Social Science Core Course Assessment Results, Spring 2010


Methods of Social Science

Knowledge of Social Science

Knowledge of Public Issues


551 (37.7%)

618 (38.8%)

614 (42.1%)


581 (39.8%)

656 (41.2%)

550 (37.7%)


242 (16.6%)

210 (13.2%)

202 (13.9%)


87 (6.0%)

107 (6.7%)

92 (6.3%)

Total number of students




The assignments used for assessment were as varied as the course topics offered.  Most instructors used essays, exams, and take-home exams for assessment.  One instructor used a pre test and post test to show improvement during the semester.

These data are incomplete since about a quarter of faculty teaching Social Science Core courses in the spring 2010 semester did not provide assessment data for their courses.  Three years ago about 10% failed to respond and the table covered almost 2000 students.  Additionally, two faculty members provided only one overall assessment on Knowledge of Social Science.

The results presented above are virtually the same as in the previous assessment.  The proportion of students in each category is similar to the two previous assessment periods and the percentages across categories are roughly the same.  These summaries conceal a great deal of course to course variation.  For example, some courses do not cover the methods of social science while others feature it. This learning outcome is the source of much confusion and disagreement among faculty who teach in the Social Science Core.   To a lesser extent we have the same problem with knowledge of public issues.  Some courses are focused on public issues, but others are not.  While many courses try to cover all three assessment goals, the coverage is uneven.

It is time for the Social Social Science Core to be revised.  The basic leaning outcomes in the Social Science Core were established in 1998.  They include the three outcomes assessed plus the writing requirement.  A number of departments in the Social Science Core would like to see the writing requirement eliminated.  When the college changes from a five course student load to a four course student load, the general education requirements will have to be revised.  We should take this opportunity to use the evidence from the assessments to revise the Social Science Core to reflect the new situation and current practice.

How Social Science Has Closed the Assessment Loop

  • No labels