According to the most recent academic Department Survey, more than eight out of 10 sociology departments carry out departmental assessments that are often demanded by college or university administrators. Faculty members have mixed feelings about doing such assessments, especially when they are ordered from the top down.
The ASA Research Department on the Discipline and the Profession has just added a new PowerPoint presentation—Program Assessment with Benchmarks: Using Data from the ASA—to our collection of free downloads. The presentation describes how ASA resources—especially data collected from our Bachelor’s and Beyond Survey, can be used to “solve” common assessment problems. These problems include the following:
- Lack of faculty time to work on assessment
- Lack of departmental consensus about what should be assessed
- Lack of student commitment to engage seriously in assessment activities
- Lack of comparative data
- Concern about reliance on “self reports”
The presentation provides examples of how these survey data can be used and how they can be enhanced through combining them with questions that test students’ conceptual and methodological knowledge.
An example of data on assessment activities.
Source: Spalter-Roth and Scelza, 2009. What’s Happening in Your Department with Assessment? Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.
We’d like to hear from you about the issues that you are having with doing assessments. Also, are you adapting or have adapted the Bachelor’s and Beyond survey or other ASA data for your department’s assessment needs? If so, how? Was this effort successful?