Paper No. 262-11
Presentation Time: 4:35 PM
ASSESSING UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH AS PEDAGOGY
Undergraduate research programs can be evaluated to assess student gains, mentor experiences, and determine the overall success and impact of the program. Faculty involved in mentoring students conducting research and coordinators running larger research programs often collect formative evaluation data to inform decisions for improving the program and summative evaluation data that are used to document the impact and success of the program. Instruments and methodology available to assess the impact of undergraduate research range from largely perception based to those evaluations that strive to anchor perceptions to observations and behaviors. Some methodologies facilitate structured conversations between the students and mentors so each has an opportunity to share their experiences and better help students explore their strengths and weaknesses. While smaller scale programs may not have the resources to hire an external/independent evaluator, there are many benefits to partnering with an evaluator to ensure that the data are collected by someone independent of the research activity and that the data can be analyzed and reported using appropriate statistical measures. This presentation introduces the audience to resources available on the assessment page of On the Cutting Edge Undergraduate Research (http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/undergraduate_research/assessment_pedagogy.html). Included are examples of techniques such as reflective journaling, interviews/focus groups, and rubrics for evaluating posters, papers, or presentations at meetings. Buffalo State's evaluation methodology for measuring student learning and related outcomes in a summer research program also is described ((http://www.buffalostate.edu/undergraduateresearch/x561.xml). Four years of data demonstrate that this evaluation provides a reliable assessment of impact and contributes to advancing student intellectual and professional growth.