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File posted by Kathy Mapes.

U.S. Histories/Closing the Loop

 

In the AY 2004-2005, U.S. Histories core assessment revealed that most students were either exceeding or meeting the stated learning outcomes.  Under the learning outcome “Understanding of the distinct, overlapping and shared history of people based on varied identities and experiences…,” 36% of students exceeded expectations, 46% were meeting expectations, 12% were approaching expectations, and 3% were not meeting expectations.  The outcomes for the other assessed categories netted similar results, as evident in the assessment final report.  In spite of the high levels of success achieved by the students, however, questions were raised about the rubric, the assessment process, and faculty participation in assessment.  To address these concerns, the final report called for the U.S. Histories Core Committee to revisit the rubric and suggested the use of multiple assignments in assessment.  In addition, the committee called for hosting meetings and workshops for faculty teaching courses within the U.S. Histories core requirement. 

 

Based on these recommendations, by the time of the 2007-2008 assessment period, the rubric had been revised to more fully reflect the learning outcomes of the U.S. Core requirement. In addition, the U.S. Histories chair for that year, Michael Oberg, organized one meeting and sent out three emails informing faculty about the upcoming assessment and the importance of participation.  Once again, as during the previous assessment period, the vast majority of students either met or exceeded the learning outcomes as stated in the rubric. Under the category, “Knowledge of a basic narrative of American history…” 51% of students exceeded expectations, 38% were meeting expectations, 7% were approaching expectations, and 3% failed to meet expectations.  The results for the other assessed learning outcomes yielded similar percentages.  The only minor exception to this trend was in the category “Understanding America’s evolving relationships with the rest of the world.”  In this case while the vast majority of assessed students still either met or exceeded expectations (29% exceeding, 47% meeting)  17% of students were approaching and 6% failed to meet the stated learning outcome.  Unfortunately, while the overwhelming majority of  students certainly managed to meet the core requirement expectations, not all faculty participated in assessment nor did the faculty who participated address each part of the assessment rubric.  To “close the loop” in this case, then, means that more if not all faculty teaching U.S. Histories core courses need to take part in the assessment process.  To address this problem, in 2011 the U.S. Histories chair will be organizing two workshops where faculty can gather to meet and discuss the assessment process. In addition, the U.S. Histories chair will ask to visit each relevant department during a department meeting to stress the importance of participation in the assessment process. In addition to this face-to-face interaction, numerous emails reminding faculty of workshops and deadlines will be sent.

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