Assessment is strongly linked to our Mission Statement and assessment of our courses and is of increasing importance as we evaluate our
core curriculum, our options for majors, and our service course offerings. Our faculty
are committed to assessing the effectiveness of our courses, and a number of our faculty
have developed their own assessment instruments that are tailored to their courses.
The department employs both indirect and direct assessment strategies. Students in
our entry-point course for our core curriculum (BIOL 1710) are tested on conceptual
understanding before and after the course. Students are indirectly assessed via self-surveys
in each of the core curriculum courses. The faculty will evaluate these instruments
and employ other metrics to better determine what new information is being gained
by our students. This is challenging, in that many students transfer into (and in
some cases, out of) Chicago State at different points and with different backgrounds.
Many of our assessments remain summative ones (e.g., exams, practicums), but formative
assessments are also employed (e.g., student surveys of the effectiveness of course
materials). The current assessment plan and prior assessment reports are available
in the departmental office (SCI 310).
Participation by students in assessment is solicited by the Department, both to assess
curriculum effectiveness and to evaluate academic progress by our students. This is
requested near the beginning of the student's program, at various points through the
student's program, and after graduation (see Student Testimonials). Responses by students
to departmental offerings are considered to be very important in determining how to
improve departmental options and course offerings.
Development of our assessment aids is becoming more formalized, and we are initiating
more frequent and specific assessment reviews. To enhance this, we have recently developed
a Google Sites area to share assessment documents and other information among the
faculty.. Our departmental seminar series has for years featured presentations by
undergraduates who have worked in our facilities and other programs and internships,
and we also require regular progress reports by graduate students, which are presented
as part of the weekly department seminars. This allows all students and faculty the
opportunity to view current research in the entire program, learn about potential
opportunities, compare standards in different disciplines, and view the growth in
the expertise of our students. Presentation by faculty of teaching ideas and techniques
has also become a part of these regular seminars.
Assessments are routinely conducted in the following areas: our Undergraduate major and our Graduate and Secondary Education programs (click the links to view student Learning Outcomes and Curriculum Maps for