A. Assessment (Gen Ed Perspective courses):
There are several Gen Ed philosophy
perspective courses, and there is much variability from one
instructor’s course to another’s. Accordingly, each instructor will
assess his/her courses using tools appropriate to that course,
including surveys and exams. Course variability notwithstanding, a
common core of learning in each perspective course will also be
identified and assessed by a generic test (e.g. in Intro to Ethics and
Thinking Intelligently). This should also include writing samples
(early and later) from each student to help in course assessment and,
for philosophy majors and minors, in program assessment.
Similar methods of assessment will be
used by the philosophy department as the university begins the
transition to the new Gen Ed program in 2004.
B. Assessment (Programmatic):
1. Philosophy majors and minors, in their final
year, will be given a comprehensive exam to measure their achievement
regarding #1 and #2 above. Students’ written work (papers from Great
Philosophers course or some other upper level course) will also be
used as part of the AO.
2. Philosophy majors and minors, in their final
year, will be given a questionnaire to ascertain achievement regarding
3. Philosophy alumni and other alumni who have
taken more than one philosophy course at PSC will be surveyed
regarding achievement of objectives pertaining to #4 above.
The PSC Department of Philosophy
will begin to assess its program’s effectiveness in the 2003-04 year.
While we believe that assessment will be useful, we are mindful of
philosophy’s unique subject matter and nature which make attempts to
quantify and measure educational achievement somewhat problematic. The
American Philosophical Association has given this subject special
thought, and we note their words of caution in a recent publication (Proceedings
and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 1996,
Vol. 69, No. 2, pp. 94-95):
The APA is concerned that
requirements placed upon departments of philosophy and upon individual
instructors to implement OA [outcomes assessment] in its more
radically conceived recent guises .. may be neither well warranted nor
pedagogically wise. We observe that little work would appear to have
been done to assess the value of OA itself in improving teaching and
learning. It is moreover pointless to prepare extensive assessment
programs in the absence of evidence that the means of assessment
already iin place can be improved upon with tangible educational
benefits great enough to justify the costs and other disadvantages.
...The APA urges administrators and
public officials to be judicious and reasonable in applying the
concept , however; to recognize practical application; to consider
whether the means of assessment already in place at an institution can
actually be improved upon; and to give due regard to the important
fact that some of the most important sorts of education cannot be
captured by Outcomes Assessment, and indeed, may be endangered by it.