ERIC Number: ED365407
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
The Senior Coordinating Seminar As a Vehicle for Assessment of the Major.
Cunningham, Paul F.
A capstone course, entitled "Coordinating Seminar," has been developed at Rivier College, a small Roman Catholic liberal arts college in New England, as a vehicle for assessment in the Psychology Department. Assessment has been defined by Rivier College as a collegewide effort to document and verify the amount and quality of educational change in the students between the point of entry and point of completing an academic unit or sequence. To assess the degree to which psychology objectives were being achieved by students, the Coordinating Seminar reviews and coordinates the information about psychology that students have acquired throughout their undergraduate experience, while also focusing on career opportunities, graduate school preparation, and controversial issues in the field. Students are administered 13 weekly take-home and in-class tests based on chapters in the psychology text. Their final examination is an actual 1982-83 Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Psychology Achievement Test. Use of the GRE allows individual student scores to be analyzed to identify content domains in which students do well or poorly. Upon discovering that students did well on social-science-oriented questions, but not as well on experimental or natural-science-oriented questions, the department began to offer courses in cognitive psychology, history and systems, and physiological psychology on alternate years. A capstone course for psychology majors can be an effective vehicle for assessing departmental and institutional goals, but identifying areas of the psychology curriculum in which students are strongest and weakest. Includes a review of selected highlights in the history of assessment in higher education and psychology, a model of curriculum reform, a discussion of how various departments at Rivier College have initiated and strengthened program evaluation through classroom assessment, and course materials for the Coordinating Seminar. (AC)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Teaching of Psychology: Ideas and Innovations. Proceedings of the Annual Conference on Undergraduate Teaching of Psychology (7th, Ellenville, New York, March 24-26, 1993); see JC 940 159.