Initial Publication Date: February 26, 2009

Lessons Learned and Next Steps

This page is a brief summary of the final discussion at the 2009 workshop on Assessing Geoscience Programs.

Lessons Learned

  • Start small, keep it simple, and build on what you already do
  • It's not as hard as you think
  • Communicate with your colleagues, administration, and students
  • There are more resources out there than you think
  • Define terms, establish common language
  • Be clear about what you are trying to assess/evaluate/learn
  • Start from your goals
  • Know what is expected of you
  • Align the departmental review process with the assessment of student learning
  • There are a variety of ways to obtain the needed assessment information
  • Know your audience
  • Complete the loop – make sure participants see final results and use the results
  • This is an ongoing process – continuous improvement
  • Don't give up
  • Don't work alone
  • This process of evaluation and modification is a helpful tool tested in other parts of society
  • The skills from geology research are very helpful here
  • Your program assessment will be unique – because you are unique – but there are processes and tools that you can draw on from others
  • It can be fun, interesting or valuable—figure out how to make it so
  • Start with things your colleagues enjoy or are interested in
  • Be proactive, use the challenge to your advantage
  • Choose your reviewers carefully
  • Become part of the institutional team working on shared challenges, use assessment to demonstrate how your outcomes support institutional goals, position your department as an institutional leader
  • Use your assessment data to argue for needed resources or continued support
  • Think about peer institutions
  • Use available data (e.g. AGI) to establish national context
  • Assignment grades are part of the assessment toolbox: they need to be aligned with outcomes, based on rubrics or other transparent processes, and reliable
  • Assessment tools can be used at multiple levels including graduate levels
  • Don't overlook the importance of the impact of graduate programs on your undergraduate programs (consider this, demonstrate this, assess this)
  • Develop a culture of assessment where it is part of what we do is fundamental to success and to good teaching

Next Steps

  • Go back to departments and move forward, create a culture of assessment
  • Develop a community wide culture of assessment
  • Provide examples of how departments have used assessment to change and then assess impact of change
  • Develop a list of important metrics that departments would like to see for comparative purpose for AGI to move forward
  • Traveling workshop program to assist departments
  • Develop pool of people who can be departmental reviewers on website
  • Regional meetings (system meetings) using same accrediting body
  • More discussion of setting/assessing content outcomes—how to limit numbers, now to assess
  • Continue to share activities with assessments and use in outcomes assessment