Date Received Spring 2009 Semester Assessment Report Form DUE October 30, 2009 Directions: Please complete a form for each of the programs within your department. This form was designed to provide a format for assessment reporting and should not be used to limit the amount of information provided. Each box that is attached to each of the sections is designed to adjust to varying lengths. If you have any questions, please contact Angelina Hill at x50407 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org ***Please submit the report electronically to email@example.com 1. Program Information: Program BA Department Sociology College Liberal Arts Program Assessment Jennifer Keene, Undergraduate Coordinator Coordinator Semester Data Collected Spring 2009 Report Submitted by Jennifer Keene Phone/email 895-0239/ firstname.lastname@example.org. Date Submitted August 17, 2011 2. According to your General Education Assessment Plan, what were the planned assessments to be conducted during Spring 2009? You may want to copy and paste from your general education assessment plan. Which outcomes for this How did you measure the What results did you expect? If program were measured? outcomes? the students performed well what would their performance look like, i.e. percentages, means, or comparisons to a national standard? International For each course: For each course: Soc 474, Sociology of • grade distributions • % A and B Religion: demonstrate • student evaluations • qualitative and quantitative understanding of the • instructor assessment of student evaluations reciprocal relations of course progress: • instructor reports positive 1. What kinds of quizzes, tests, and trajectory of student test religion, culture, and society. assignments do you use in your class? What format do you use scores for each of these? • enriched quality of student 2. Over the course of the semester essays and assignments were you able to see students improve their performance on • increase in overall awareness these tests? of international affairs based 3. Comment about the overall on class discussions quality of students’ essays and assignments over the course of the semester. How could you see that they were gaining an enriched understanding of international affairs or multicultural issues? 4. Please comment about whether students had an increased overall awareness of international affairs or multicultural issues over the course of the semester based on your interactions with them in class discussions. Can you give any specific examples of ah-ha moments of student understanding? 3. Results, conclusions, and discoveries. What are the results of the planned assessments listed above? What conclusions or discoveries were made from these results? Describe below or attach to the form. Results, conclusions, and discoveries Results Student Grades In spring 2009 we taught 2 courses that meet the General Education requirements for International courses: SOC 415, World Population Problems SOC 415, and SOC 474, Sociology of Religion. As presented in Table 1, the proportion of students in both classes who earned As and Bs in spring 2009 was substantial (79 percent in 474 and 94 percent in 415). We interpret this strong distribution of As and Bs as a good sign of the effectiveness of our teachers. Table 1. Grade Distributions and Student Evaluations for Multicultural and International General Education Courses in Sociology. Fall Spring 2008 2009 (I) Soc of Religion SOC 474 Percent A & B 74 79 number of sections 1 2 number of students 39 82 student evaluations 3.83 3.56 (I) World Population Problems SOC 415 Percent A & B -- 94 number of sections 1 number of students 33 student evaluations 3.93 Course Evaluations Another indicator of the quality of our instruction is student evaluations of instructors. Beginning with the quantitative portion of the evaluations, in spring 2009, student evaluations of each instructor were very high, 3.56 and 3.93 on a 4 point scale, for Soc 474 and Soc 415, respectively (see Table 1 above). For this semester, the overall mean in the department was 3.58, which means that these two sections scored about the same and also higher than average evaluations from students. In addition, the qualitative evaluations in which students write open- ended comments about the strengths and weaknesses of the course and instructor were overall very positive and strong for each of these sections. Instructor Assessment of Course Progress Soc 474 Sociology of Religion, Spring 2009—International 1. What kinds of quizzes, tests, and assignments do you use in your class? What format do you use for each of these, (e.g. multiple choice, essay, research paper)? In Spring 2009 I administered a multiple choice examination in pre and post test format, testing on questions ranging from focus on theory to specific ethnic and religious traditions. This exam was given in addition to the two essays and two class presentations, and the weekly reading responses (and WebCampus discussion posts). Each student presents his/her research paper and shares sociological findings about particular cultures and traditions. This class engages in collaborative learning, and I usually lecture only the first half of class and leave the second half open for student presentations and further discussions. 2. Over the course of the semester were you able to see students improve their performance on these quizzes/tests/assignments? Based on results from these multiple choice exams as well as my discussions with students during the semester, I noticed that many integrated the information about new cultures. I found that students were more fluent in discussing various traditions, and many did well on the post examination as evidence. 3. Please comment about the overall quality of students’ essays and assignments over the course of the semester. How could you see that they were improving and that they were gaining an enriched understanding of international affairs? We talked about the details of various religions, such as Sufism (a mystical part of Islam.) We discuss race and ethnicity in relation to religious practices, focusing on a reading by Emerson. The class discusses the idea that people worship with members of the same race/ethnicity because religion can reinforce racial/ethnic identity. If people of different backgrounds worship together they may have disagreements over religion, which may lead to religion losing its meaning/reality for them. (We connect this to Emile Durkheim, who thought of religion as a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things binding a community.) 4. Please comment about whether students had an increased overall awareness of international affairs over the course of the semester based on your interactions with them in class discussions. Can you give any specific examples of ah-ha moments of student understanding? One student in particular brought in the DVD to share with the class, while another showed a YouTube Video of various Mosques and synagogues across the world. This semester, one young man attended a religious service in honor of La Santisima Muerte (portrayed as a skeleton) and shared his essay on this with our class. Another wrote an exceptional essay comparing two different Christian services and the morals emphasized to each congregation. We also had many presentations on the Church of Latter Day Saints, and the class asked questions about the status of women in the Mormon church as well as the prevalence of polygamy. In fact, this discussion led to recognition that even our dominant values of monogamy are culturally based. In conclusion, each student had the opportunity to explore a particular cultural tradition and to then share with the class, leading to a climate of tolerance for differing viewpoints as well as an opportunity to discuss many compelling questions about each tradition as a class. Soc 415 World Population Problems, Spring 2009—International 1. What kinds of quizzes, tests, and assignments do you use in your class? What format do you use for each of these, (e.g. multiple choice, essay, research paper)? I use three multiple choice exams. Students who are enrolled at the 600 level are required to submit a traditional research paper in the range of 13-15 pages, or if they have an original idea, the graduate student assignment can be negotiable. 2. Over the course of the semester were you able to see students improve their performance on these quizzes/tests/assignments? Over the semester, I saw definite improvement. The first test had the lowest class average, the second the highest, and the third dipped slightly from the second. In general, students who performed poorly on their final course grade did so because they performed very poorly on the first exam. 3. Please comment about the overall quality of students’ essays and assignments over the course of the semester. How could you see that they were improving and that they were gaining an enriched understanding of international affairs? The students’ understanding of the course material in terms of international issues, can mainly be seen in ways that are not captured in the exam. I know students gained new knowledge and information because in the beginning of the semester it was readily apparent to me that they knew very little about the subject. 4. Please comment about whether students had an increased overall awareness of international affairs over the course of the semester based on your interactions with them in class discussions. Can you give any specific examples of ah-ha moments of student understanding? In Spring 2009, the heightened awareness of and knowledge about international issues was most apparent throughout our class discussions as I watched students gain a general increased awareness that human trafficking exists and touches more lives today than during the Atlantic Slave Trade. I also gathered that they were getting a keen sense of how “irregular migration” actually works as we discussed this issue in class. In this semester, students seemed to be particularly affected such that some even changed majors to become pre-law and work for human rights. Those interested in the global plight of women and children were particularly touched. Conclusions and Discoveries We are drawing on two main types of data as we assess our multicultural and international classes. First, we use “objective” measures of student grades and course evaluations. Second, we rely on instructors’ reports of their teaching practices and students’ evolution over the course of the semester to add an important qualitative component to our understanding of student learning. We are continuing to refine our assessment tools and expect that this will be an ongoing process in our department. Nonetheless, we are glad to find that we appear to be meeting most of our expectations, and that our instructors in these courses in particular are able to give concrete evidence of student learning and even “enlightenment” from their classes about international and multicultural issues. We see positive trends in student grades, instructor evaluations, and high quality teaching and reflection from our instructors in these courses. We recognize however that there is always room for improvement and will continue to push ourselves to provide our students with the highest possible learning experiences about these timely and sensitive issues in our society. 4. Use of Results. What program changes are indicated? How will they be implemented? If none, describe why changes were not needed. The Undergraduate Coordinator is using this information to continue to refine our assessment instruments and assess what kinds of changes need to be made. These assessments provide important data that will allow us to compare outcomes across semesters and providing a clearer picture of student’s progress toward the general education learning outcomes for the multicultural and international requirements. 5. Dissemination of results, conclusions, and discoveries. How and with whom were the results shared? This assessment report will first be provided to our faculty and discussed at the next department meeting. The College of Liberal Arts Associate Dean will also be informed of the results.
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