Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 10:40 AM
EVALUATING THE ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING IN THE GEOSCIENCES
Without question the Accountability Movement that has so transformed primary and secondary education in the United States is now gaining ever greater influence in the American higher education system. The vocal demands from university stakeholders for evidence of student learning, coupled with growing pressure from for-profit and proprietary degree offering institutions (I shudder to call them Universities) is leading to greater pressure to create and implement meaningful assessments of student learning. In an effort to address these growing demands, some have once again called for the creation of an accrediting body in the geosciences. While this notion is not without some merit, it raises important questions about the current status of program review and assessment among geoscience departments nation-wide. To begin to assess the status of assessment among geoscience departments, all 352 academic units listed in the AGI directory were contacted and asked to share details of their program review policy and assessment documents. Responses were received from 105 departments, with 38 having some form of assessment available for review. Only one institution, Washington University of Saint Louis, declined to share their assessment plan. The returned documents are evaluated for commonality in structure, content, and objectives. Additionally, on-going efforts to map the undergraduate degree programs at all 352 departments will be reviewed.