History Program Assessment of Student Learning Senior Thesis

History Program Assessment of Student Learning
I. Senior Thesis
a. Assessment Measures
i. The program engaged an outside evaluator, Gail Savage of St. Mary’s College of
Maryland, to read a sampling of senior thesis papers. Her task was to judge the
effectiveness of the History Program conceptual history teaching in training
students in 1. Hypothesis formation, 2.Historiography, 3. Research, 4. Inference
construction, 5. Significance, and 6. Writing clarity.
ii. All theses completed in the spring were collected in alphabetical order by student
name. A random sampling, every other thesis in the collection, was then sent to
Gail Savage for assessment.
b. Frequency
i. Theses from spring 2006 were sent for assessment in summer 2006.
ii. Theses from spring 2008 were sent for assessment in summer 2008.
iii. Theses from spring 2011 will be sent for assessment in the summer of 2011. One
year delay is to assess if rubric matches stated goals of Richard Stockton College.
c. Precipitating Factors
i. Prior to 2005, the History program shifted the focus of 4000 level courses to
conceptual history seminars on Belief, Identity, Power, Nature, and instituted a
required senior thesis for all majors. An outside evaluator for the senior thesis
was thought an appropriate assessment measure for the effectiveness of
conceptual history teaching.
d. Findings
i. 2006 Savage Report
1. Overall assessment: some of the better theses reflected the themes of
“belief” and “identity” rather than “power” and “nature.” Expressed
concern over one thesis advisor for 52 theses.
2. Recommendations:
a. Strengthen hypothesis formation
b. Focus on scholarly journals to strengthen historiography
c. Link inferences to strengthen argumentation
d. Mandate CMS as style for footnotes and bibliography
e. Incorporate reference to thematic concepts in assessment rubric
3. Action:
a. Reduced size of Historical Methods and Thesis Seminar by
increasing advising to two professors
b. Mandated CMS formatting for footnotes and bibliography
c. Altered rubric to better incorporate thematic concepts
ii. 2008 Savage Report
1. Overall assessment: improved quality of the theses resulting from
implementing previous recommendations and re-organization of the
2. Recommendations:
a. Special attention to hypothesis formation to help students
distinguish between topic and hypothesis
b. Special attention to linking inferences to nature of the source
material to strengthen argumentation
3. Action:
a. Re-evaluation of core skills and development of a checklist
focusing on acquisition at specific class levels
b. Discussed creation of possible ISH (Introductory Seminar in
History) classes based on model of current Transfer Seminar
c. Discussed if current rubric matches goals of Stockton
d. Discussed possible need to change outside evaluator for different
a. Assessment Measures
i. Campus wide proctored essay exam given to seniors in the spring semester.
Participation is voluntary. Skills assessed include identifying issues and
information, organizing information, making a persuasive argument or an
objective analysis about an issue, presenting clear and well thought out
recommendations for a course of action, and explaining the basis and rationale
for these recommendations.
ii. Reports are based on sample size of 100 seniors.
iii. 14 history majors participated in 2008
iv. 19 history majors participated in 2010
b. Frequency
i. Spring 2008
ii. Spring 2010
c. Precipitating Factors
i. (Information not available as to why Stockton uses the CLA)
d. Findings
i. Spring 2008
1. (data not available)
ii. Spring 2010
1. History students spent an average of 40 minutes on the exam
2. Average GPA of test takers was 3.33
3. Performance task = 1149/ analytic writing = 1257
4. Stockton senior history majors scored slightly better than the average
student at Stockton on the performance task.
5. They scored slightly worse than the average college student on the
performance task.
6. They scored much higher, on average, than seniors at Stockton on
analytic writing.
7. They scored slightly better than the national average on analytic writing.
a. Assessment Measures
i. Mandatory assessment for all faculty who provide a relevance rating (Essential,
Important, Minor or no importance) for each of 12 learning objectives included
on the IDEA form.
ii. Students rate their progress on these objectives and provide additional
information about teaching methods, course characteristics, and their own
iii. Scores are released to individual faculty.
b. Frequency
i. Every course for untenured faculty
ii. Selected courses for tenured faculty
c. Precipitating Factors
i. (Information not available as to why Stockton uses the IDEA)
d. Findings
i. History has requested a compilation of IDEA scores for all 4000 level courses for
the last three years as another method of evaluating conceptual history teaching.
ii. Upon receipt of IDEA scores, a program meeting will be scheduled to discuss
results and develop an action plan.
IV. Self-Assessment for Individual Classes
a. Assessment Measures
i. Prof. Rosner assessed classroom use of Google applications including gmail,
Google docs, Google calendar, iGoogle, and Google groups. A questionnaire was
given to all three of her classes in Fall ’09.
b. Frequency
i. One time assessment in Fall ’09.
c. Precipitating Factors
i. Prof. Rosner attended a Tech Academy workshop in the summer of 2009.
ii. Prof. Rosner sought an easier method of dialoguing with the class that can be
preserved for future reference
iii. Prof. Rosner wanted to an address issue raised by a survey of graduating
Stockton students indicating they had not improved their knowledge of
technology while at Stockton.
d. Findings
i. 95% thought Google docs were very useful for studying for exams
ii. 25% made specific recommendation that it would be more useful if all students
participated in answering sample questions.
iii. 74% found a gmail account useful for the course
iv. 60% used Google calendar for the syllabus, often citing it was too cumbersome
to maintain
v. 36% used iGoogle as a home page
vi. A total of 8 students used Google groups for online discussion, citing they prefer
classroom discussion for HIST and GAH courses
e. Action
i. All students were required to answer sample questions in spring of 2010.
ii. Google calendar was dropped from use in spring of 2010.
iii. The use of iGoole was omitted in spring of 2010