Initial Publication Date: April 13, 2015

Annual Exam to Evaluate Student Progress

From the Geoscience Department at Winona State University


We designed this instrument to assess student progress toward departmental learning goals. There are three files associated with this instrument: Part I - rock identification and interpretation; Part II - geologic interpretation; Part III - lunar map images that are referred to in Part II, Section D.


The exam was given to all majors and minors (undergraduate program only) annually in February. It was given in paper format, with hand samples and maps available as needed for particular questions.

Use of the Data

We designed this instrument with the intent to monitor student growth as they progressed through the curriculum. The questions were written in a way that we believed all students could demonstrate some learning, and that more advanced students would perform at a higher level.


After administering this exam for three consecutive years, we have abandoned this approach. Our primary reason for dropping it was that, because it was ungraded, students did not take it seriously. Although more advanced students did better than introductory students, their performance plateaued early. Student interviews revealed that they didn't take it seriously and that we would do better to integrate this sort of approach directly into required classes.


Download Part I of III in the Assessment Exam Instrument (Acrobat (PDF) 467kB Feb10 09) Part II of III in the Assessment Exam Instrument (Acrobat (PDF) 441kB Feb10 09) Part III of III in the Assessment Exam Instrument (Acrobat (PDF) 10.1MB Feb10 09)