B.A. in Psychology Program Assessment Plan June 30, 2005

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1 B.A. in Psychology Program Assessment Plan June 30, 2005 Program Mission Statement: The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology provides a foundation for traditional and non-traditional students who wish to become psychologists. It also prepares students to become self-aware, lifelong learners by delivering analytical, quantitative, and problem-solving skills that lead to employment in a variety of work settings. Conceptual relationship among university, program, and course learning goals and objectives: The goals of the program are consistent with the University-wide learning goals and, in some cases, directly support attainment of one or more such goals. While we recognize that learning occurs in a broader context than the classroom, this program attains its learning goals primarily through the courses it requires of students. We try to show these connections in a matrix. The learning objectives of individual courses always support the goals of the program but this does not prevent them from supporting other goals. Learning objectives in an individual course are assessable. Therefore, the assessment of related learning objectives across several courses within our program enables us to ascertain how well the program goals are being met. It follows that the attainment of University-wide learning goals can be evaluated by looking across the curriculum within this program at all the assessments that are related to these goals. Process for setting learning goals and objectives: The program faculty has focused on programmatic goals and course learning objectives since its inception. Faculty members have discussed both formally and informally what they hope to accomplish through the program and what they expect students to learn while in the program. Guidance comes from APA guidelines for undergraduate psychology programs. To develop this learning outcomes assessment plan the faculty met together and mutually agreed upon the set of program goals that will be emphasized at this particular time in history. These program goals and their operational definitions within various courses were agreed to by faculty members teaching in the program. The goals and objectives are not cast in stone and will undergo ongoing review as part of the university assessment cycle. 1

2 Program Learning Goals: Upon graduating from the B.A. in Psychology program students will: 1) Have knowledge of the subdisciplines of the field of psychology. 2) Have knowledge of, and experience applying, the major research tools used in the field of psychology. 3) Have the ability to evaluate the quality, determine the applicability, and interpret the meaning of research results. 4) Have an appreciation for the values of psychology: respect for others and diversity, tolerance of ambiguity, awareness of tenuousness of research results, and awareness of personal limitations. 5) Have greater awareness and knowledge of self and a greater sensitivity to others. 6) Become aware of the practical use of psychological theories and models. 7) Be able to speak and write clearly and effectively. 8) Be able to obtain information through multiple media, evaluate the quality of the information, and use current software beyond a basic level. 9) Be aware of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of psychologists and have acquired information about the applicability and usefulness of their education to a variety of careers. 10) Have an increased awareness of sociocultural differences in behavior. 2

3 3 Courses Incorporating Learning Goals

4 4 Courses Incorporating Learning Goals, Cont d.

5 Guiding principles for assessment: - The program understands the need for assessment and for the development of a unified, coherent program to evaluate its educational activities. - The program values the involvement of students, faculty, and staff in the assessment process. - The faculty of the program, given their accountability for the curriculum, have primary responsibility for the development and evaluation of assessment activities with administrative support. - Statements of desired educational goals of this program will be approved by the faculty. - Student learning will be assessed using both direct and indirect methods and quantitative and qualitative data. - The non-aggregated data gathered for assessment purposes will remain confidential and will be used only for the purposes of assessment. - Assessment of student learning outcomes is about improving the delivery of the curriculum to facilitate better learning, not evaluating faculty. - Assessment is systematic, ongoing, and cyclic. - Assessment will be simple, doable, and consistent with the university s mission. Projected Assessment Activities: Year 1 Course-Level Learning Objectives 5

6 Indirect method of measuring attainment of program goals: In addition to the learning objectives assessed by the course objectives and rubrics listed above, learning goals are also indirectly measured through an Undergraduate Exit Survey mailed by the College of Liberal Arts to graduating students, in all programs, each semester (Summer, Winter, and Spring). This general survey attempts to obtain information about attainment of competencies thought to be important for students in all disciplines. In particular, these competencies are related to University Learning Goals and help establish whether students are reaching these goals. Along with the general survey, each graduating student also receives a program specific survey which includes items that measure competencies related to their major discipline. Beginning in August 2005 this survey will reflect the program learning goals agreed upon by faculty and listed in this assessment plan. How results will be used to improve curriculum delivery: The faculty will meet at least once each year to review the outcomes of assessment, to compare outcomes to pre-established standards, and to decide on an action to be taken. This information will be contained in the annual assessment report. Some possible actions are: - No action is required; students are meeting the standard. - No action is required at this time; explore more fully the reasons why students didn't meet standard. - Increase the standard (e.g., from 75% to 80%) - Determine why there are such differences among the various sections of a course for which measurement has occurred. - Redesign the rubric/measurement tool; it does not seem to be measuring what we desire. - Work together as a faculty to redevelop the pre-requisites for a course; problems appear to be due to lack of preparation. - Meet as a faculty to discuss ways to teach a specific concept that seems to be eluding our students. Timeline for what will be measured and schedule of examining/reporting results: Year One Develop the first assessment plan. Detail the plan fully for the primary goal. For the primary goal - complete the assessment of this goal in at least two distinct ways in Spring Meet to discuss the results of this assessment and determine what action, if any, will be taken. File report with University Assessment Committee by February 1,

7 Timeline, cont d. Following Years Revisit the assessment plan and make any necessary revisions. Detail the plan fully for the remaining goals. Complete the assessment of the remaining goals in at least two distinct ways. Meet to discuss the results of this assessment and determine what action, if any, will be taken. File report with University Assessment Committee by February 1 of each year. Who is responsible for plan implementation: The Faculty Program Director is responsible for implementing the assessment plan. He or she sees that the agreed upon time line is adhered to, that assessment results are compiled and reports filed with the University Assessment Committee. The program director is also responsible for integrating the results of assessment into the program and its curriculum. All of this is done in a framework of collegial responsibility because the faculty, as a group, share responsibility for designing and delivering a curriculum that achieves the program s goals. 7

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