Chair dr dena levy assessment coordinator dr andrea rubery date of presentation october 1 2013
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2012-2013 Assessment Report School of The Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences________________ Department: Political Science and International Studies. Chair: Dr. Dena Levy Assessment Coordinator: Dr. Andrea Rubery Date of Presentation: October 1, 2013.

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Chair dr dena levy assessment coordinator dr andrea rubery date of presentation october 1 2013

2012-2013 Assessment ReportSchool of The Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences________________Department: Political Science and International Studies

Chair: Dr. Dena Levy

Assessment Coordinator: Dr. Andrea Rubery

Date of Presentation: October 1, 2013


What was assessed student learning outcomes list
What was assessed? Student learning outcomes list:

  • Upon graduation, students with a degree in Political Science and International Studies will be able to…

  • *SLO#1 - …define the concepts, processes and facts relevant to the field of political science.

  • SLO#2 - …use evidence to argue and critically evaluate political issues.

  • SLO#3 - …defend a position or thesis dealing with political issues, in a clear and logical manner.

  • SLO#4 - …employ major methods of inquiry into political science research.

  • SLO#5 - …integrate the relationships between economic and social/cultural factors with politics.

  • SLO#6 - …evaluate the interconnection between local and global issues within the political realm.

  • SLO#7 - …critically analyze the role of the “citizen” in the political system.


How was the assessment accomplished
How was the assessment accomplished?

  • Two courses were designated in the assessment of SLO#1 – PLS 203 Political Thought and PLS 112 Comparative Politics. Both were introductory level courses and two sections of PLS 112 were used in the assessment.

  • In PLS 203, the specific assignment or task evaluated was the following: “Students will be given an essay question that has them identify, define and discuss the significance of the terms monarchy, timocracy, oligarchy, aristocracy, democracy, polity and tyranny. (All based on the readings of Plato and Aristotle)

  • Measurement for PLS 203 – Because PLS 203 is philosophic in its nature and content, no “formal” rubric was used.However, a general understanding of terms, their definitions and significance was expected. The essay itself was worth 30 points. To this end, the following benchmark was used: 75% of students will meet or exceed the following criterion: B+ or higher (exceeds), C+ - B (meets), D+ - C (approaches) and D or below (does not meet) expectations.

  • 29 Students were assessed out of 29

  • In PLS 112, two sections of the course, taught by the same professor, were used in the assessment. The specific assignment or task evaluated was the following: “Students will be asked to identify and define the ways in which “power” is arranged and divided within the Parliamentary and Presidential systems. Students will be asked to do this in a five (5) question “short answer” format.”

  • Measurement for PLS 112 – Once again, no formal rubric was used in the assessment process, though the professor did evaluate each short answer in the following manner: Each question was worth five points, with its “content definition” making up roughly 2 ½ points of its value and the“political significance” making up the other 2 ½ points of its value. The professor did not want a formal rubric so as to encourage creativity and independent thinking with regards to student responses, especially in terms of the “significance” component of the question. To these ends, the following benchmarks were used: 75% of students will meet or exceed the following criterion: B+ or higher (exceeds), C+ to B (meets), D+ to C (approaches) and D or below (does not meet) expectations.

  • 41 students were assessed out of 41 for the first section of the course; 35 students out of 35 students for the second section.

  • For both PLS 203 and PLS 112, all eligible students were assessed.


Actual assessment data
Actual assessment data

  • For PLS 203 – Political Thought

  • Out of 29 students:

    38% exceeded expectations

    31% met expectations

    31% approached expectations

    0% did not meet expectations

    For PLS 112 – Comparative Politics

    Out of 76 total students:

    44% exceeded expectations

    15% met expectations

    15% approached expectations

    26% did not meet expectations


Assessment results what have the data told us
Assessment results: What have the data told us?

  • For PLS 203, Political Thought, First, the course did not meet the benchmark of having 75% of students meet or exceed the goal of having the students receive a C+ or better on this essay. However, 69% of students did meet this goal, which is encouraging.

  • Secondly, no students “did not meet” expectations. This too is encouraging.

  • Focus then, must be given to the 31% of students who were “approaching” the benchmark. (9 students in total)

  • Upon review of their essays, the following was observed: a lack of detail; whole concepts missing from the analysis (ie only discussing a few of the regimes ornot all); incorrect definitions, no discussion of significance, etc.

  • Further review of the actual exams in connection with the names of the students drew the following conclusions: Most were students who did not attend class regularly and who rarely (if ever) took notes.

  • For PLS 112, Comparative Politics, First, the course did not meet the benchmark of having 75% of students meet or exceed the goal of having the students receive a C+ or better on the short answer questions. Only 59% did, with 44% exceeding the expectations. This final data is encouraging.

  • Secondly, 41% of students either approached or did not meet the expectation of a C+ or better, demonstrating “bimodal distribution.” A relatively high 26% did not meet the expectation at all.

  • Focus then must be given to the 41% of students who merely approached or did not meet expectations.

  • Upon review of their names, their year at the College and their answers, the following was observed: Many students were freshman and not necessarily PLS majors. Why? PLS 112 satisfies the (A), (D), (S), (W) and (Y) general education requirements covering knowledge area, diversity, social science, perspectives on gender and oral communication, respectively. For these reasons, many students take the class in their first years in order to fulfill these requirements.

  • Moreover, closer study revealed several transfer students, for which this course may be their first introduction to political science; several of the students were easily identified as those who do not come to class regularly and showed no real interest in academics, with little or no participation in class discussions or note taking.


Data driven decisions how the department has or plans to close the loop based on these results
Data-driven decisions: How the department has or plans to “close the loop” based on these results.

  • Closing the Loop – PLS 203

  • The professor indicated that some small adjustments might be made to address the shortfall of students reaching the benchmark of 75% of the class attaining a C+ or better on this assessment.

  • First – reinforce the connection between good attendance and success in the class.

  • If class is missed, be sure to get the notes from a classmate.

  • The professor plans to implement a periodic “look” at students’ class notes. Emphasis will be placed on the need to write all things down, not just what is on the board in outline form.

  • Discussion of the assessed concepts will be brought into more conversations and instructional discussions throughout the course, in order to reinforce their significance.

  • Closing the Loop – PLS 112

  • Addressing the challenges of this type of introductory class which fulfills so many general education requirements and attracts a student body from freshman to senior year, may prove more challenging.

  • The professor intends to reinforce the importance of attending class on a regular basis and coming prepared with the day’s assignments met.

  • The professor will continue to encourage students to come to office hours and seek the added help necessary for any difficulties with the subject matter or assignments.

  • The professor will reinforce the need for detailed note taking.


What resources were used or have been requested to close the loop
What resources were used or have been requested to close the loop?

  • At this point, no additional resources are necessary to closing the loop on SLO#1.


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