Social Science (Interdisciplinary Major) Assessment Plan for 2009-2010

The social science major requires an intensely interdisciplinary program of study with students completing a core curriculum of courses in anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, sociology and statistics. In addition, students develop a sub-plan in a single discipline or an interdisciplinary social science area within the major. The learning objectives of the social science major are based on the majorŐs primary function to prepare teachers of social studies on a middle and high school level. Thus, students will understand how each social science discipline structures and advances knowledge, raises and answers analytical questions, and deals with competing theories and the changing nature of the field.

Learning Objective One

Students will become broadly familiar with the wide spectrum of social science disciplines and the perspective of each, their mode of inquiry and their various and rival theoretical approaches.

Expected Outcome for Objective One

A demonstrated understanding of the differences and similarities of the various disciplines within the social sciences, their manner in organizing and synthesizing knowledge and the theoretical underpinnings of each.

Assessment for Objective One

Students examine a broad curriculum across interdisciplinary lines and through examinations, written work of various kinds and in-class participation demonstrate an understanding of and appreciation for the different methodological and theoretical approaches of each discipline. A pre-graduation survey, to implemented as soon as possible, will provide an indirect measure of the success of achieving this and other objectives (see below).

 

Learning Objective Two

Students will develop perspective and skills in the various social science disciplines and demonstrative a competency in applying methods and theories to a wide variety of social science problems and issues, past and present.

Expected Outcome for Objective Two

The ability to work with a range of primary and secondary sources and to bring the tools, methods and theories of the respective disciplines in the analysis, interpretation and synthesis of social science data.

Assessment for Objective Two

The application of theory and the employment of social science methods are integral to the major, and students demonstrate their facility through examinations, discussions and written work. Most courses emphasize the use of both primary and secondary sources, and students are required to complete course work in basic statistics and to become skilled in locating, analyzing and synthesizing the secondary literature in economics (ECON 1951).

 

Learning Objective Three

Students will develop skills in oral and written communication.

Expected Outcome of Objective Three

The ability to organize and present oral and written arguments and to employ the appropriate scholarly standards and conventions especially in written work.

 

Assessment of Objective Three

 

The ability to communicate clearly and to craft concise and logical arguments are essential to the social science major, and the majority of courses, especially in the studentŐs sub-field, place special emphasis on developing skills in effective communication. Students are evaluated by individual instructors in their ability to marshal, analyze and synthesize information and present their results in a logical and understandable way.

 

 

Learning Objective Four

 

Students will accomplish a more intensive course of study in a specific sub-field and demonstrate a competency appropriate to Minnesota high and middle school teachers.

 

Expected Outcome of Objective Four

 

The mastery of content in a specific field appropriate to teachers and a demonstrated knowledge and skill base to facilitate further growth and development in teaching.

 

Assessment of Objective Four

 

The social science curriculum is geared toward the accomplishment of this objective. Successful work in upper division courses, especially in the studentŐs sub-field, demonstrate competency here. Conversations with the studentŐs advisor and the graduate transcript review also serve as useful tools of assessment.

 

Assessment Matrix

 

Measures

Objective 1

Objective 2

Objective 3

Objective 4

Use of Information

 

 

 

 

 

Review of the below information leads to adjustments in course and program design

In-class exercises – written and/or oral

 X

 X

X

X

Semi-annually

Advising sessions

 

 

 X

X

Semi-annually

Pre-grad survey

 X

 X

 X

 X

Annually in spring semester

Graduate transcript review

 X

 

 

X

Annually in spring semester

 

 

PRE-GRADUATION SURVEY QUESTIONS

 

1) Identify a specific class reading—article, book, book chapter--from any discipline within the social sciences that exemplifies how that discipline approaches scholarly inquiry. How and why is this work exemplary?


2) Compare and contrast two different disciplines in the social sciences in how each asks questions, employs theory and utilizes tools and methods.  What would you consider the strengths and weaknesses of each?

 

3) Identify a contemporary issue or concern of interest to social scientists. How has your understanding of this issue or concern developed and changed with your studies at UMM?


4) How would you convince an American fifteen-year-old of the value of studying the social sciences?

 

 

The following questions ask you to evaluate how much you have improved in each of the social science majorŐs goals:

 

1) Familiarity with the wide spectrum of social science disciplines and the perspective of each, their mode of inquiry and their various and rival theoretical approaches.

1                                 2                                 3                                 4                                 5                                 NA

None                                                           satisfactorily                                            exceptionally

Comment:

 

2)  The development of perspective and skills in the various social science disciplines and a competency in applying methods and theories to a wide variety of social science problems and issues, past and present.

 

1                                 2                                 3                                 4                                 5                                 NA

None                                                           satisfactorily                                            exceptionally

Comment:

3). The development of skills in oral and written communication.

 

 

1                                 2                                 3                                 4                                 5                                 NA

None                                                           satisfactorily                                           exceptionally

Comment:

 

4) The development of a knowledge base sufficient to teach on a middle or high school level.

1                                 2                                 3                                 4                                 5                                 NA

None                                                           satisfactorily                                            exceptionally

Comment: