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Form C Results
Program: Sociology
Degree Level: Bachelors.
Assessment period covered July 2017-July 2018
Date Submitted: September 2018
Intended Educational Outcome
Students will successfully identify a research question and appropriate methods for answering that question. They will write a research report and/or term papers that address this research question.
What was your first means of assessment for this outcome?
To graduate, majors must complete one of four senior-seminar options, each of which requires students to write a research-based term paper. Twenty-six term papers for seniors who met the requirement in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 were assessed, including all students who enrolled in Socl 376 (Senior Seminar: Selected topics) and two who completed the other alternatives. The rubric assessed students' ability to 1) formulate a sociological question 2) describe the significance of the question in relation to sociological literature, 3) design and implement a data-gathering strategy and 4) write a research report.
What were your criteria for success for this outcome
We hope that the great majority of students show an ability to identify a research question and appropriate methods for answering the question and to write a report describing research.
Please summarize the assessment data you collected for this outcome
One faculty member assessed 26 projects received from in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018. Twenty-three of the 26 projects –88% – received 3 on a 3-point scale which evaluated the ability to formulate a question (while one project received a 2, one received a 1 and one received a 1.5) . Twenty-two of 26 projects – 85 % projects received 3 on a 3-point scale which evaluated the student's ability to describe the significance of the question in relation to the sociological literature (while 3 projects received a 2 and 1 project received a 1) Twenty of 26 projects – 77% – received 2.5-3 on a 3-point scale designed to evaluate the use of evidence (while two received a two and four received a one). Regarding, the report itself, 19 out of 26 projects – 73% – received 2.5-3 on a 3-point scale for writing a "clear and persuasive report." The other seven students were assessed as successfully making a point but with "organizational and/or grammar problems."
These results suggests the great majority of students are able to identify an interesting research question, relate it to the sociological literature, design a methodology to address the question, and gather and interpret evidence. While most students were also able to write a "clear and persuasive report", a significant minority (27%) wrote a report that included "organizational and/or grammar problems." This is the same percentage that wrote reports with "organizational and/or grammar problems" when we last assessed this outcome.
For the first time in many years, the same instructor taught both sections of the sociology senior seminar. That instructor noted that one sign that instruction is effective in teaching students to meet the outcome is that many students with below-average GPAs scored high on the outcome, while other students with better GPAs scored low. Student effort and attendance clearly affected how well instruction worked. The instructor noted that several students scored low on the rubric because they relied primarily on secondary research, rather than data they themselves collected.
Did you have a second means of assessment for this outcome?
No
Have you made, or are you considering, any program changes in light of results from your previous round of assessment?
No
Do you plan, or are you considering, any program changes in light of results from your previous round of assessment?
We are pleased that no program changes are necessary. But in light of the significant minority with trouble meeting the outcome, we will assess the outcome again next year.

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