Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
PROGRAM ASSESSMENT OF A B.S. IN GEOLOGY
Faculty members in the Department of Earth Science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) have been involved in mandated program assessment of our B.S. degree in Geology since 1995. We believe that the strengths of our assessment plan are the well-focused, measurable learning objectives and the use of multiple measurements of each objective, including the use of formative, summative, direct, and indirect tools. For example, our learning Objective 4 states that students will be able to construct and interpret geologic maps and geologic cross-sections, evaluate models of geometry of rock units at depth, and graphically present surface and subsurface geologic and topographic data. This objective is assessed in three stages in the geology major's career. Students are first exposed to geologic mapping and cross-section construction in Geologic Methods (ERSC 2320) during their sophomore year. Students spend several weeks learning basic field techniques, including geologic mapping. They construct cross sections depicting subsurface structure based on the geologic map and present the maps, cross-sections, and the geologic history of the area in poster format. Objective 4 is assessed again in the laboratory portion of Structural Geology (ERSC 3330) usually taken in the junior year, where more complex maps, cross sections, and other structures are introduced. Throughout the semester, students solve various laboratory exercises related to a geologic map. Late in the semester, students synthesize this information into a written summary of the geologic and structural history of an area. Objective 4 is also assessed during Field Camp (ERSC 4626). Students take this course through another university and therefore this course functions to provide us with an external assessment of our students. A score of 70% on each assessment tool is considered the minimum acceptable for meeting this objective. Our primary assessment weakness stems from the small number of geology majors in our upper-level classes where most of the assessment is occurring. The development of a nationally normed, standardized examination would be extremely useful in the maturation of our assessment efforts.