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 these programs).