How does learning take place? core concepts entry breadth expansion midpoint synthesis contextual exit
core knowledge elective projectcapstone Developmental Assessment View of learning over time
It all starts with clear expectations for learning Over the course of the major, what do you expect students to learn? Broad statements about exit behaviors No more than 5-6 broad outcomes Define by proficiency/expected level
C ORE C OMPETENCIES A DVANCED P ERFORMER S OLID P ERFORMER B ASIC P ERFORMER U NDER -P ERFORMER T HEORETICAL C ONTEXT OF P OLITICS Has an excellent grasp of theory in various contexts and can apply theory to understand past, present and possible future outcomes. Understands the importance of theory as a tool as well as the normative and ethical components of politics. Has a solid understanding of the theoretical foundations of politics. Realizes the value of theory for making sense of the past and present and predicting future outcomes, and is aware of the normative and ethical components of political science. Has a general sense of what theory in its various incarnations is and why it is important, but cannot understand or apply sophisticated theoretical arguments or concepts. Has vague sense of the normative and ethical components of the discipline. Does not understand the content or the utility of theory. Cannot apply theoretical constructs to contemporary or historical problems. Does not understand normative or ethical components of the discipline. H ISTORICAL C ONTEXT OF P OLITICS Uses history as a framework for understanding contemporary politics. Has a well- developed understanding of patterns and their disruption as a critical part of the discipline. Comprehends historical trends in both American and international political life. Makes connections between contemporary political life and its historical antecedents. Has a general understanding of history and its relevance to contemporary politics. Thinks of history in broad outlines instead of specific factors that contribute to contemporary political life. Has little sense of historical trajectory and fails to make connections between the contemporary world and the past.
Identify what assessment milestones and tools to use. Look for existing assessments in program courses that most students take throughout the program. i.e. introduction to … Capstone Research paper Field based learning project Internship
Political Science Assessments The Political Science Department uses multiple methods of assessment as outlined below. Student Portfolio In the senior capstone course (84-401) students produce a formal (bound) portfolio of what they consider to be their best work in the major accompanied by reflective statements on their political science career at UWO and on each paper chosen for inclusion in the portfolio.
Political Science Assessments Major Research Paper In the senior capstone course (84-401) students produce and present a major research paper that demonstrates qualitative and/or quantitative research methods and analytical writing abilities (examples of such assignments is appended). Graduating Senior Survey The Political Science Department also uses a graduating senior survey to gain insight about the department’s ability to facilitate student achievement of the learning goals, about what parts of the program worked best for students, and what parts of the program could be strengthened.
Align Which outcome? When/Where? What assessment format? OutcomeWhen/whereFormat
Political Science alignment C ORE COMPETENCIES C OURSE /P ROGRAM C OMPONENT A SSESSMENT F ORMAT Theoretical Context of Politics ,105,115, Pre/Post Tests, Capstone Paper, Portfolio Reflections, Major Field Text (ETS) Historical Context of Politics ,105, Pre/Post Tests, Capstone Paper, Portfolio Reflections, Major Field Text (ETS) Contemporary Politics ,105, Pre/Post Tests, Capstone Paper, Portfolio Reflections, Major Field Text (ETS) Civic and Global Engagement Portfolio Reflections Analytical Ability ,105,115, Pre/Post Tests, Portfolio Reflections, Major Field Text (ETS) Written and Oral Communication Skills Portfolio Reflections, Capstone Paper, Capstone Presentation
Analysis Process Describe how you will analyze results Department meeting/retreat
Sample process A NALYSIS OF R ESULTS F EEDBACK M ECHANISMS The Political Science Department offers two sections of the capstone course each year. Instructors are asked to compile assessment related measures from the portfolio, major paper and presentation, and the major field and internal test. Instructors are also asked to solicit student comments about program and compile anecdotes about students’ post graduate plans. These measures, along with all other assessment measures indicated above, are discussed at an annual faculty retreat each summer. Results are also used for required reporting on assessment and student achievement. Because the Department is small, these discussions can result in immediate curricular actions.
Alignment of Findings Assessment Method/Con text Results?What do results tell us about learning? Program Response/C hange
Sample Findings Based on prior discussions of student learning outcomes, the following changes were underway before : offer the senior capstone course (PS401) every semester offer the research methods course (PS245) every semester in a small class size advise students to take PS245 early in career (sophomore year) to increase ability to apply methods related skills to student research The following changes were discussed at the 2009 summer retreat and implemented over the course of : increase upper division offerings during interim to reduce time to degree alternate between American Politics focused faculty and Comparative Politics International Relations focused faculty. increase political theory sub-field offerings design and implement a civil engagement emphasis/minor to improve student achievement of learning goals
What will assessment of learning tell us about the curriculum?
Curriculum characteristics Organization of the Curriculum Sequence-Are courses sequenced in a way to assist students to develop knowledge and skills? Articulation-How are courses related to one another? How does each course build upon or support learning from the previous course? Coherence-Is there a logical consistency of a set of well understood principles throughout the curriculum?
Curriculum Characteristics Rigor-Are students challenged? Are students meeting expectations put forth by the faculty? Integration-Can students incorporate knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes into their own lives? Learning Process-Can you identify areas where students have significant challenges with their learning? Where students are successful?
Assessment Guidelines I.Program Goals and Intended Student Learning Outcomes II.Assessment Methods/Tools for Learning Outcomes III.Analysis of Results Feedback Mechanisms IV.Interpretation of Assessment Results V.Assessment Results Used to Inform Change