Anthropology Discipline Assessment 2006-2007


Scope of assessment activities

         ___√__Course-embedded assessment

                     ___√___ Pre- and post-testing

         ______ Outside the classroom

         ______ Across the discipline

Direct measures of student learning

         ___√__ Capstone experience

         ______ Portfolio assessment

         ______ Standardized tests

         ______ Performance on national licensure, certification or

                     preprofessional exams

         ______ Qualitative internal and external juried review of

                     of comprehensive senior projects

         ______ Externally reviewed exhibitions and performances in

                     the arts

         ______ External evaluation of performance during internships


Discussion and Description

Discipline goals, direct measures, and improved student learning


         1. Anthropology discipline goals. The goals of the discipline are to

      acquaint students with the concerns, theories, and methods of the discipline through comparative understanding of the range of human societies in both humanistic and scientific terms

      enhance student competency in applying anthropology as a science

      provide students with competency in a major subfield of anthropology that addresses biological variation, human evolution, and the human capacity to create culture.

The sociology curriculum supplements anthropology.


         2. Course-embedded assessment. Pre- and post-test.

         Physical anthropology. Physical anthropology, the study of human biology in the framework of evolution, is a major subfield of anthropology. This course satisfies the science lab general education requirement.

         The course seeks to develop student understanding in three broad areas:

i.      the biological basis of human life through the study of genetic inheritance, human adaptation, and variation

ii.     the study of living non-human primates and their social behavior

iii.   the principles of evolution as well as the evolutionary history of fossil anthropoids, hominoids, and ancestral humans.

All three areas were assessed by using pre- and post-testing methods. The tests consisted of a string of concrete questions that looked at different aspects of the area.

         For the first area, for example, the pre- and post-test focus was on five aspects of the relationship of human adaptation and variation to the notion of human race. Learning strategies between the pre- and post-test included laboratory exercises such as precise cranio-facial measurements, besides in-class lecture and discussion, and out-of-class reading. The pre- and post-test consisted of questions to assess student learning in each of the five aspects of this relationship. The instructor recorded the frequency with which students demonstrated that they had achieved each learning objective.

         The assessment for the other two areas was similarly designed and implemented.[1]

         The instructor has implemented a number of new learning strategies for the course based on student performance over the past few years. The assessment outlined above and presented in detail in the full report in the appendices was first used in the fall of 2006.


General education categories spanned by the discipline


            Anthropology courses carry one of the following general education designators: SS, human behavior, social processes, and institutions; Sci-L, physical and biological sciences, with lab; HDiv, human diversity; IP, international perspective; Envt, people and the environment; or E/CR, ethical and civic responsibility. Exceptions are directed study, seminar in anthropological theory, and senior seminar, which bear no general education designator.



[1] The full report is in the appendices. It identifies concretely the aspects that were evaluated and the frequencies with which students met learning objectives.