Initial Publication Date: April 13, 2015

Program Metrics & Instruments

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.

Geoscience Program Assessment Instruments

This collection of geoscience program assessment instruments includes alumni surveys, student surveys and exit interviews, other surveys, course evaluations, rubrics, portfolios, exams, and other instruments from geoscience departments across the U.S. Each specific instrument within the collection includes information on the original design, use and impact of the instrument.

Questionnaire to measure indicators for recruitment/retention in geoscience careers

The American Institutes for Research has developed an assessment instrument designed to measure changes in attitudes and behaviors related to enhanced likelihood of students remaining in the geosciences career pipeline. It can be used to measure the effectiveness of an individual workshop, course, career fair, or other activity intended to enhance geoscience career choice.

Online Survey Tools

If you are thinking about designing a student or alumni survey as part of your program assessment toolkit, you may want to consider using an online survey tool.

AGI's Guide to Geoscience Departments

The American Geosciences Institute's Guide to Geoscience Departments provides some metrics you can use to compare your department to departments at peer institutions.

References and Additional Readings

  • American Association of Colleges and Universities, College Learning for the New Global Century
    This report, from the National Leadership Council for Liberal Education & America's Promise, spells out the Council's opinions on the essential aims, learning outcomes, and guiding principles for a twenty-first-century college education. It reports on the promises they believe American society needs to make—and keep—to all who seek a college education and to the society that will depend on graduates' future leadership and capabilities.
  • American Association of Colleges and Universities, Our Students' Best Work
    This statement, framed and approved by the AAC&U Board of Directors, is designed to help campuses respond to calls for greater accountability in ways that strengthen as well as document the quality of student learning in college.
  • Berheide, Doing Less Work, Collecting Better Data: Using Capstone Courses to Assess Learning
    This posting, from the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List, asserts that using capstone courses to assess student learning is easier and more effective than other options.
  • Carey, Measuring What Matters ( This site may be offline. )  
    This Washington Monthly article describes the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Community College Survey of Student Engagement. These surveys ask students about workloads for their courses (as a measure of faculty expectations), student collaboration, and student engagement in the learning process - three factors that research demonstrates have profound impact on student learning.
  • 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.
  • Miller and Leskes, 2005. Levels of Assessment: From the Student to the Institution, AAC&U Publications 
    This paper describes five levels of complexity in assessment at the college level, from assessing individual student learning up to assessing the institution. It provides guidance on the assessment process and the uses of different assessment methods. The premise of the paper is that direct measures of student learning can be used for multiple levels of assessment and that the ways of sampling, aggregating, and grouping data depend on the original questions posed.
  • Miller and Morgaine, 2009. The Benefits of E-portfolios for Students and Faculty in Their Own Words
    This posting, from the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List, looks at the benefits of E-portfolios as seen from both student and faculty perspectives.
  • National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), College Science Teachers Guide to Assessment 
    This book is a quick reference on assessing student learning. It covers general assessment topics (such as validation of survey instruments) and traditional and alternative assessment techniques in both science and science education classrooms. It also includes a series of how-to assessment practices that have been successfully utilized in the field, with practical tips to enhance assessment in the college science classroom.
  • Rodgers, 2008. The Online Course Assessment Gap 
    This posting, from the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List, describes Southeast Missouri State University's approach to assessing learning in online courses via a generalized rubric. They found that using a rubric not specific to a course or discipline offered many advantages.
  • Williams, Warner, and Warner, 2004. Subject-Area Knowledge Measured by Scores on the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) Fundamentals Examination and the Implications for Academic Preparation: Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 52, n. 4, p. 374-378. 
    The National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) has administered approximately fifty-one hundred examinations for the licensing of geologists since the initial examination offering in 1992. From an analysis of scores in each subject area, the authors conclude that candidates are doing poorer in those subject areas traditionally believed to be the fundamental to an undergraduate geology education (including mineralogy, petrology, and sedimentology).