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Date Received Spring 2009 Semester Assessment Report Form DUE October 30 2009 Directions Please complete a form for each of the p

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Date Received Spring 2009 Semester Assessment Report Form DUE October 30 2009 Directions Please complete a form for each of the p Powered By Docstoc
					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: angelina.hill@unlv.edu
              ***Please submit the report electronically to angelina.hill@unlv.edu

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/ jkeene@unlv.nevada.edu.
         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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