Evaluating Learning

Research Paper


A research paper dealing with environmental public policy is required as part of this course. The fourth and final draft of the paper must be at least 15 full pages of text (not including the title page, Abstract section, or References section). The paper must include at least five references that Dr. Stearns has approved. The paper must be prepared using the style recommended by the Modern Language Association (MLA). Consult A Writer's Reference and your WIT for help in structuring each draft. Do not include blank pages or covers for the paper. Do not place the paper in a cover of any kind. Please turn it in stapled. Please save your file on diskette for ease during the rewriting/revision process. Three times during the semester you will meet individually with Dr. Stearns to review drafts of your research paper. To each conference bring a folder containing photocopies of all cited reference materials used for the paper. Dr. Stearns will be looking primarily at (1) substance indicating thorough, carefully considered research; (2) thesis development through clear and logical organization of paragraphs; and (3) mechanics, which includes correct formatting, spelling and grammatical construction, ­evidence of proofreading and editing. He will also evaluate your conceptual understanding of the research during each conference. These conference evaluations will become a part of the overall grade for the research paper, along with an evaluation of the fourth and final draft. Dr. Stearns will be looking for substantial improvement with each draft. Late papers will be docked five points for each day late, calculated as the number of days after the deadline that the paper is turned in and found suitable for evaluation. Note: Your paper will be returned to you unread and docked points if it does not meet the formatting requirements cited earlier. Any additional instructions will be given in class.

Web Page Presentation of the Environmental Public Policy Project


While attending two workshops regarding the setting up of web pages on the Internet, you will create your own web page and post the abstract of your research paper on the web. Your instructors will provide more detailed information in class regarding preparation for this component of the Reflective Tutorial. At the end of the semester, during the Reflective Tutorial final exam period, you will present your research to the campus and community, using your web page as a visual aids. Be prepared to answer questions from the audience.

Reflective Tutorials: Sample Assignments


During the summer before the fall semester begins, the two instructors prepare an information packet that is mailed to the students preregistered for this learning community. Included in the packet are assigned readings that inform the students regarding the environmental/human health issue in Toms River, New Jersey-a major component of the learning community. The packet also includes the assignment of identifying and obtaining biographical profiles and contact information regarding the student's three representative members of Congress (two from the U.S. Senate, one from the U.S. House of Representatives) by accessing www.votesmart.org.

Three formal writing assignments are required during the semester:

(1) a major research paper dealing with environmental public policy (minimum of 15 full pages and four drafts)

The titles of the major research papers are prepared by the instructors before the term begins and are specific enough to provide each student with a sharp focus for his/her research. At the same time, the titles are designed to cover a broad range of environmental policies with minor overlap. From each title, it is clear to the student that (s)he must prepare an original research paper that (s)he understands-not merely compile one-as the paper almost always calls for the student's own recommended changes in U.S. environmental public policy to promote sustainability and human health. An added incentive for conceptual understanding of the research paper is the requirement that a letter containing the essence of this research with the student's recommendations be prepared and mailed to federal representatives and discussed with (usually) the environmental expert on a U.S. senator's staff while the student is in Washington, D.C. as part of this learning community. To help the students with their research, I maintain in my office a personal library of approximately 300 books dealing with environmental issues from different perspectives. The students use that resource by signing out books. At the end of the semester, the student receives a grade of Incomplete if the books are not returned. Although the Incomplete automatically becomes an F by the end of the succeeding semester if the books are not returned by then, that situation has not happened in my six years of teaching this learning community.

Below is a sample list of research topics for the major paper:

Topic 1: The Private and Corporate Use of Public Lands: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health (note: for example, the Healthy Forest Initiative)

Topic 2: The Use of Agricultural Lands: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 3: Drinking Water: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 4: Marine Fisheries: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 5: Hazardous Waste Disposal: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 6: The Nuclear Power Industry and Its Polluting Byproducts: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 7: The Coal Industry and its Polluting Byproducts: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 8: The Automotive Industry and Its Polluting Byproducts: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 9: The Petroleum/Natural Gas Industry and Its Polluting Byproducts: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 10: Wind Power as a Renewable Energy Resource: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 11: Solar Energy as an Energy Resource: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 12: Hydropower as a Renewable Energy Resource: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 13: Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Global Climate Change: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 14: The Introduction of Synthetic Chemicals into the Environment: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 15: Fuel Cell Technology: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 16: Chemical Destruction of Stratospheric Ozone: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 17: Species and Ecosystem Protection: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health (note: e.g., the Critical Habitat Program of the Endangered Species Act)

Topic 18: The Use of Drugs on Livestock: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 19: Genetically Engineered Foods: U.S. Environmental Public Policy and Recommended Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health

Topic 20: Campaign Financing by Individuals and Special Interest Groups: U.S. Law and Recommended Policy Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health for All Citizens

Topic 21: Media, the Public Relations Industry, and the Shaping of Public Opinion: U.S. Law and Recommended Policy Changes to Promote Sustainability and Human Health for All Citizens

Topic 22: In What Ways Might Environmental Innovations be Stopped in Their Tracks or Allowed to Transform Society?

Topic 23: Economic Systems in an Era of Limited Resources

Topic 24: The Comparative Influence of the Individual Citizens and Special Interest Groups in the Shaping of the Present Administration's U.S. Environmental Public Policies

Topic 25: The Environmental Record of the George W. Bush Administration: the Pros and Cons of Policy Initiatives, Bills Signed into Law, and Executive Decisions

(2) a short paper dealing with multilogical problems, using The Toms River Project as a case study (minimum of four full pages and two drafts).

To enhance the development of critical thinking skills, each student is assigned to explore and develop a paper based on the multiple frames of reference of The Toms River Project, an environmental/human health/corporate issue. The assignment is to consider the points of view of the victims and their families, corporations, scientists, and government officials, accurately summarize the various positions taken by the parties involved, then persuasively present one's own perspective, arguing one's position. The argument must be backed up by the student's notes from presentations and responses to questions during the trips associated with The Toms River Project, as well as the discussions in Reflective Tutorial.

(3) a letter to members of Congress stating the student's position regarding an aspect of environmental public policy, with evidence supporting that position (minimum of one full page and two drafts)

This assignment requires each student to decide a personal view regarding an environmental issue, use his/her research from the major research paper to support that view and make recommendations for changes in U.S. policy that enhance sustainability and human health, concisely present that view and proposed recommendations in a letter to his/her representative members of Congress, and be prepared to discuss the letter with a representative U.S. senator or the environmental expert on that senator's staff during a trip to Washington, D.C. The letter thus requires the student to think critically regarding proposed legislative changes. It also requires the student to think about and understand the research (s)he has been doing with regards to the major research paper.

During a three-hour workshop on webpage design, each student creates his/her own web page, which includes the title and abstract of the major research paper, as well as student contact information for those wishing more information. During the three-hour final exam period for Reflective Tutorial, the students give presentations of their research, each displaying his/her web page on a screen, summarizing the research paper, and addressing questions from the audience. The purposes of this assignment are to enhance the development of college-level communication skills and to provide an environment in which the student can experience a sense of empowerment as (s)he is turned to as the "expert" regarding the researched topic.

During the semester, students are also assigned specific study topics designed to enhance understanding of environmental issues and critical thinking. Their responses are recorded in journal entries and/or critical thinking logs. The general goal of journal writing is to encourage an introspective awareness without lapsing into personal matters that would be more appropriate for a diary. While each journal entry is not graded, there is a subjective assessment of overall effort and general improvement with time, and that evaluation becomes part of the active participation grade, which is 25 percent of the final course grade. Below is the semester's assignment for each student's critical thinking log (adapted from Dr. Carol Giancarlo/Dr. Peter Facione Critical Thinking as Reasoned Judgment):

Critical Thinking Log


WHY
: Good thinking can be found in many people, even those who have not had the benefit of formal education. In some cases, its absence, even in those who have received many years of schooling or "scripted training," is why people fail to mature as thinkers, and why their reasoning, regardless of their social status, leaves much to be desired. Rather than mindlessly repeating one's own errors of reasoning, or being misled by the errors of others, this exercise will help us to attempt, through self-correction, alone or with the help of others, to reflect on our own thinking. By applying critical thinking skills to the products of one's own and others' critical thinking-namely the judgments formed-one is able to analyze, interpret, explain, and evaluate thinking by standards of good reasoning. We will trace the reasons given for judgments and opinions to improve our own thinking.

WHAT: Using sheets of blank printer paper stapled together (you can recycle used sheets), keep a legibly handwritten weekly log. Write in pen. Keep notes in this informal log book as needed, jotting down the date and time of every entry. Feel free to make pictures, symbols, or diagrams if helpful in organizing ideas. Cross out things as you see fit, but do not erase anything. You'll be keeping a record of the process and progress of your own interpretations, analyses, inferences, evaluations, and explanations of your own and other people's critical thinking, in sketchy ways, in these preliminary notes and drawings. Since this log is about reflecting on thinking, these preliminary writings are valuable markers against which you can evaluate the progress and development of your own reasoning. Each week, when your thinking about your own or other people's thinking becomes more developed, compose a final paragraph for that week on lined college-ruled notebook paper. The week's final paragraph must include your reflection and evaluation of the thinking involved in addition to the date and description of events or circumstances.

HOW: Your log book should contain daily reflections on your own thinking, and that of others, about serious and significant subjects such as those raised in the Paul and Elder textbook (Paul, Richard and Linda Elder. Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001). For example, think of an important problem in your or a friend or relative's life, a personal or work relationship problem, or a problem related to such issues as race, sexual orientation, smoking, alcohol or drug use, economic conditions, war and peace, the environment, pornography, or the quality of your education or newsgathering, then reflect on it clearly. Trace your own reflections weekly. Each week's final long paragraph must relate to a striking experience with regard to your own thinking critically about your own or someone else's thinking on one of these serious subjects. What is striking for you might not be striking for someone else. It is YOUR experience and YOUR reflection that this log is intended to record. Regrettable though it may be, the most fruitful learning experiences are often the negative ones. In responding to the week's question you should first strive to find experiences of weak, poor, flawed, fallacious, uncritical, or erroneous thinking in yourself or others. On the other hand, since it takes some familiarity with quality to appreciate and to seek excellence, some of the entries in the log must also be about strong, correct, high quality experiences that are striking to you because of how good the critical thinking was. The final paragraph for each week must include your own evaluation (with supporting reasoning) of the quality of thinking being discussed.

Questions for Each Week


In your final paragraph draw conclusions on the weekly question (in relation to some significant topic), as well as on everything else you reflected upon that week.

10/16: What else should we consider? (Ask someone who agrees with you.)
10/21: What does making that decision imply? (Ask yourself.)
11/6: What evidence would disprove our view? (Ask yourself.)
11/18: Seriously, how good is the evidence for that? (Ask anyone, not yourself.)
12/2: Why do you think that? (Ask another student who is not in this course.)

Each week you will hand in both your stapled log book as well as a final long paragraph, on notebook paper, showing evidence of your reasoned contemplation of the quality of the thinking you've encountered that week. Come prepared to briefly discuss the results.

Environmental Biology: Sample Assignments

For this course, the students receive a 150-page outline of lecture notes prepared by the instructor from approximately 30 sources. These lecture notes comprise the main lecture components. A major assignment is a thorough understanding of the fundamental concepts presented in those notes. The textbook serves as supplementary material that the students refer to for a more in-depth understanding of the subject matter. There are an additional nine assigned readings, nine assigned videos, and one assigned audiotape. During the semester, the students complete five exams in this course (three lecture exams, two lab exams). The exams are specifically designed to test for conceptual understanding as well as basic science knowledge.

Literature and the Environment: Sample Assignments

For this course there are two analytical papers that are required, one on Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People and the other on Rick Bass's novella, The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness. In addition, there is class writing, both creative and expository, in the form of impromptu assignments and quizzes as well as written homework assignments. Readings and discussion of the readings form a critical component of the course. In addition to four books, there are 11 required readings and four assigned films.

Sample Assignments


Sample Assignments (Text File 12kB Jul14 08)

Evaluation and Assessment Strategies


The SALG Instrument

At the end of the semester, the learning community is evaluated using a tailored, online assessment survey called SALG (Student Assessment of Learning Gains). Included in the assessment tool are questions designed to determine if SENCER objectives have been met. The SALG instruments and complete results for fall semesters, 2002 and 2003 (five-point scale with 1 the worst category, 3 the middle category, and 5 the best category) can be obtained by contacting Don Stearns at dstearns@wagner.edu. The fall, 2002 results regarding specifically SENCER-related questions are shown below:

Critical Thinking

- How much did the critical thinking logs help your learning in this learning community? (average = 2.52, standard deviation = 1.28)

- How much has this learning community added to your skills in critical thinking? (average = .35, standard deviation = 1.2)

- How much has this learning community added to your skills in critically reviewing proposed national legislation? (average = 3.65, standard deviation = 0.91)

- As a result of this learning community, to what extent did you make gains in your ability to think through a problem or argument? (average = 3.48, standard deviation = 0.88)

- How much of the following do you think you will remember and carry with you into other classes or aspects of your life: understanding of how rarely reason plays a role in forming opinions and in decision making? (average = 4.17, standard deviation = 0.82)

- How much of the following do you think you will remember and carry with you into other classes or aspects of your life: understanding the importance of drawing reasoned conclusions after considering alternative points of view? (average = 4, standard deviation = .85)

Understanding of Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning

- To what extent did you make gains, as a result of what you did in this learning community, in understanding the general scientific method of observation and testing of possible explanations for a discovered pattern in nature, such as a cancer cluster? (average = 3.78, standard deviation = 0.98)

Development of a Basic Scientific Knowledge Base

- As a result of your work in this learning community, how well do you think that you now understand the fragility of the biosphere and of life itself? (average = 4.17, standard deviation = 0.7, n = 23 responses)

- As a result of your work in this learning community, how well do you think that you now understand exponential growth, overconsumption, and consequences of exceeding the carrying capacity? (average = 4.22, standard deviation = 0.88, n = 23 responses)

- As a result of your work in this learning community, how well do you think that you now understand human impacts on the environment? (average = 4.35, standard deviation = 0.7, n = 23 responses)

- How much has this learning community added to your skills in mastering an important aspect of a major issue (pollution and human health)? (average = 4, standard deviation = 0.83, n = 23 responses)

- To what extent did you make gains in confidence in your ability to do environmental science as a result of what you did in this learning community? (average = 3.64, standard deviation = 0.83, n = 22 responses)

Conceptual Learning

- How much did oral lecture exams in Environmental Biology help your learning in this learning community? (average = 3.43, standard deviation = 1.25, n = 23 responses)

- How much was your learning enhanced by the information you were given about how parts of the class work, class discussions, labs, readings, videos, field trips, and assignments related to each other? (average = 3.96, standard deviation = 0.86, n = 23 responses) As a result of your work in this learning community, how well do you think that you now understand the connectedness of humans to nature? (average = 4.04, standard deviation = 0.95, n = 23 responses)

- To what extent did you make gains in understanding the main concepts as a result of what you did in this learning community? (average = 3.7, standard deviation = 0.8, n = 23 responses)

- To what extent did you make gains in understanding the relationship between concepts as a result of what you did in this learning community? (average = 3.61, standard deviation = 0.87, n = 23 responses)

o How much of the following do you think you will remember and carry with you into other classes or aspects of your life: gaining a better understanding of today's environmental issues? (average = 4.22, standard deviation = 1.02, n = 23 responses)

Understanding the Usefulness and Limits of Science

- To what extent did you make gains, as a result of what you did in this learning community, in understanding the relevance of environmental science to real world issues? (average = 4.17, standard deviation = 0.76, n = 23 responses)

- To what extent did you make gains, as a result of what you did in this learning community, in appreciating environmental science? (average = 3.87, standard deviation = 1.12, n = 23 responses)

- How much of the following do you think you will remember and carry with you into other classes or aspects of your life: the importance of science to the understanding of social issues necessary to take right action? (average = 4.09, standard deviation = 0.78, n = 23 responses)

- How much of the following do you think you will remember and carry with you into other classes or aspects of your life: the power of science in addressing large, complex, contested, and unresolved public issues? (average = 3.96, standard deviation = 0.86, n = 23 responses)

- How much of the following do you think you will remember and carry with you into other classes or aspects of your life: the limits of science in answering large, complex, contested, and unresolved public issues? (average = 3.87, standard deviation = 0.8, n = 23 responses)

Development of a Sense of Civic Engagement


-How much did the following aspect of the learning community help your learning: the letter to members of Congress (for learning more about civic engagement)? (average = 3.27, standard deviation = 1.09, n = 23 responses)

-How much of the following do you think you will remember and carry with you into other classes or aspects of your life: understanding the importance of taking informed action as a concerned citizen? (average = 4.13, standard deviation = 0.8, n = 23 responses)

In general, the fall, 2002 students gave themselves high marks regarding SENCER objectives. Similar results were obtained during fall, 2003.

Of the 12 class activities included in the fall, 2002 SALG, only the Park Slope Food Coop experience and the presentations given on the college campus outside the classroom received average scores less than 3 (averages = 2.81 and 2.94, respectively), indicating a need for improvement. The presentations outside of class were optional and only approximately 20 percent of the students attended them, yet 70 percent responded to the question, leaving that result in dispute. The students that the quality of contact with members of the Park Slope Food Coop did not help their learning very much (average = 2.32). To improve the learning gains resulting from the Park Slope Food Coop, arrangements were made to ensure that each student work not in isolation, but with a member of the food coop, to enhance the student's exposure to environmentalists and concerned consumers. As a result, the same question received a higher average response during the fall of 2003 (average = 3.09). While the fall, 2002 trip to Washington, D.C. received high marks (average = 3.79) as an activity that enhanced student learning, the instructors modified the experience for fall, 2003, by including exposure to a special interest group dealing with environmental issues, in addition to the individual meetings with members of Congress or their environmental experts. Consequently, the fall, 2003 trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congressional staff members received an average of 3.90; the fall, 2003 trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with a special interest group representative received an average student response of 3.36.

The fall, 2002 critical thinking logs did not appear to work well in helping student learning by enhancing critical thinking (average = 2.52). In part, this activity was not as well shaped as it could have been. Students were asked to question their friends when they expressed opinions, with particular questions designed to encourage critical thinking. While the students learned how rarely reason plays a role in forming opinions and in decision making (average = 4.17), they felt uncomfortable going through the weekly exercise; some students even claimed that the activity strained relationships. For the fall, 2003 semester, the critical thinking logs were introduced near the end of the term, after the students had considerable practice evaluating reasoning. The instructors also rewrote the instructions and cut the number of critical thinking assignments from nine to the three most incisive ones. The fall, 2003 results (average = 2.86) showed some improvement relative to fall, 2002; however, this aspect of the learning community still falls below desired student outcomes.

Learning Community and Experiential Learning Surveys


In fall, 2002, as part of a SENCER/Wagner College-funded project, attention was focused on incorporating additional SENCER elements into this learning community. Using a learning community survey and an experiential learning survey developed by Julia Barchitta, Senior Dean of Wagner College's Career Development and Experiential Learning, this learning community in fall, 2001 (before the SENCER project) was compared with the further "SENCERized" learning community in fall, 2002. These survey tools also allowed a comparison between this learning community and the college's pooled learning communities in 2001 and in. Included were three specifically SENCER-related questions. The results (fivepoint scale with 1 the best category, 3 the middle category, and 5 the worst category) are shown below. Note that, in these surveys, the lower the average score, the better-the opposite of the SALG scale.

-My community experience made the class material more meaningful. (pre-SENCER learning community in 2001: average = 1.92, standard deviation = 1.04, n = 13 responses; pooled learning communities in 2001: 2.65, standard deviation = 1.27, n = 373 responses; post-SENCER learning community in 2002: average = 1.73, standard deviation = 1.12, n = 22 responses; pooled learning communities in 2002: average = 2.54, standard deviation = 1.21, n = 409 responses)

-This experience has improved my problem solving ability. (pre-SENCER learning community in 2001: average = 2.69, standard deviation = 1.38, n = 13 responses; pooled learning communities in 2001: average = 2.90, standard deviation = 1.20, n = 369 responses; post-SENCER learning community in 2002: average = 2.30, standard deviation = 1.06, n = 23 responses; pooled learning communities in 2002: average = 2.82, standard deviation = 1.11, n= 411 responses)

- This experience has increased my understanding of civic responsibility. (pre-SENCER learning community in 2001: average = 2.23, standard deviation = 1.09, n = 13 responses; pooled learning communities in 2001: average = 2.41, standard deviation = 1.15, n = 365 responses; post-SENCER learning community in 2002: average = 1.87, standard deviation = 1.10, n = 23 responses; pooled learning communities in 2002: average = 2.26, standard deviation = 1.09, n = 403 responses)

For all three SENCER-related statements, this learning community showed improved post-SENCER scores in fall, 2002 compared with pre-SENCER scores in fall, 2001, indicating that the inclusion of new SENCER elements that had not previously been part of the learning community improved educational relevancy, problem solving, and understanding of civic responsibility. When compared with the pooled survey results from all the learning communities, this learning community showed better average scores for all three SENCER related statements both in 2001 and in 2002.

Wagner College Student Evaluation of Teaching Form


Of less value in assessing whether or not the desired learning goals have been reached is the standard, untailored student course evaluation at the end of each semester, required for all courses at Wagner College. The form is a survey instrument (1 = strongly agree to 3 = neutral to 5 = strongly disagree) with the following statements:

1. I have increased my knowledge of the subject matter.
2. I have increased my ability to think critically.
3. I found that the assignments helped the learning process.
4. I found that the tests helped the learning process.
5. I have become more self-confident as an independent thinker as a result of the course.
6. After this course, I am better able to understand how the subject is related to other subject areas.
7. I have improved my communication skills (written or oral).
8. I spend as many hours (or more) out of class preparing for this course as I do in class.
9. I would describe this course as academically challenging for me.
10. My own efforts in the course matched or exceeded the professor's expectation.
11. I was well prepared for class, having met daily reading/writing/lab deadlines.
12. I participated actively in class discussions.
13. The instructor stimulated my interest in the subject.
14. The instructor expressed interest in and concern for the student's learning experience.
15. The instructor created an atmosphere that permitted active student participation in the course.
16. The instructor communicated the subject matter clearly to the students.
17. The instructor set high standards for the students to meet.
18. The instructor appeared to be well prepared.
19. The comments that I received from the instructor were helpful.

Regarding Environmental Biology, for all 19 statements, including the possibly SENCER related ones (statements 1, 2, 5, 6), no marked differences were found between the average student responses for fall, 2001 (before the SENCER project) compared with fall, 2002 (after the SENCER project). For the SENCER-related statements, the average student responses ranged from 1.45 to 1.90 in fall, 2001, and from 1.43 to 2.10 in fall, 2002. Regarding Reflective Tutorial, a similar pattern emerges: no marked differences were found between fall, 2001 and fall, 2002. For the SENCER-related statements, the average student responses ranged from 1.50 to 1.83 in fall, 2001, and from 1.70 to 2.00 in fall, 2002.

While it is clear from the learning community and experiential learning surveys that the inclusion of new SENCER elements that had not previously been part of the learning community improved educational relevancy, problem solving, and understanding of civic responsibility, the student evaluation of teaching form does not reflect such marked improvement: the scores are by and large excellent during both years. Unlike the student evaluation of teaching form, which is used to survey each course individually, the learning community and experiential learning surveys are used to assess the learning community as an integrated package. The SALG assessment tools are also tailored to address the learning community as a whole. These last three surveys are therefore more accurate estimators of success in achieving SENCER ideals, compared with the generic course evaluation form.