Submitted Fall, 2003
During the 2002-2003 school year, we had no senior physics/physical science students. No analysis of student performance was done this year. Next year we will have one senior physics student; and the Research Project Measure will be applied.
Two problems that will be addressed in the Assessment of Assessment is that our Direct Measure of this Goal for physics majors is the participation of the student in a NSF summer REU program. The REU program is limited to U.S. citizens and recently has become highly selective.
Because of lack of graduating seniors, we were not able to assess the effectiveness of our Direct and Indirect Assessment Measures. An additional problem that was encountered during the past year because of the University budgetary problems and the threat of Departmental merger or dissolution was that we had two students transfer out of our program.
Nevertheless, the Department has recommended the following changes to our Assessment plan.
- Too many of our Assessment Measures are aimed at junior and senior students. During the past year, the Department has instituted a standardized test for all students completing the first two semesters of our introductory physics courses (PHYS 205, 206, 275, and 276). The test is administered by the Director of Health Science Program who is also responsible for correcting, tabulating and dissemination the results of the exam.
- Because of the citizenship and competitive restrictions of the NSF summer REU program, the Department will make the Physics Research Project an in-house requirement. We will continue to encourage students to apply for REU positions.
The standardized test at the end of the first year introductory physics classes produced the following results.
PHYS 205 Activity Based
Full Year Average 40.7% (16.3/40)
Sample Size: 14
PHYS 206 Lecture/Lab
Full Year Average 45.8% (18.3/40)
Sample Size: 3
PHYS 206 Activity Based
Full Year Average 41.5% (16.6/40)
Sample Size: 13
PHYS 276 Lecture/Lab
Full Year Average 52.3% (20.9/40)
Sample Size: 13
PHYS 276 Activity Based
Full Year Average 46.6% (18.0/40)
Sample Size: 10
The test used was the Columbia Review practice Physics Test that is designed for a 50-minute time limit, and the questions are written in exactly the same format used on the MCAT. Unfortunately, because most actual tests have a "Physical Sciences" section that includes both Chemistry and Physics, we did not have a "national standard" or norm to compare how our students perform against students from other schools. Therefore, this was simply a comparison of our own courses.
At the end of this school year, we will try a different standardized test. The Optometry School Physics test is specifically designed to explore physics competency. We then will be able to compare UNK student performance results against national norms.