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ERIC Number: EJ861442
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1551-2169
What We Learned about Our Assessment Program that Has Nothing to Do with Student Learning Outcomes
Cole, Alexandra; De Maio, Jennifer
Journal of Political Science Education, v5 n4 p294-314 2009
The various assessment methods available to Political Science Departments each have their pros and cons. Standardized tests may be seen as an efficient and a less labor-intensive way to collect data on student-learning outcomes (SLOs), but these lack contextual information. Exit interviews and works collected from capstone courses may provide context in terms of SLO knowledge but not offer information about the development of this knowledge. Portfolios may provide information about the development of SLO knowledge but may often represent the students' "best" work and thus impart bias. This paper will describe a labor-intensive type of assessment, Progressive Direct Assessment (PDA), in which data is collected from students in courses at each level of work (i.e., lower division to upper division) in order to measure the progression of SLO knowledge across the Political Science major. While the implementation of this plan provided insights about the development of SLOs, it also provided knowledge about aspects of the learning process that would not readily be uncovered by the other, aforementioned methods of program assessment such as: plagiarism among students, writing skills, and the effect that clear instructions have on student work. More importantly, the authors discovered that faculty attitudes toward assessment are inherently negative. Although PDA is admittedly labor intensive, a survey of faculty members in the department displayed positive attitudes and acceptance of the program, suggesting that faculty reluctance need not be a barrier to implementing assessment programs. (Contains 2 tables, 1 figure, and 18 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A