On 5/16/2003, the
Psychology Discipline decided on a biennial cycle of reviewing a sample of
final papers completed for the Empirical Investigations courses. This is
done by faculty members of the Psychology Discipline for both their own
students and a sample of other instructors' students. The
Psychology Discipline did in fact complete such an assessment during August,
2003. It concluded that students were in fact displaying an impressive
level of competency and that by this criterion the program was meeting its
objectives. The exercise for 2005-2006 remains to be done.
As a result of the discussions in 2003 concerning the lack of retention of statistical background by our students, the Psychology Discipline decided on 5/21/2003 to follow a policy that "in every Psychology course that has a statistics or research-methods prerequisite, students be required to undertake some statistical analysis of something related to the content of the course. This active performance on the part of students should occur in a context of considering the rationale for applying particular statistical methods to particular analytic purposes. There was also sentiment for applying this approach at perhaps a more modest level to some upper division courses that do not have a statistics or research-methods prerequisite insofar as feasible, in light of the fact that some statistical instruction occurs even in introductory courses. By building some statistical exercises into most courses, students will be induced to rehearse and apply their statistical knowledge repeatedly and hence keep some of it fresh in memory. This policy can be considered a fruit of the assessment process.
These discussions also led to a reorganization of the Empirical Investigations courses, from single 4 cr courses to sequences of two 2 cr courses.