UNK Department of Political Science
General Studies Course Assessment Plan
Revised: May 2007
PSCI 110, Introduction to American Politics
PSCI 140, Introduction to Comparative Politics
PSCI 168, Introduction to International Relations
PSCI 170, Introduction to Political Thought
Political Science has four General Studies courses, and we plan to assess student outcomes on a semester rotation. All sections by all instructors of that course will be assessed in the designated semester, so that each course will have data collected every other year. For schedule, see chart below.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES BEING ASSESSED
Courses offered within the General Studies Program are designed to develop and demonstrate students’ abilities to:
||Locate and gather information
||Think critically and analytically
||Communicate effectively in speech and writing
||Understand the experiences and values of groups and cultures that have been historically underrepresented
Political Science courses offered within the General Studies Program are options within the category of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Courses within the Social and Behavioral Sciences category are required to have the following objectives:
||Demostrate an understanding of human experiences and be able to relate them to the present
||Demonstrate the ability to understand the application of the empirical research methods used in the social sciences to understanding individual behavior as well as the interrelationships among people
||Demonstrate the ability to comprehend how social scientific concepts originate, are validated and refined within a variety of social science disciplines
||Demonstrate the ability to evaluate the strengths and limitations of the social sciences and the explanations they offer for contemporary life
Combining these two sets of objectives, the Department of Political Science has compiled a list of seven objectives that relate these general or categorical objectives to our discipline:
- Students can locate and gather relevant information (GS1)
- Students can think critically and analytically about course content (GS2, SS1)
- Students can communicate effectively in speech and writing (GS3)
- Students understand experiences and/or values of under-represented groups and cultures (GS4)
- Students understand significant empirical political phenomena (SS1, SS2)
- Students understand the normative foundations of political science (SS3)
- Students can make reasoned judgments about political/policy issues (SS1, SS4)
DATA TO BE COLLECTED
Each instructor will be responsible for collecting data from his/her sections in the designated semester and reporting aggregate results to the department’s assessment coordinator.
If a particular objective does not apply to a particular course/section in the designated semester, this information will also be reported to the assessment coordinator.
For each objective, the instructor will identify one or more specific assignments/exam questions that measure student outcomes. The instructor will then collect data of student performance on those assignments/exam questions and report aggregate results, i.e., mean and median for each indicator for each section (as well as the scale on which each indicator was graded).
Because most instructors vary the assignments and topics from semester to semester and assignments/topics also vary among instructors for different sections of each course, it would be impossible to identify the specific indicators of student outcomes that will be used to assess each GS course in each designated semester. But to illustrate, below is a more detailed description of data to be collected, using Joan Blauwkamp’s PSCI 170 (Spring 2005) sections:
||Microtheme identifying current problems with US economy
||Microtheme making argument for/against Blue State revolution
||Any revised microtheme – revision as part of WI designation
||Microtheme examining affirmative action in college admissions
||Exam questions on ideas of key theorists: Locke, Mill, Marx, etc.
||Microtheme discussing trends in US voter turnout & solutions
|Reason about issues/policy
||Microtheme taking position on Lawrence v. Texas ruling
In addition, instructors may elect to collect and report data on students’ perceptions of their performance on one or more objectives. A survey instrument for collecting data on student perceptions of performance is included.
Data collected from assessment of GS courses will be reported to the General Studies Council every October 1. It will also be reported to the faculty at department meetings and discussed to identify areas of improvement.
Previous Plan, Replaced Fall 2007