of the molecular, cellular, and genetic phenomena common to all forms of life; 2) become familiar with organisms, how they are constructed, how they function, how they develop, how they are classified and how they interact with their environment; 3) develop an appreciation of how their biological knowledge explains the diversity of life-forms on this planet and what will be necessary to avert destruction. 

Direct and Indirect Measurement: Currently, juniors and seniors are assessed with the Cell Biology and Molecular Biology/Genetics subtests and the Organismal Biology and Population Biology/Evolution/Ecology subtests of the ETS Major Field Test in Biology.  Professional school entrance examination success is assessed by scores on MCAT, DAT, and OAT exams.  The number of students accepted to professional schools is also measured.  Alumni questionnaire responses are evaluated.  Quality of portfolios of candidates, performance evaluations from supervising teachers during student teaching, and performance on Teacher Certification Test for Biology are assessed for teacher certification

The ETS exam will be replaced by an exam developed by the Departments Assessment Committee once the new curriculum is in place which. assesses performance of students at the end of their sophomore year, after completion of the biology core, and during their last semester as seniors.  Areas similar to those in the ETS exam will be assessed.

Results: Statistical analysis indicated a significant increase in the scores for cell biology and organismal biology but a decrease in molecular biology/genetics and population biology.

Eleven biology students were accepted to various professional schools. 

Feedback Loop: The Assessment Committee prepares an assessment report at the completion of each academic year.  Based on the report, the Assessment Committee may or may not recommend any curricular or instructional changes.  As a result of assessment practices, the department has developed a substantial curriculum revision. Through frequent faculty meeting during the 2004/05 and 2005/06  the curriculum has been revised to expand the organismal component of the introductory sequence of courses, include more molecular areas in all of the major’s introductory sequence and to add a required general ecology course to the curriculum of all majors. 

Department:   Chemistry:   Undergraduate

Learning Outcomes:  1) Students will demonstrate mastery of basic concepts and ability to apply those concepts to solve problems.   2) Students will demonstrate competency in the following areas of lab work:  basic measurements skills; qualitative and quantitative analyses using wet chemistry; instrumental methods of chemical analysis; and interpretation of physico-chemical/analytical data.

Direct and Indirect Measurement: Mastery of basic concepts and the ability to apply those concepts to solve problems were assessed by administering two parts of the American Chemical Society (ACS) high school chemistry standardized final exam to the same group of students at both the beginning and end of the freshman year.  At mid-career level, Chemistry 331 and 332 students are assessed at the end of their sophomore organic chemistry sequence.  For exit level assessment, faculty supervisors grade the performance levels of senior students enrolled in Chemistry 491.  At alumni level, a student opinion survey is administered every five years.  The Chemistry program is externally evaluated by the ACS Committee on Professional Training, who has continuously approved accreditation.  

Results: No data was collected this year at entrance level.  Of the 56 students enrolled in the course spring 2006 semester, 47 students (84%) took the mid-level assessment exam. The average raw score was 27 out of 70 (38.6%) which corresponds to the 14th percentile national ranking relative to 2,361 students in 52 colleges nationwide.  However, the national raw score data show that this score of 25 is actually a “spike” in the national distribution of scores with nearly 30% of students nationally obtaining the same score.  Also noteworthy, the top student in the class had a raw score of 57 out of 70 which corresponds to the 95th national percentile.  The top seven students in this class having >50% raw score are at the 85th percentile and above. Adjusting the raw score to eliminate the 8 questions from topics that were not discussed in class raises the class average to 44% which places our students in the 69th percentile of national ranking.  For exit level assessments, the performance levels of senior students enrolled in the Chem 490/491 classes were graded by faculty supervisors, based on their lab skills and project reports, during the 2005-2006 year.   All 8  students (i.e., 5 from Fall and 3 from Spring) enrolled in Chem 490 lab projects have either met or exceeded expectations of learning of several physico-chemical concepts/theories, as indicated by high letter grades (mostly As) earned by them.

  Feedback Loop: An improved assessment procedure will be used that is recommended by the American Chemical Society for all ACS approved degree programs.  The ACS standardized exam for High School Chemistry will be administered in CHEM 201 during the first two weeks of class, and the ACS standardized exam in General Chemistry (2 semester college course) will be administered as the final exam for all CHEM 202 students during the spring semester. (An announcement to this effect is made in the CHEM 201 and CHEM 202 syllabi at the beginning of each semester.)  90% of all ACS Approved Chemistry programs (as well as 69% of other chemistry programs) utilize the ACS standardized exam in General Chemistry as the final exam for their primary two semester course.   Similarly the ACS standardized exam for Organic Chemistry-two semester course will be utilized as the final exam for all students in CHEM 332 (Organic Chemistry II).  The scores from the ACS standardized exam in General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry can then be compared to the scores of ACS exams given in similar courses in other universities across the country.


Department:   English and Journalism: English

Learning Outcomes: 1) to interpret texts formally, using the relevant vocabularies, such as those associated with the study of poetics, genre, narrative, rhetoric, and language; 2) to interpret texts through the analysis of culture, using the vocabularies associated with cultural studies; 3) to interpret texts historically, emphasizing contexts and traditions; 4) to apply a variety of current critical and theoretical approaches to the study of texts and writing; 5) to write and speak clearly and effectively; 6) to use library and online resources (including books, periodicals, indexes, electronic media, and other recent technologies) to conduct basic scholarly research essential to the study of texts; 7) to think through critical and literary traditions that inform the study of texts.  There are two additional learning outcomes for English Education: 1) to apply in their teaching current pedagogical theory and practice in English/language arts and 2) to develop and reinforce listening and speaking skills that can be adapted to a range of audiences.

Direct Measures: 1)Portfolio Assessment (English & English Ed.) 2) Performance on licensure, certification exams in basic skills, technology, and language arts (English Ed.)

Indirect Measures:  Student surveys (English 406, Senior Project, and other courses when available)

Results: 

  1. Carry out measurement:  In fall 05 we read nine English portfolios; in spring 06 we read 23 English portfolios.  We looked at student surveys in English 406 and 410 (Chaucer).
  2. Results from surveys
    • Out of 23 students surveyed in spring, 65% believe that they leave the program with the ability to apply relevant vocabularies and/or the ability to interpret texts in cultural/historical contexts; (35%) believe they still struggle in these areas and think the program has not provided adequate opportunity, especially in learning about key concepts; 35% believe they will leave the program with a command of literary theory; 65% do not believe they see the relevance of literary theory and complain about the one course (Eng 368) that fulfills the theory requirement because it seems too abstract; 83% believe that they have been well trained to write scholarly papers that effectively integrate library sources; 17%) feel they still struggle writing scholarly research papers.
    • The survey in English 410 (Chaucer) was given to determine how many research papers students in the class—students who are upper-division English majors—have written since completing English 280. Of the 16 410 students surveyed, 44% said they wrote 0-1 research papers, 38% said they wrote 4-7 research papers, and 18% said they wrote 9 or more.
    • The 23 students surveyed about career goals have a wide range of immediate and long-term career goals.  57% are indifferent, unhappy, unsure, or nervous about their futures; 43% are excited, relaxed, fine, or optimistic. 
  3. Results from portfolios:  Results of the portfolios do show that most students’ writing ability improves over time, that most students are generally satisfied with the program, but that most of the have difficulty connecting majoring in English with their career and personal goals.

English Education portfolios: In fall 05, six students completed the portfolio; in spring 06, six students completed the portfolio.  Twenty-five students are at different stages in their portfolios.

Feedback:  The English department has been working for two years on a curriculum revision: 1) the introduction course (current 199) will be changed to Eng 299, so that the course can serve as a true gateway into the heart of the major, the upper-division; 2) the theory requirement will have additional options: 3) the English survey will be divided into two parts: 4) students will be required to take two senior seminars that will focus on developing and writing an academic essay; 5) Eng 406 (Senior Project) will be moved to the junior level, so that students are encouraged to explore career issues earlier than their senior year: 6) we are working with the business development team at First Federal Bank to set up an effective internship program for our students; 7) we have instituted a summer reading (this year, The History of Reading) for our majors, which we hope will help build an academic community in the department: 8) we are planning an annual department lecture which he hope will build an academic community in the department; 9) English education is moving portfolio assessment to Taskstream.  Additional learning outcomes, direct and indirect measurements and assessment reports, are being generated by the Education Department, and will be included in the 2007-2008 report.


Department:   English and Journalism: Journalism

Learning Outcomes: 1) knowledge of mass media history, law, and communications theory, 2) knowledge of the social impact of the mass media, 3) mastery of basic skills in reporting and writing, and 4) knowledge of the specialized fields of advertising and public relations. 

  Direct and Indirect Measurement: At Program Entry, when the journalism assessment questionnaire is administered to all students in journalism classes. The results compare student performance by major/minor or non-major/non-minor status, year in school, and sequence of specialization (advertising, public relation, news-editorial, or none).

The department also periodically utilizes a writing sample evaluation. This method was not used in 05-06.

Results: Students in the program [majors and minors] progressed as expected over their years in the program as measured by the overall scores. That is, seniors did substantially better than freshmen. Majors did better than minors. However, sophomore majors did slightly better this year than junior majors, perhaps reflecting the arrival of transfer students in the junior year.

Similar progression was not evident for test takers who were not in the program. These were non-majors and non-minors taking journalism courses this semester. Minors and non-program test takers did less well in the communications theory subtest than majors.

Scores in the social impact subtest area were erratic for majors and minors but higher than last year relative to scores in other subtest areas.  Majors and minors performed better than non-majors and non-minors in the writing and reporting subtest area, but scores in this area were lower than last year relative to those in other areas. Also juniors performed better in this area than seniors this year. Public relations subtest scores and advertising subtest scores for majors and minors essentially followed a pattern of gradual increase for each additional year in school. Majors and minors specializing in public relations did better as seniors in overall scores than did those specializing in news-editorial or advertising, while those specializing in news-editorial did better as juniors than those in public relations or advertising. Major and minor public relations students did best this year on the communications theory subtest among both juniors and seniors.

Social impact scores were erratic for majors and minors in both news-ed and advertising sequences. Major and minor news-editorial juniors and seniors did better on the writing and reporting subtest than any other sequence group, but this year these scores were not high compared to those in other subtest areas. Major and minor seniors specializing in the advertising sequence did better this year on the public relations subtest than any sequence/year group. Majors and minor juniors and seniors specializing in public relations scored higher this year on the advertising subtest than those specializing in news-editorial or public relations.

Feedback Loop: Recently, low scores in the social impact subtest led to development of an ethics         course now being offered experimentally.  The results of the 2005-2006 test indicate that students are progressing as expected over their years in the program. Scores in the social impact area were not weak, but this does not suggest that we can do without an ethics course; the ethics course should be proposed for permanent status following its second offering experimentally in fall 2006.

 

Department:   Foreign Languages (Spanish, French)

No plan or report submitted.

 

Department:   Geography

Learning Outcomes:

1)  Geography Knowledge and Understanding. This is evident when the student is able to:

a)    Scientifically define spatial/geographic problems

b)    Understand sustainability principles for shaping the built environment

c)      Understand the social, economic, political structures in places and how these structures influence life in urban and rural areas

d)     Understand the nexus between people and the environment

e)      Understand the diversity and complexity of regions

2)      Cognitive Characteristics. This is evident when the student is able to:

a)      Engage in a sustained, critical discourse about geographical theories

b)      Generate primary data and collect secondary data

c)      Critically analyze quantitative or collective data

d)     Collaborate with others

e)      Successfully design and conduct independent research

f)       Synthesize ideas from multiple sources

g)      Solve realistic problems using geographical concepts & principles

3)      Geographical Methods. The student will effectively use one or more geographical methods to assess, formulate and resolve real world problems. These methods include:

a)      GIS for the apprehension and analysis of complex, multivariable problems conceptualized in field or object manner

b)      Deterministic or probabilistic quantitative methods for solving problems with spatial data (basic statistics, sample design, basic optimization, multivariable linear statistics, elementary spatial statistics, spatial correlation)

c)      Computerized cartographic methods (map production from base variables, use of appropriate projection, scale)

d)     Field methods (neighborhood, geomorphic, hydrologic surveys)

e)      Qualitative methods (text analysis)

f)       Meteorological methods of climate analysis and weather prediction

4)      Practical/Professional Skills. This is evident when the student is able to:

a)      Effectively communicate research orally

b)      Write in a neat, clear and concise manner

c)      Effectively work within a group to set and accomplish tasks

d)     Independently conceptualize, execute and report research projects

e)      Create and interpret statistical information: tables, graphs, maps

f)       Use computer hardware and software effectively to accomplish research tasks  

g)      Perceive and uphold high standards of morality and ethics in all aspects of professional behavior  

h)      Demonstrate leadership qualities (in projects, clubs, internships)

i)        Identify the open questions over which scientific controversy exists, as opportunities for further research and knowledge advancement  

Direct and Indirect Measurement:

Portfolio Assessments: Portfolios assess student learning for five degree streams.  Each portfolio assesses: 1) Communication Skills – demonstrated by class presentations, group projects and written assignments; 2) Analytical Thinking and Reasoning Skills – demonstrated by an ability to create and analyze maps, images, and flowcharts as well as the ability to create and solve word problem; 3) Complexity Skills – demonstrated by facility in working with equations and working with more complex, real data; and 4) Scholarship Skills – demonstrated by the acquisition of knowledge resulting from study, and by reading and understanding discipline-specific literature. Portfolios should contain evidence of: 1) Knowledge-based skills – content learned in courses, and 2) Analysis-based skills – analysis proficiency (statistical, GIS, presentation software, scientific method in research).  Among the items to be included in portfolios are the following (learning outcomes assessed are indicated in parentheses): 1) Group project reports (I.A, I.B, I.C & I.D); 2) Internship reports and evaluations (I.B, I.C, I.D); 3) Laboratory and computer exercises which demonstrate learned skills (I.A, I.B, I.C, I.D); 4) Presentation materials (I.D);  5) Research papers from courses & independent projects (I.A, I.B, I.C, I.D); 6) Discipline-specific reports, e.g., weather analyses and forecasts, GIS project flowcharts, exploratory data analyses, hypothesis tests, regression models, planning reports (I.C, I.D)

Survey Questionnaires: All department majors are surveyed at least twice while enrolled in program.  Students are asked to agree/disagree with statements on questionnaire.  Continued contact will be maintained with the graduates from the department’s degree programs via regular (annual) surveys.

Results: New plan presented without data; full expectation of data 2006-2007.

Feedback Loop: None.

 

Department: Geology

Learning Outcomes: 1) to provide geology majors and geology minors with a sound background in geology and related basic sciences, 2) to train students to investigate and solve problems using observation, analytic reasoning and the scientific method, and 3) to guide students in the communication of the results of their investigations clearly and concisely.

Direct and Indirect Measurement: Entry-Level, with evaluation interviews and the entry level Comprehensive exam (administered to entering geology 110 students); Mid-Point, with the same comprehensive exam administered to all majors after 17 semester hours of course work in geology; Exit-Level, with comprehensive exam, comparing the results to the entry-level scores to determine the level of improvement attained; tracking undergraduate research; and Alumni, with a questionnaire to determine 1) current employment and/or graduate school status, 2) perception of strengths and weaknesses of program.

Results:  Results of the assessment exam indicate that, as geology graduates progress through the program, there is a significant increase in their geologic knowledge. The department determined the number and quality of research presentations by undergraduate majors. Three upper level students presented high quality research reports at Undergraduate Research Day. Two of these studies were also presented at department seminars. The department tracked graduates to determine job or graduate program placement. This year, all graduating seniors have been accepted to graduate school, have internships, or are employed.

Feedback Loop: None identified.


Department :  History

Learning Outcomes:  Students will demonstrate the ability to: 1) think critically in an historical context; 2) appreciate, evaluate, and use accurately complex and often competing historical sources; 3) communicate clearly especially in formal writing.

Direct and Indirect Measurement: In History 491, “Writing and Research in History,” the student must select a research topic, research the topic, and produce, after revisions, a research paper of significant depth.  This paper is assessed as per learning outcomes.

The majority of our majors are in the teacher education option.  All of these students must successfully submit and have department approval of two learning portfolios based on the eleven State of Illinois Professional Teaching Standards.  These two portfolios must be approved by the department before student teaching.  In addition, all of our teacher education majors must pass several state mandated exams before they are awarded their Teacher Certification Credentials. 

Results: During the 2005-2006 academic year, the department offered four sections of History 491.  Sixty-five students completed the research project and paper.  In Sixty-two cases, students showed improvement in all three learning outcomes through revisions. 

The pass rate for teacher education students in the Department of History at WIU exceeds the state average in both the basic skills and the knowledge subject matter test.  On site observers from the department also rated all 22 student teachers as either meeting or exceeding expectations in their student teaching assignments.  

Feedback Loop: no significant changes implemented. 

 

Department :  Mathematics

Learning Outcomes:  Students will demonstrate 1) a satisfactory knowledge of the material in the core courses; 2) knowledge in depth of a subject chosen from one of the following general areas of concentration: a) pure mathematics; b) computational and applied mathematics; c) statistics; d) an approved cognate area; 3) the use of abstract mathematical reasoning in the mathematics courses that they take in their first year of enrollment in the program; 4) the ability to read, write, and present mathematics in the mathematics courses that they take in their fourth semester of full-time studies or equivalent.

Direct and Indirect Measurement:

Learning Outcome 1) All professors from whom the student takes core courses during the first year will be asked to assess the student’s knowledge of the core course material, rating it on a scale of 1 to 5, where “5” means excellent, “4” means good, “3” means fair, “2” means poor, and “1” means unacceptable. Short comments explaining the numerical rating will also be given, with a sample of the student’s work attached.  Criteria for Success: In each of the four core courses, no student will be rated below 2, and at least 75% will be rated 3 or higher.

Learning Outcome 2) Any student who opts to earn a degree under Plan 1 of our program and takes an oral examination over advanced coursework, or any student who opts to earn a degree under Plan 2 of our program and writes a thesis, the student’s advisor and examining committee will be asked to assess the student’s understanding of the course material, rating it on a scale of 1 to 5, where “5” means excellent, “4” means good, “3” means fair, “2” means poor, and “1” means unacceptable. Criterion for Success: No student will be rated below 3, and at least 75% will be rated 4 or 5.

Learning Outcome 3) All professors from whom the student takes classes during the first year will be asked to assess the student’s ability to reason abstractly in the course of doing mathematics, rating it on a scale of 1 to 5, where “5” means excellent, “4” means good, “3” means fair, “2” means poor, and “1” means unacceptable. Criteria for Success: No student will be rated below 2, and at least 75% will be rated 3 or higher.

Learning Outcome 4) During a student’s fourth semester of full-time studies (or equivalent, if the student is enrolled part-time), all professors from whom the student takes classes will be asked to assess the student’s ability to read, write, and present mathematics. Reading, writing, and presenting will be assessed separately. Each will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5, where “5” means excellent, “4” means good, “3” means fair, “2” means poor, and “1” means unacceptable. Criteria for Success: In each of the three skills assessed -- reading, writing, and presenting mathematics -- no student will be rated below 2,  and at least 75% will be rated 3 or higher.

Results: Grade distribution data submitted as indirect measurement.

Feedback Loop: There are two key courses that every major has to take: Math 341 and Math 391. Math 341 (Sets and Logic) is of fundamental importance, because it systematically develops mathematical reasoning, which is of crucial importance not only in upper division classes, but is also of essence to anybody who has mathematics as profession. Every instructor of this course develops a clear sense of the quality and weaknesses of each student. This information is informally discussed with instructors of courses having Math 341 as prerequisite and with the two advisors. Math 391 (Writing in the Mathematical Sciences) has students make presentation. All faculty are invited to attend these presentations. Faculty who attend always discuss their impressions and ways to make the course more meaningful. Such a discussion after this spring’s presentations will most likely lead to changes in the course. Besides Math 341 and Math 391, which are required for all majors, Math 411 (Geometry) and Math 421 (Abstract Algebra) are required by all secondary teaching majors. In these two courses, the instructors have the same kind of direct and personal contact as in Math 341, and therefore they gain the additional insight into the students’ performance and abilities. Additionally, through the feedback provided when these students visit the department at the end of their student teaching, these two courses are adjusted, if necessary. As an example, the emphasis of Math 411 has been adjusted to better serve the classroom needs of our high school teachers. The reaction of the students has been quite enthusiastic and receptive, some mentioned that they have already applied materials from the class.

 

Department :  Meteorology

Learning Outcomes:

1)      Geography Knowledge and Understanding. This is evident when the student is able to:

f)       Scientifically define spatial/geographic problems

g)      Understand sustainability principles for shaping the built environment

h)      Understand the nexus between people and the environment

i)        Understand the diversity and complexity of regions

2)      Cognitive Characteristics. This is evident when the student is able to:

h)      Generate primary data and collect secondary data

i)        Critically analyze quantitative or collective data

j)        Collaborate with others

k)      Successfully design and conduct independent research

l)        Synthesize ideas from multiple sources

m)    Solve realistic problems using geographical concepts & principles

3)      Geographical Methods. The student will effectively use one or more geographical methods to assess, formulate and resolve real world problems. These methods include:

g)      GIS for the apprehension and analysis of complex, multivariable problems conceptualized in field or object manner

h)      Deterministic or probabilistic quantitative methods for solving problems with spatial data (basic statistics, sample design, basic optimization, multivariable linear statistics, elementary spatial statistics, spatial correlation)

i)        Computerized cartographic methods (map production from base variables, use of appropriate projection, scale)

j)        Field methods (neighborhood, geomorphic, hydrologic surveys)

k)      Meteorological methods of climate analysis and weather prediction

4)      Practical/Professional Skills. This is evident when the student is able to:

j)        Effectively communicate research orally

k)      Write in a neat, clear and concise manner

l)        Effectively work within a group to set and accomplish tasks

m)    Independently conceptualize, execute and report research projects

n)      Create and interpret statistical information: tables, graphs, maps

o)      Use computer hardware and software effectively to accomplish research tasks  

p)      Perceive and uphold high standards of morality and ethics in all aspects of professional behavior  

q)      Demonstrate leadership qualities (in projects, clubs, internships)

r)       Identify the open questions over which scientific controversy exists, as opportunities for further research and knowledge advancement  

Direct and Indirect Measurement:

Portfolio Assessments: Portfolios assess student learning for five degree streams.  Each portfolio assesses: 1) Communication Skills – demonstrated by class presentations, group projects and written assignments; 2) Analytical Thinking and Reasoning Skills – demonstrated by an ability to create and analyze maps, images, and flowcharts as well as the ability to create and solve word problem; 3) Complexity Skills – demonstrated by facility in working with equations and working with more complex, real data; and 4) Scholarship Skills – demonstrated by the acquisition of knowledge resulting from study, and by reading and understanding discipline-specific literature. Portfolios should contain evidence of: 1) Knowledge-based skills – content learned in courses, and 2) Analysis-based skills – analysis proficiency (statistical, GIS, presentation software, scientific method in research).  Among the items to be included in portfolios are the following (learning outcomes assessed are indicated in parentheses): 1) Group project reports (I.A, I.B, I.C & I.D); 2) Internship reports and evaluations (I.B, I.C, I.D); 3) Laboratory and computer exercises which demonstrate learned skills (I.A, I.B, I.C, I.D); 4) Presentation materials (I.D);  5) Research papers from courses & independent projects (I.A, I.B, I.C, I.D); 6) Discipline-specific reports, e.g., weather analyses and forecasts, GIS project flowcharts, exploratory data analyses, hypothesis tests, regression models, planning reports (I.C, I.D)

Survey Questionnaires: All department majors are surveyed at least twice while enrolled in program.  Students are asked to agree/disagree with statements on questionnaire.  Continued contact will be maintained with the graduates from the department’s degree programs via regular (annual) surveys.

Results: New plan presented without data; full expectation of data 2006-2007.

Feedback Loop: None.

 

Department :  Philosophy and Religious Studies

Learning Outcomes: 1) understand and apply the elementary principles of deductive and inductive logic; 2) understand the ideas of the major philosophers of the ancient and early modern periods; 3) to be acquainted with some of the major current issues in at least two different fields of philosophy; and 4) to be able to articulate, defend, and critically evaluate philosophical positions orally and in writing.

Direct and Indirect Measurement: 1) portfolios of senior majors; 2) alumni survey; 3) exit interviews.

Results: a)  Based on exit interviews and the alumni survey, satisfaction with the program is quite high; b) the program should continue to emphasize skill development in courses, with writing and critical thinking skills most important and considerable attention to oral communication skills; c)  efforts should be continued to increase the variety of courses offered in the program; d)  students declaring a major in philosophy should be given help early in their undergraduate careers with career planning and preparation; e) and an active program of extracurricular activities geared toward majors needs to be maintained, and better publicized.

Feedback Loop:  Our primary goal is to reevaluate and restructure our departmental assessment plan to align it with the university-wide Annual Assessment Report.  The plan will be finalized by August 2006 and implemented for the 2006-07 academic year, culminating in a more detailed 2007 Annual Assessment Report.  Changes in the assessment plan will reflect information gleaned from survey information above.

Department :  Physics

Learning Outcomes:  1) Students will demonstrate mastery of the basic concepts of physics and the ability to apply those concepts to the solutions of problems; 2) students will demonstrate competency in physics laboratory work; 3) students will demonstrate competency in computer applications; 4) students will demonstrate competency in mathematical physical skills in the solutions of physics problems.

Direct and Indirect Measures: at 1) entrance, with entrance data, entrance interview, and information supplied by advisor; 2) semesterly, with student self-assessment of progress and student satisfaction survey; 3) mid-program, with the Physics Core Knowledge Exam; 4) exit, with the Physics Core Knowledge Exam, exit interview, and survey; 5) alumni, with data collected on graduate school performance and employment.

Results: The average score in the Physics Core Knowledge Exam for the sophomore group this year was 49 %, just 1% higher than the last group average, obtained in 2003. The two seniors who took the Exam had not taken it at the Mid-career level, so there is no way to assess whether they have improved or not. Their average result was 41%, quite below this year’s sophomore average.

The two graduating seniors were interviewed by the Chair and strengths and weaknesses of the program were identified.

Feedback Loop: Assessment results indicate that the physics program is in need of strengthening and revision as reflected in the student performance in the Core Exam, as well as in the information gathered during the exit interview. The students complained about courses offered in inappropriate sequences; they felt the department should pay more attention to guarantee the availability of mathematical physics courses that will provide the student with a stronger math background, which in turn will help them to do better in the upper level physics courses.

On the other hand, the students were satisfied with the changes they were observing are taken place in the department.

Changes made in reaction to 2004-2005 assessment