Program Assessment & Review
These webpages were written by Carol Ormand, based in part on ideas compiled from the 2009 workshop on Assessing Geoscience Programs.
Just as an effective research program grows from a carefully thought out research plan, an effective assessment process begins with effective planning. What is your program trying to achieve, and how will you know if it is successful? What data do you need to collect to measure your success? How will you collect those data? Browse our collection of assessment planning documents from other geoscience programs and other resources on planning your program assessment.
When you have articulated the goals and objectives of your program, it's time to think about how, exactly, you will measure your success. For this, you'll need to develop an instrument or group of instruments for collecting the necessary data. Our collection of assessment instruments from other geoscience programs, and other resources, can save you the work of reinventing the wheel.
Accreditation is a complicated issue with many pros and cons. We invite you to participate in a community discussion of this topic, educate yourself about accreditation in related disciplines, and read the results of a 2008 survey of geoscience professionals.
- The Instructional Assessment Resources: Program Evaluation website, from the University of Texas at Austin, includes a comprehensive set of pages on evaluating programs. From planning your evaluation through collecting and reporting your data, this site offers step-by-step suggestions, worksheets, and examples.
- The Assessment Resources web page from the Association of American Colleges and Universities links to a plethora of publications, including several how-to guides.
- Engaging Departments: Assessing Student Learning, the winter, 2010 edition of AAC&U's Peer Review, explores how departments are developing assessment approaches that deepen student learning. It includes links to several online articles, such as Engaging Departments in Assessing Student Learning: Overcoming Common Obstacles and Developing the Framework for Assessing a New Core Curriculum at Siena College.
References and Additional Readings
- Assessing How Students Learn from the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List
This article emphasizes the importance of assessing how your students are learning. What strategies are your successful (and unsuccessful) students using?
- Drummond, 2001. Ten Principles of Geoscience Departments, Part 1 , Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 49, n. 2, p. 108.
This column by the editor is the first of a two-part exploration of ten common principles among geoscience departments. It is intended as a conceptual framework that departments can use to think strategically about the strength of their academic and administrative positioning on their campus. This first part deals with five academic issues.
- Drummond, 2001. Ten Principles of Geoscience Departments, Part 2 , Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 49, n. 3, p. 224.
This column by the editor is the second of a two-part exploration of ten common principles among geoscience departments. It is intended as a conceptual framework that departments can use to think strategically about the strength of their academic and administrative positioning on their campus. This installment deals with five administrative issues.
- Drummond and Markin, 2008. An Analysis of the Bachelor of Science in Geology Degree as Offered in the United States, Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 56, n. 2, p. 113-119.
This analysis of degree programs in the U.S. provides departments undergoing program review a basis for comparison with other institutions and national norms.
- Kastens et al., 2009. How Geoscientists Think and Learn, Eos, Transactions, v. 90, n. 31, p. 265-266.
This short article summarizes four ways in which expertise in geoscience requires specific thinking patterns or skills: understanding geologic time scales, the Earth as a complex system, learning in the field, and spatial thinking.
- Malik and Lees, The Accountability Movement: Its Role, Opportunities, and Meaning for Chairs
This posting, from the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List, discusses the growing demand for accountability in higher education and how departments can proactively address that demand.
- Manduca and Mogk, eds., 2006. Earth and Mind: How Geologists Think and Learn about the Earth .
This book explores what is required in developing expertise as a geoscientist and the implications for student learning.
- Wergin, Jon F., 2002. Departments that Work: Building and Sustaining Cultures of Excellence in Academic Programs
This book focuses on how academic programs can make evaluation more useful and critical reflection more likely.