Student Assessment and Departmental Reviews, ISU

Cinzia Cervato, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University

Student Assessment

In 2004 Iowa State University requested that all departments prepare an outcomes assessment plan. The goal was to ensure that our students have the best educational experience possible. I was asked to chair the committee and put together an alumni survey, an assessment plan and an assessment matrix that are now online on 'our department's assessment web site. We administered the survey to our alumni in 2004.

The main instrument for assessment is an exit interview with the department chair (for geology and Earth science majors) or the associate chair in meteorology (for meteorology majors). These are informal and there is no form or rubric. There is also an exit survey and self-assessment form but students rarely turn them in (2 out of 18 seniors returned them last spring). The response rate might improve if the survey were administered online. I have never seen the results of these interviews and do not know of any specific changes that have been implemented as a result of comments made by students.

External Departmental Reviews

Iowa State University provides detailed policies and procedures for program reviews that are conducted every 7 years. This includes guidelines for the department for preparation of the self-study report, as well as a list of general topics that the external review committee should address. In addition, each review team is given a set of questions from the college specific to the department. Here is the letter to external reviewers (Microsoft Word 23kB Feb3 09) we put together for our last review (2006).