Assessment of Student Learning



Latin American Area Studies Discipline

SPRING, 2000

Phase I.

Unit Mission/Goal(s)

Please state your unit’s mission/goal(s):

To acquaint students with the cultures and societies of Lain America

Please describe how your unit mission/goal(s) relate to the institutional mission

1) To provide a basic introduction to the cultures and societies of Latin America

2) To provide the means essential to gain an understanding of Latin America and

its diverse peoples

3) To place Latin America in a comparative perspective.

 

Student Learning Objectives/Expected Outcomes

Learning Objective 1.

To provide a basic introduction to Latin American cultures and societies.

(1) At the completion of each unit of LAAS 3100, in addition to handing in your journal, prepare a separate typed list of the essays you read. A typical entry would read "Geog Area: Mexico; Source: Proceso (19 May 1999); Subject: PAN and Sonora elections. If you made an oral report on, please place an asterisk at beginning of item, e.g., "Geog..."

(2) For the final semester you're enrolled in LAAS 3100, your journal will not be returned, but retained as an example of the level of sophistication you've achieved.

(3) Your final take home exam for Hist 1601 will be retained.

(4) The list of topics developed for LAAS 4101, and the final list of topics and books read on those topics you've selected, will be typed up and submitted.

Expected Outcome 1.

A basic acquaintance with Latin American cultures and societies, past and present.

Learning Objective 2.

To provide the means essential to gain an understanding of Latin America and its diverse peoples.

(1) Maintain a cumulative list of those periodical and reference sources used in preparing LAAS assignments. This list might well begin with those examined in LAAS 3201. To be submitted prior to graduation.

(2) Maintain a cumulative list of Internet sites searched in preparing LAAS assignments. Due prior to Graduation.

(3) Submit a list of all courses taken for LAAS major. List should demonstrate that courses have been taken in 3 or more disciplines.

(4) If you have had one or more study abroad experiences in Latin America or internships working with US based Hispanics, please prepare a brief (not more than 1 page) description of that experience and relate how it enhanced your "understanding of Latin America and its diverse peoples."

Expected Outcome 2.

Acquisition of the means necessary to successfully study and understand Latin America and its diverse peoples.

Learning Objective 3.

To place Latin America in a comparative perspective.

(1) Prior to graduation make sure an up-to-date APAS is filed with the LAAS coordinator. This will demonstrate your course work which provides a basis for comparisons.

(2) Same as No. 4 under Objective 2, but add comments on how your frame(s) of comparison have deepened your understanding and on how your ability to empathize with Latin Americans has been enhanced.

(3) Same as No. 2 under Objective 1.

In addition to the above, we'll need to maintain a number of lists (probably will be updated at the end of each semester):

(1) UROPs and MAPs relating to Latin America undertaken by LAAS majors.

(2) LAAS student presentations relating to major.

(3)Honors and award won by LAAS majors relative to major.

(4) LAAS majors participation in discipline related study abroad experiences or internships.

Expected Outcome 3.

To be able to meaningfully compare Latin America with other world areas and for students to be able to empathize with Latin Americans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assessment Methods & Tools

Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 1.

Completion of Hist 1316 or its equivalent; participation in quarterly seminar (LAAS 3000 Contemporary Latin America); Completion of LAAS 3700 which requires majors to access their prior studies and then complete a series of readings which fill in gaps in their previous course work; Transcript will documents range of courses, and disciplinary perspectives.

Outcome 1

Starting Date for the Implementation:

In Progress

Anticipated Date for the First Results:

In Progress

Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 2.

Completion of LAAS 1700; participation in LAAS 3000 which is a C2 course; Spanish through Intermediate Spanish; frequent use of Spanish-language materials in LAAS 3000, as evidenced by students journals; completion of relevant course work in at least 3 different disciplines; study abroad is strongly encouraged (but not required because of additional financial burden; although it is unusual for a LAAS major to graduate without at least one such experience).

Outcome 2

Starting Date for the Implementation:

In Progress

Anticipated Date for the First Results:

in Progress

 

Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 3.

All course work focusing on Latin America implicitly and sometimes explicitly, stresses comparisons between different Latin American nations and subcultures, and between these and other national or world cultures. In particular, LAAS 3000 does so. Students invariably move from an ethnocentric position to varying degrees of empathy. Empathy is not easily measurable, but students in LAAS 3000 are repeatedly challenged to consider, then adopt, and empathetic point-of-view. Evidence for the comparative and empathetic is in LAAS 3000 journals and instructor’s observations of student’s progress in LAAS 3000 which employs the Socratic approach.

Outcome 3

Starting Date for the Implementation:

In Progress

Anticipated Date for the First Results:

Uncertain, as empathy is a state

never fully achieved

 

 

Phase II.

Use of Observed Outcomes and Possible Actions

Please comment on the possible use of the findings of your assessment plan.

(In responding to this question you may want to consider the following issues; how would the results of the assessment be communicated to faculty in you own and other disciplines? how could the results be used to improve the student learning and programs? how could the results produce input to other related processes (e.g., academic and nonacademic planning, curriculum review)? how could the results of the assessment change your unit’s mission/goal(s)? with which other units would you like to share the results of your assessment?)

 

1) Graduating seniors are requested to complete questionnaire assessing their LAAS learning experience. In 1997, 100% complied.

2) Seniors’ responses provide one basis for program review. These responses can be compared to end-of-quarter/semester teaching evaluations. Short-term evaluations can be compared to those given at the completion of the program: the differences may suggest either a previously undisclosed need for change or what appears in the short-term to be a difficulty is not given more mature reflection.

3) Findings of the assessment plan are but one more tool for constantly on-going evaluation and re-evaluation of the LAAS program.

4) Results will be shared as the need warrants.

 

The Implementation Needs

Please comment on the information and assistance necessary for the successful implementation of your assessment process.

(In responding to this question you may want to consider issues like; what are the other units (e.g., other disciplines, programs, administrators and/or committees that should produce input for the successful completion of your assessment cycle? what type of input do you need from other units? what should be the function of the Assessment of Student Learning Committee and Coordinator to increase the effectiveness of your unit’s assessment process? what type of support might your unit need for the planning and application of your assessment cycle?)

 

Our major concern is that assessment be cost-effective. Thus, we recommend that the Resources and Planning Committee review a resource needs proposal from the ASL Committee.

As will be the case with our Five-Year Program review, we will need assistance from the Office of Institutional Research, Alumni, and Career Planning and Placement to help us track subsequent experiences of our majors.

We are mindful that an expansion of assessment initiatives will come at the expense of other activities. We thus will expand such activities only when persuaded that the results warrant a retrenchment of other work--all of which we find important.

 

 

Phase III.

Application: Observed Outcomes

Please comment on your findings of the implementation of the assessment methods and tools.

(In responding to this question you may want to summarize your findings, provide data that supports your interpretations, discuss the validity of your results, and suggest ways of improving the methods and tools that you have used.)

 

1) This assessment process is so recent, it’s difficult to say anything very meaningful. However, obviously Five-Year Program reviews will incorporate.

2) The 1997 graduating seniors’ assessment strongly suggests LAAS program is admirable fulfilling its goals, and some earlier criticisms that have appeared on quarterly evaluations largely (in 1997, in fact, completely) dissipate when students assess programs’ final outcomes.

 

 

Actions Taken

Please comment on the actions that you have taken or planning to take based on your findings.

(In responding to this question you may want to consider the following issues; what other units were involved with the actions that you have taken? what was the impact of the actions that you have taken on the students’ learning? what other structures do you propose to increase the success of you actions?)

 

Since this assessment system has just begun, no actions have been taken. But, given 1997 seniors’ assessment revealing a very high level of satisfaction, little change is anticipated. Besides, since nearly all courses in the major (except LAAS 1700, 3000, and 3700) are under other discipline’s jurisdiction, and thus primarily serve those disciplines’ objectives, change can be quite a difficult and complicated matter.

 

 

Appendices

You may want to provide the following optional information that may be relevant to your unit’s assessment of student learning plan.

Number of degrees granted within the past 5 (or more) years

Major

Minor

Area of Concentration

Emphasis

Teacher Education

Please list the graduates of your program who are (were) in the graduate programs and provide approximate acceptance rate for your graduates.

 

Unknown, other than some annotated information. We lack the resources to track graduates.

Please list the post graduate activity of your students and provide approximate percentages for each group.

 

We are interested in student post-graduate activity, but lack the resources for systematic scrutiny.

 

Please list student publications in your program that took place within the past 5 (or more) years.

 

LAAS as a field does not lend itself to publication at the undergraduate level--scholarship requires an immersion in literature and primary sources that surpass expectation of undergraduate research. This is not an appropriate measure of student learning in LAAS.

 

Please list student projects in your program that have been implemented within the past 5 (or more) years, such as UROP, MAP, etc.

 

This type of information has not been systematically collected for LAAS students. We will begin to do so.

Please list student presentations/performances/artistic exhibitions in your program that took place within the past 5 (or more) years.

 

This type of information has not been systematically collected for LAAS students. We will begin to do so.

Please list honors and awards that the students in your program earned within the past 5 (or more) years.

 

This type of information has not been systematically collected for LAAS students. We will begin to do so.

Please comment on the success of your graduates on professional and graduate program exams.

 

We do not have access to this data and do not expect it to be helpful.

 

 

Please list participation of your students in special programs such as study abroad, internships etc.

 

This type of information has not been systematically collected for LAAS students. We will begin to do so.

Please present some case studies that present other learning outcomes not reflected elsewhere.

 

While tracking lifetime learning and enrichment, which in some manner reflectes undergraduate work in LAAS, is a commendable idea, we simply do not have the resources to undertake such an ambitious program even on a modest scale.