Assessment of Student Learning



Mathematics Discipline


UNIT MISSION/GOAL(S)

To advance the knowledge of mathematics and statistics: by teaching mathematics/statistics and their processes, by research in mathematics/statistics and mathematical/statistical pedagogy, and by dissemination of this knowledge to our students and the community we serve.

Unit Mission/goal(s) and the Institutional Mission Relation

Historically, the study of mathematics is central to the liberal arts education. The mathematics/statistics curriculum serves as an integral part of students' active pursuit of liberal arts education. The discipline's mission concentrates on the three main components of the institutional mission, namely, teaching, research, and outreach. The mathematics/statistics curriculum is currently serving students who major/minor in mathematics, seek secondary mathematics teaching licensure, major/minor in disciplines which requires a mathematical background, aim to complete pre-professional programs, and the whole Campus through its general education courses in areas such as abstract systems. The mathematics discipline also guides students who choose to design their own major/minor which is in the direction of the institutional mission which says '...students can shape their own education'. The discipline's mission also involves dissemination of mathematical knowledge to the community which supports the institution's mission '(UMM) is an educational resource and cultural center for citizens of west central Minnesota (and it has) strong sense of community'.


STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES, EXPECTED OUTCOMES, ASSESSMENT METHODS & TOOLS, TIMELINE

Learning Objective 1
Students will gain the basic knowledge and skills to make mathematical contributions to modern society, whether in the form of pure mathematics or mathematics applied to the other disciplines.
Expected Outcome 1
Demonstrated basic knowledge of calculus, analysis, algebra, probability, statistics, and ability to describe these areas of mathematics and see importance of this in their mathematics education. (A detailed learning objectives and expected outcomes for these topics will be prepared during the process.)
Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 1
  • Mathematics Major Student Portfolio(*)
  • Mathematics Placement Exam
  • Gateway(proficiency) tests on basic skills courses such as Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Statistical Methods
  • Some examinations in these courses will be designed to measure students' pre-determined skills and/or knowledge. The mathematics faculty will jointly review a sample of these examinations annually and determine the degree to which these detailed objectives are met. These exams will be also a part of the 'Mathematics Major Student Portfolio'.
Timeline for the Outcome 1
Starting Date for the Implementation:
Anticipated Date for the First Results:

Learning Objective 2
Students will sharpen their mathematical intuition and abstract reasoning as well as their reasoning from numerical data.
Expected Outcome 2
  • Demonstrated ability to model and solve real-world problems, formulate a problem mathematically, and determine an appropriate approach towards its solution.
  • Demonstrated ability to write, read and construct proofs of key results in various courses taken.
Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 2
  • Survey of graduates
  • Mathematics Major Student Portfolio (projects, papers, specially designed exams)
  • Final Project (senior seminar presentation)
  • Putnam performance
Timeline for the Outcome 2
Starting Date for the Implementation:
  • Survey of Graduates: In Progress
  • Putnam Performance: In Progress
Anticipated Date for the First Results:
  • Survey of Graduates: In Progress
  • Putnam Performance: In Progress

Learning Objective 3
Mathematics and statistics curriculum will enhance students' critical thinking in domains involving judgments based on data and stimulate the type of independent thinking requiring research beyond the confines of the textbook.
Expected Outcome 3
  • Demonstrated ability on how to deal with theoretical and applied mathematical problems whose solutions do not fit exactly into any existing mathematical knowledge. For instance, the student should try to embellish it or solve some special cases.
  • Demonstrated ability to interpret results of a mathematical/statistical analysis.
Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 3
Timeline for the Outcome 3
Starting Date for the Implementation: Spring, 1997
Anticipated Date for the First Results: Spring, 1998

Learning Objective 4
The curriculum will prepare students to enter graduate school, pursue careers in applied mathematics or statistical fields, or teach mathematics and statistics.
Expected Outcome 4
Students should be able to document and prove their mathematics/statistics background to get a job or admission to graduate schools. Also, they should be able to meet the requirements for professions such as teaching and actuarial science.
Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 4
  • Survey of Graduates
  • Graduate school acceptance rates, GRE exam scores
  • Success rate on professional exams
  • Success rate on obtaining teaching licensure
Timeline for the Outcome 4
Starting Date for the Implementation:

Acceptance Rates: In Progress

Success Rates: In Progress

Anticipated Date for the First Results:

Acceptance Rates: In Progress

Success Rates: In Progress


Learning Objective 5
The students will be able to see and communicate mathematical and statistical ideas effectively. (The students will be able to see and communicate how the development of mathematics has been part of the development of several civilizations and is intimately interwoven with the cultural and scientific development of these societies.)
Expected Outcome 5
Demonstrated ability to describe and explain a theorem, mathematical/statistical formula/model, and a solution of a problem in broad terms to a non-specialist audience.
Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 5
  • Student papers from various courses
  • Student presentations in some courses with attendance of faculty from and outside the mathematics discipline (including community representatives in some cases)
  • Senior seminar
  • Student publications, UROP and MAP reports
  • An essay giving an example of a development of a mathematical/statistical idea and its impact on the cultural and scientific development of society (Most of these materials will become a part of the student portfolio)
Timeline for the Outcome 5
Starting Date for the Implementation: Spring 1997
Anticipated Date for the First Results: Spring 1998

(*) Mathematics Major Portfolio will have the following sections:

A. Characteristics of Entering Students

  • High school mathematics courses, mathematics placement score, ACT mathematics score
  • An essay written by students on their expectations and academic plans

B. Learning Development of Students in Mathematics during their Stay at UMM

  • Gateway/proficiency tests from basic skills courses
  • Specially designed examinations from the core courses
  • Course project reports
  • An essay on development of mathematical ideas
  • A self-report of learning by students on each mathematics course that they have taken (which will include answers to questions like: What did you learn?, Why do you think that this course is important in your mathematics education?, How will you be able to use the knowledge that you have gained in this course after your graduation?)

C. After graduation

  • Survey of Graduates

After the review of the mathematics faculty, the results of the assessment and the portfolios prepared by the students will be delivered to the external consultants/reviewers for input. Mathematics discipline is planning to continue to have the ties with St. Olaf and Grinell College from which a group of faculty carried out disciplines 5 year review.