• No labels

1 Comment

  1. Unknown User (klotz)

    The Political Science and International Relations department has closed the loop on assessment in several ways. In August 2010, the department met to discuss assessment results among other topics. Based on discussions during that meeting, individual faculty members have chosen to conduct their own pre-test and post-test assessments in their classes. The pre-tests identify students who enter the class with only a rudimentary understanding of the course material. Faculty are then able to watch the progress of these students and intervene earlier to assist them. Individual faculty members have also examined the results of these assessments to determine which key terms or concepts are particularly challenging for students and have tried to modify their teaching methods to help students learn these concepts. For example, they may spend more time on a particular topic, offer more practice with a specific concept or modify readings to find content that is more accessible for students. For the research writing component of 300-level courses, individual faculty members have chosen to spend more time describing a particular assignment, being more specific about expectations and providing more examples of quality work. Professor Grace has indicated that he has revised his courses to spend more time in class discussing the writing assignment and providing more specific examples of the types of quality writing he expects. Professor Grace has also included a day or more in his syllabus for individual conferences with students regarding their research paper. Professor Drachman has created a rubric which he distributes to students with the writing assignment. He then uses this rubric to grade the final research papers. In this way, students see in advance how they will be assessed and faculty articulate particular expectations for assignments. Professor Klotz has incorporated a day in each course to focus on student thesis statements and paper outlines mid-semester to assist with research paper-writing. In addition, in the Spring 2011 semester, the department has agreed to create a uniform rubric for research paper-writing in upper-level courses and to use this rubric to assess a sample of papers at the end of the semester. With this rubric in mind at the beginning of the semester, faculty are able to be more clear regarding research paper expectations and to help students over the course of the semester reach these expectations for their papers.