Academic Year Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan. Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences

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1 Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan Academic Year 2013 This document describes the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences learning outcomes assessment plan for Academic Year An overview of the need for assessment is provided, along with descriptions of procedures and the annual calendar for assessment. The actual assessment instruments used are in a separate document, Assessment Instruments Academic Year 2013 Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences

2 Assessment Plan Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences I. Introduction. 3 II. Ethical Use of Test Scores.. 4 III. Undergraduate Programs.. 5 Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences Major Community Development Major Professional Event Manager Certificate Program Undergraduate Programs Measures and Procedures VII. Graduate Programs.. 11 Learning Outcomes: Community Development Certificate Learning Outcomes: Masters Degree Programs Learning Outcomes: Doctoral Degree Learning Outcomes Assessment of Graduate Programs Learning Outcomes: Professional Event Manager Certificate Program VI. Assessment Calendar Appendices Appendix A: Intern Self-Report Questionnaire, Question 13 Appendix B: Senior Exit Survey, Question 16 Appendix C: Rating Scale for MS and PhD Program Learning Outcomes Appendix D: Rating Scale for MRRD Program Learning Outcomes Appendix E: Testlet for Community Development Program Learning Outcomes Appendix F: Undergraduate Program Learning Outcomes Testlets Appendix G: Rubric for Evaluation of Writing 1

3 I. Introduction Assessment of learning outcomes has become a priority among higher education institutions. Both university regional accrediting bodies and accrediting bodies for professions are requiring academic units to develop and maintain assessment programs and to utilize results of assessment processes to inform curriculum development. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is the accrediting body of Texas A&M University, underscores the importance of assessment in its 2008 publication, Principles of Accreditation: Two of twelve fundamental characteristics of accreditation (page 8 of 45) point directly to assessment. One of these stresses that accreditation requires institutional commitment to the concept of quality enhancement through continuous assessment and improvement, and another stresses that accreditation acknowledges an institution s prerogative to articulate its mission within the recognized context of higher education and its responsibility to show that it is accomplishing its mission. Operationally, the mandate for assessment exists within the Commission s requirement that accredited institutions develop and maintain a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that, among other elements, focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution (p. 24 of 45). As an institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Texas A&M University is responsive to the assessment mandate. On April 17 of 2008, the Council of Academic Deans approved the document, Assessment Expectations for Colleges: That document provides specific target dates through the period when academic departments are to put specific assessment components in place. By the end of Cycle 1 (August 2009), departments are to have developed plans for assessment of learning outcomes, collected data, and entered findings into an electronic data base, WeaveOnline. Bodies that accredit professional preparation programs are also emphasizing the need for assessment of learning outcomes. One of the most internationally prominent of these is the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA; ). CHEA is an association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities that recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations. One of the programmatic accrediting organizations accredited by CHEA is the Council on Accreditation (COA) of Recreation, which, in turn, accredits higher education programs in recreation, parks, and tourism. In response to a CHEA mandate, and in order to better serve its constituents, the COA has undertaken a major revision of its accreditation standards to focus on assessment of learning outcomes. 2

4 Thus, the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences has both an institutional and professional mandate to establish an assessment program and use data from that program for quality enhancement. The assessment program described in this document addresses the mandate of Texas A&M University, based on its accredited status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and it also addresses the professional mandate for accreditation arising from our status as a program accredited by the Council on Accreditation. II. Ethical Use of Test Scores The educational principle of consequential evidence of validity establishes that validity of inferences made from test scores is inextricably bound to the intended use of a test. As such, it is vital to establish that tests used in this assessment process are to be used for the sole purpose of assessment of student learning outcomes. Although results of this process may imply that particular educational processes should be evaluated to sustain or improve learning, use of test scores for reporting in instructor performance evaluations or other unrelated or tangentially related purposes would comprise unethical use of the assessment process. Further, although results may or may not be part of the grading structure for individual classes, test scores will be considered information protected by the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act. As such, scores of individual students will not be published in any way, and no data will be provided that would enable identification of scores of any individual student. Students are, of course, free to use scores from tests that they complete in any way that they choose. 3

5 III. Undergraduate Programs Learning Outcomes: Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences Major Undergraduate Learning Outcome 1: RPTS graduates will have reasoning, communication, diversity, and analytic skills appropriate to a strong general education. Undergraduate Learning Outcome 2: RPTS graduates will have acquired professional experience through the application of recreation, park and tourism principles, theories and analytical methods by successfully completing professional internships. Undergraduate Learning Outcome 3: RPTS graduates will demonstrate knowledge of the scope of the profession, professional practice, and the history, scientific, and philosophical foundations of recreation, park and tourism industries. Undergraduate Learning Outcome 4: RPTS graduates will be able to design, plan, and implement recreation and tourism experiences among a diversity of clientele, settings, cultures, and contexts. Undergraduate Learning Outcome 5: RPTS graduates will be able to understand and apply profession-related principles and practices of management and administration. Learning Outcomes: Community Development Major Undergraduate Learning Outcome 1: CD graduates will have reasoning, communication, diversity, and analytic skills appropriate to a strong general education. Undergraduate Learning Outcome 2: CD graduates will have acquired practical experience through the application of CD principles, theories and analytical methods by successfully completing professional internships. Undergraduate Learning Outcome 3: CD graduates will demonstrate knowledge of the scope of the profession, professional practice, and the history, scientific, and philosophical foundations of CD. Undergraduate Learning Outcome 4: CD graduates will be able to design, plan, and implement CD efforts among a diversity of stakeholders in a community. Undergraduate Learning Outcome 5: CD graduates will be able to understand and apply profession-related principles and practices of management and administration of community related institutions and infrastructure. 4

6 Undergraduate Learning Outcome 6: CD graduates will demonstrate knowledge of the principles of community organization and structure, and process of change, leadership, conflict management, decision making, and volunteerism Learning Outcomes: Professional Event Manager Certificate Program Learning outcomes for the Professional Event Manager Certificate Program are derived from Silvers (2006) Event management Body of Knowledge program and from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service Texas Event Leadership Program. PEMC Learning outcome 1: Individuals completing requirement for the Professional Event Management Certificate will be able to use facts, principles, and procedures associated with the administration of events domain defined by the Event Management Body of Knowledge Program PEMC Learning outcome 2: Individuals completing requirement for the Professional Event Management Certificate will be able to use facts, principles and procedures associated with the experience design of events domain defined by the Event Management Body of Knowledge Program PEMC Learning outcome 3: Individuals completing requirement for the Professional Event Management Certificate will be able to use facts, principles and procedures associated with the marketing of events domain defined by the Event Management Body of Knowledge Program PEMC Learning outcome 4: Individuals completing requirement for the Professional Event Management Certificate will be able to use facts, principles and procedures associated with the operation of events domain defined by the Event Management Body of Knowledge Program PEMC Learning outcome 5: Individuals completing requirement for the Professional Event Management Certificate will be able to use facts, principles and procedures about event sponsorships, partnerships, and sales to planning and hosting of events. 5

7 Undergraduate Program Measures and Procedures For learning outcomes in the undergraduate program, assessment tools include a) Department exams (testlets) for select classes, b) senior exit survey, c) internship pass rate, d) evaluations conducted by intern site-supervisors (professionals). A brief description of each of these metrics follows. Table 1 shows how these are applied to assessment of the BS in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences and the BS in Community Development. Table 2 shows how the measures are used in assessment of learning outcomes of our professional event manager certificate program. Department Testlets. Testlets will be administered in the last two weeks of RPTS core courses that are designated as primary sources of select learning outcomes. These exams will be administered during either the Fall or Spring term. Instructors will be free to apply the test scores as part of the students grades for the course if they wish to do so. Each testlet includes approximately 20 multiplechoice questions. These post-test scores will be compared to population mean estimates that are derived from collection of pre-test scores for a number of preceding semesters. Summary sheets of changes in mean scores along with appropriate statistics will be prepared by the Associate Department Head or Department Head and will become part of an annual assessment report to the Undergraduate Committee and to WEAVEonline. All data analyses, including item analyses, means, and performance of individual students will be made available to the instructors of the respective classes upon respect. For the purpose of assessment, the unit of analysis will be the class as a whole; not the individual student. Statistics will be calculated to determine if performance standards/targets are met. The data will be retained over time so that trends can be evaluated. Senior Exit Survey A senior exit survey is conducted each spring. Students in RPTS 403 respond to a questionnaire that examines their perceptions of various facets of their experience as a student at TAMU and in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences. Question set 13 includes a series of items (a through p) that are directly related to learning outcomes of general education, foundational knowledge, recreation experience design, and operations and strategic management. A list of those items is presented in Appendix B. Intern Evaluations by Site Supervisors This evaluation form will be completed as part of each students required internship experience. Site supervisors indicate whether they would hire each intern, using a rating scale that includes Yes, Maybe, and No as options. They explain any rating other than Yes. Submission of the completed form is a requirement of the class. The University s WEAVEonline system uses an August 1 deadline, and most of our students complete internships during summer terms. As a result, we will use internship site supervisor data from the Fall and Spring terms of the academic year only. 6

8 Internship Performance The internship grade distributions will be provided by the Academic Advisor or Internship Supervisor. Although class grades are ordinarily not acceptable measures of learning outcomes, the internship experience is, of course, largely performance-based. Success or failure in the internship is thus a direct measure of performance. The University s WEAVEonline system uses an August 1 deadline, and most of our students complete internships during summer terms. As a result, we will use internship grade data from the Fall and Spring terms of the academic year only. Pre-Post Test, Community Development Major. A pre-post test will be administered in RPTS 308 and 408. The target will be a 20% increase in post-test means over pretest means. 7

9 Direct (D) or Indirect (I) Measure? Performance (P) or Capacity (C)? 1.0 Strong General Education Outcomes 2.0 Internship 3.0 Foundational Knowledge (RPTS : RPTS Major, CD: CD Major) 4.0 Recreation and Tourism Experience Design and Execution 5.0 Operations and Strategic Management of RPT organizations Table 1: Metric Selection Matrix for BS Degree Programs Metric Senior Exit Survey I P 16a.-16g 16k 16n 16 d, e, f, g, h, I, j, l, m, o, p Department Examinations, Testlets D C RPTS 201 (RPTS) RPTS 308 (CD) RPTS 311, 340 (RPTS) 408 (CD) RPTS (RPTS) (CD) Performance Standard Mean score will be higher than 5 on the 7-point scale Means will be 20% higher than the pretest population estimates Intern site-supervisor evaluations D P X 90% or higher will report that they would or might hire the intern if resources were available Intern Performance D P X 90% or more will pass RPTS 484 8

10 Direct (D) or Indirect (I) Measure? Performance (P) or Capacity (C)? 1.0 Administration of Event Organizations 2.0 Experience Design 3.0 Marketing of Events 4.0 Operation of Events Table 2: Metric Selection Matrix for Professional Event Manager Certificate Program Metric Testlets D C RPTS 304 RPTS 311 RPTS 320 and 321 RPTS 320 and 321 Performance Standard Means will be 20% higher than pretest population estimates 9

11 III. Graduate Programs Learning Outcomes: Community Development Certificate The two learning outcomes of our community development certificate are as follows: Community Development Certificate Learning Outcome 1: Students who complete the certificate program will have a basic understanding of community development processes (e.g. leadership and management, resource mobilization, and conflict resolution) and the skills (e.g., decision-making, communication, critical thinking and analysis) necessary for community leaders, professionals, and others to participate effectively in these processes Community Development Certificate Learning Outcome 2: Students who complete the certificate program will successfully link community development processes and skills to coursework related to substantive social, economic, natural resource, health, and other issues. Learning Outcomes: Master of Science Degree Programs The learning outcomes for our master of science degree program and our master of recreation resources development program are as follows: Masters Degree Programs Learning Outcome 1: Students participating in this program will be knowledgeable of, and be able to apply the scientific method to conduct research on recreation, park and tourism issues. Masters Degree Programs Learning Outcome 2: Students participating in this program should be able to effectively communicate orally about research conducted on recreation, park and tourism issues. Masters Degree Programs Learning Outcome 3: Students of this program should be able to effectively prepare written materials that address recreation, park and tourism issues. Masters Degree Programs Learning Outcome 4: Graduate students in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences should be able to demonstrate knowledge and expertise related to the key theories and principles related to recreation, park and tourism, in order to prepare them for their future careers. Masters Degree Programs Learning Outcome 5: Graduate students in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences should be able to demonstrate knowledge and expertise related to the key theories and principles related to one area of expertise outside of recreation, park and tourism sciences 10

12 Graduate Program Learning Outcomes Assessment Process MRRD Program Learning Outcome 1: Students graduating the program will be prepared to succeed in both strategic and operations management of organizations that serve as stewards of parks. MRRD Program Learning Outcome 2: Students graduating from the program will be prepared to manage and make informed and defensible decisions about management of heritage and natural resources of parks and natural areas. MRRD Program Learning Outcome 3: Students graduating from this program will be prepared to use research to make data-based decisions about management of operations, strategy, and heritage and natural resources MRRD Program Learning Outcome 4: Students graduating from this program will be prepared to provide leadership to interpretation, law enforcement, and visitor service functions that directly impact visitor experience Learning Outcomes: Doctoral Degree Programs Doctoral Degree Programs Learning Outcome 1: Students participating in this program will be knowledgeable of, and be able to apply the scientific method to conduct research on recreation, park and tourism issues. Effectively applying the scientific method to conduct research is the ability to: define a problem, explain theory related to the problem, develop appropriate measures/methods to examine the problem, analyze data (both qualitatively and quantitatively), and discuss the implications of findings Doctoral Degree Programs Learning Outcome 2: Students participating in this program should be able to effectively communicate orally about research conducted on recreation, park and tourism issues. Effective communication is the appropriate and accurate word usage, use of appropriate tone and non-verbal cues, and the clear and coherent organization and presentation of information related to recreation, parks, tourism, and youth development Doctoral Degree Programs Learning Outcome 3: Students of this program should be able to effectively prepare written materials that address recreation, park and tourism issues. Effective writing is the proper use of the English language; appropriate and accurate word usage, and clearly and coherently organized and presented information about recreation, parks and tourism Doctoral Degree Programs Learning Outcome 4: Graduate students in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences should be able to demonstrate knowledge and expertise related to the key theories and principles related to recreation, park and tourism, in order to prepare them for their future careers. 11

13 Doctoral Degree Programs Learning Outcome 5: Graduate students in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences should be able to demonstrate knowledge and expertise related to the key theories and principles related to one area of expertise OUTSIDE of recreation, park and tourism sciences. Learning outcomes assessment process, graduate programs For master of science and doctoral programs, the Department considers learning outcomes assessment to be an inherent part of graduate education. Supervisory committees work individually with student to formulate programs of study, and students complete qualifying examinations, proposal defenses, and final defenses of theses, dissertations, and special projects. As such, assessment of graduate program outcomes will occur through these embedded mechanisms and through completion of supervisory committee ratings on the occasion of the final committee meeting. Students will be rated by the collective judgment of their supervisory committees about students attainment of each of the graduate program learning outcomes (see appendix for a copy of the rating scales for the MS and PhD programs). Learning outcomes of our MRRD program will also be assessed. Students advisory committees will rate the achievement of the four primary MRRD learning outcomes using a rating scale (see appendix). 12

14 V. Assessment Calendar, Academic Year 2013 Month Tasks Month Tasks Sept 1 Provide Department testlets to faculty teaching core classes August 1 Sept 30 Dec 30, Jan 30, Discuss AY 2011 assessment results at UG and Grad Committee meetings. Act on issues in need of attention Complete pre-test data collection Finalize assessment reports and action plan for AY 2011 in WEAVEonline (deadline is October 1) Prepare Department Exams for Spring Administration Collect pre-class data in RPTS 201, 202, 304, 311, 336, 340, and 403 August 30 Complete Input of AY 2012 assessment data and action plans into WEAVEonline Prepare summary report for General Faculty Meeting and UG and Grad Committees Evaluate assessment program and implement improvements April 30 June 30 Collect post-class data in RPTS 201, 202, 304, 311, 336, 340, 403 Collect Exit Survey Data in RPTS 403 Analyze Exit Survey Data Analyze Department Exam Data Assemble intern data from summer of AY 2012 Assemble graduate program assessment data 13

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