Speech Communication 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. Speech communication discipline objectives. Students

i.      develop a historical and theoretical understanding of the three areas of speech communication: rhetoric, communication studies, and mass media

ii.     use a variety of assigned theoretical approaches appropriate to these three areas to describe and evaluate assigned or chosen discourse

iii.   participate in a variety of oral communication assignments using informative and persuasive speaking techniques effectively.

The summaries below draw primarily on the report for the 2006-2007 academic year. Discipline objectives have been assessed annually. The corresponding reports, similar to the 2006-2007 report, dating from the 2002-2003 academic year, are at UMMŐs discipline assessment web-site.[1]


         2. Rhetorical studies

         Discipline objectives i) and ii) were assessed for rhetoric. For the first objective, two expected outcomes were identified. Students will

á      be able to compare and evaluate various theoretical approaches

á      demonstrate a sensitivity to the historical dimensions of theory building.

Data was drawn from student papers, which were evaluated with respect to three criteria. The data set for the first objective was deemed too small to be of value. 

         For the second objective, an expected outcome was identified.

á      The students will be able to choose from a variety of methods to describe and evaluate a specific act or artifact.

Seven papers were assessed according to the same three criteria as for objective one. Students were ranked on a scale of 0-5 on their ability to cite and paraphrase sources, and to analyze discourse. The scores were averaged and recommendations made for program adjustments.[2]


         3. Communication studies

         Discipline objectives i) and ii) were assessed with the same expected outcomes as for rhetorical studies. Papers from two courses were reviewed but this time with respect to five criteria, the criteria reflecting crucial abilities and skills in communication studies. Once again, the students were rated on a 0-5 scale for each criterion, results averaged, and compared to performances from the previous year. Based on this assessment, recommendations were made for program adjustments.


         4. Media studies and technology

         Since the professor in this area was on sabbatical, this objective was not assessed in 2006-2007. The following describes the assessment in 2005-2006.[3] Objective number ii) was assessed for electronic mass media. The expected outcome was the same as for the second objective under rhetorical and communication studies. Papers were evaluated with respect to five criteria that once again measured crucial abilities and skills of students of electronic mass media. All relevant papers in the studentsŐ portfolios (vide infra) were reviewed. Once again, each criterion was evaluated on a five-point scale, results averaged, and compared to averages from previous years. The significance of the comparisons was discussed and recommendations made.


         5. Personal portfolios

         Students create personal portfolios which are evaluated collectively during the senior year.


         6. Speech communication senior seminar presentations

         Speech communication seminar in 2006-2007 provided the vehicle for assessing learning objective number iii) for the first time. There is an expected outcome.

á      The students will be able to design and deliver effective messages through the oral communication channel.

The effectiveness of each of eight student speakers was assessed with respect to ten criteria on a 0-4 numerical scale. The averaged results will be a benchmark against which future assessments can be measured. The results indicate four areas where the student performance was particularly strong and two where improvement is needed. Overall, Ňthe results do indicate that in the aggregate students in Speech Communication meet Learning Objective #3.Ó[4]


General education categories spanned by the discipline


            Almost all speech communication courses carry one of the following general education designators: E/CR, ethical and civic responsibility; Hum, communication, language, literature, and philosophy; IP, international perspective; SS, human behavior, social processes, and institutions; or HDiv, human diversity. Exceptions are directed study, directed experience in teaching speech communication, and speech communication seminar I, which have no general education designator.



[1] <http://www.morris.umn.edu/committees/asl/results/results.html>

[2] Details are in the speech communicationŐs discipline report in the appendices.

[3] This report is also in the appendices.

[4] 2006-2007 report, p. 6.