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ERIC Number: EJ765183
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Nov
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Implementing Assessment and Improving Undergraduate Writing: One Department's Experience
Olwell, Russell; Delph, Ronald
History Teacher, v38 n1 p21-34 Nov 2004
History departments are not generally known as hotbeds of assessment activity. Doctoral programs in history rarely touch the issue of how to assess student learning, while program review as an idea appears to many historians as an invasion of their turf by outsiders. At Eastern Michigan University, members of the faculty in the Department of History and Philosophy have worked to turn the process of assessment into a tool for improving the critical thinking, research, and writing abilities of students in the history program. For the past three years, the department has completed an annual review of papers produced in its research and writing methods class, History 300. As a result of this ongoing process of assessment, faculty who have taught this class have made a number of changes to their assignments in order to insure that students leaving the class have the necessary tools to research and write a solid historical research paper. In this article, the authors describe this assessment project which focused on History 300. The authors conclude that one of the frustrations of assessment efforts is that they do not always yield clear outcomes. One of the key findings of all their assessment activities was that despite all their efforts, student papers could vary greatly from year to year. Differences in student quality and effort from year to year make attempts to "grade" their improvement almost impossible. On a more positive note, a survey showed that 100 percent of the students leaving their department to enter secondary history teaching reported that their department's efforts to teach research and writing served as a model for their own future teaching. (Contains 6 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan