from :Department of History Faculty Handbook

 

 

PART II.        ASSESSMENT

 

          A.       Area E of the Core Curriculum: World and U.S. Survey Courses


 

EXPECTED OUTCOME


Ability to identify forces of change and continuity in human society (knowledge), and to provide orally and in writing an analysis of those forces (perspective).


MEASURABLE RESULTS


Undergraduates can identify and analyze five individuals, events or forces which have had considerable historical significance.


ASSESSMENT METHOD


A sample of students, selected at random, will be asked to complete a student satisfaction survey and an essay on the desired result, stated above. These will be read and then discussed with the participants in a collective and collegial setting.


PART II. ASSESSMENT


          B.       Major Field of History: Assessment


BACKGROUND


          The Department of History seeks to provide students with an understanding of the interplay of fact and interpretation in historical studies through a diversity of courses in United States and world history. The larger purpose is, in the words of R.G. Collingwood, human self-knowledge. In addition, the major in history provides a quintessential liberal arts background for a variety of careers and avocations.


          Our model draws on the American Historical Association report on "Liberal Learning and the History Major" (Perspectives, May 1990), supplemented by literature from the University System of Georgia, and the insights of this department.


          The Department offers one undergraduate degree program, the Bachelor of Arts Degree.

 

Learning Outcomes

Students completing the Bachelor of Arts degree in History will:

a.       demonstrate a general knowledge of United States and World History. They will be able to classify and describe varieties of historical knowledge and demonstrate the relationship of geography to history;

b.      demonstrate an understanding of the major schools of historical thought (historiography) and a general understanding of historical causation;

c.       apply historical research methods to produce independent works through the use of primary and secondary sources and will be able to evaluate the results;

d.      demonstrate the ability to think critically about and to analyze selected historical materials;

e.       demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively both in written and oral form.

EXPECTED RESULTS

 

1.       Each graduate will be able to demonstrate through one written examination a satisfactory knowledge of the content of history and of the varieties of historical approaches.

 

2.       Each graduate will be able to demonstrate the abilities outlined in the Learning Outcomes above through the preparation of an essay, and giving an oral presentation.


ASSESSMENT METHODS

 

1.       Each History major will take a Sophomore-level course, HIST 2302: The Historian’s Craft: Methodology. Students in the course are encouraged to draw on the entire Department in improving their methodological skills. A written examination, essay in nature, will be given at the outset of the course, to be evaluated by two or more instructors, covering knowledge obtained in the United States, European and World surveys, and their general background for upper-level work in history. This will be used as a baseline for comparing work to be done in the capstone Senior Seminar (HIST 4484). (The examination is not part of the course grade for HIST 2302.)

(LEARNING OUTCOMES a, b)

 

2.       Each History major will submit an analytical essay in the capstone Senior Seminar offered each Spring Semester, which will display both a knowledge of history and of historiography in exploring a theme proposed by the Seminar's coordinator. Students are expected to draw on any appropriate member of the Department in preparing the essay. The essay will be evaluated by two or more Department members most proficient in the specific area of inquiry.

(LEARNING OUTCOMES c,d,e)

 

3.       Each History major will give an oral presentation in the capstone Senior Seminar, to be evaluated by at least two members of the Department.

(LEARNING OUTCOME e)

 

4.       Graduating seniors will complete a questionnaire, evaluating the History major at West Georgia, with the opportunity to make suggestions for future improvement in the program.

(LEARNING OUTCOMES a-e)

 

5.       The Department will conduct a survey of History graduates every third year through its Department Newsletter. In addition, it will seek to target those students who graduated five years before through individual letters. The students will be asked to evaluate their education at West Georgia, with specific reference to the History major, and to suggest ways in which the program might be improved.

(LEARNING OUTCOMES a-e)



ADMINISTRATION AND USE OF ASSESSMENT


          The Methodology course and the Senior Seminar are Departmental courses, with rotating instructors, which draw on the personnel of the entire Department. All assessment activities will involve at least two evaluators from the History faculty.


          The examination given at the outset of the Methodology course, a copy of the analytical essay, a report on the oral presentation (and in time to come information from alumni) will be deposited by the History faculty with the Department Chair. He will organize the material, and present it to the Department at a special Department meeting to be held each Fall Semester. This will become the basis for any action the Department will take in revising its assessment instruments or in making programmatic improvements.


                                                     May 1, 1994 [rev. 2/02]



PART II. ASSESSMENT


          C.       Assessment Plan for Master of Arts in History


LEARNING OUTCOMES SOUGHT


          The M.A. in History at West Georgia has for its primary purpose the development of a more sophisticated understanding of the discipline of history for the post-baccalaureate student accepted into our master's program.

Graduate Program: Master’s Degree:

 Students completing the Master of Arts Degree in History, through the completion of the thesis or non-thesis program will:

a.       demonstrate the ability to undertake advanced historical research;

b.      show basic familiarity with historical literature in major and minor fields of study;

c.       demonstrate an understanding of historiography and its permutations over time;

d.      be able to identify and describe career options in the field of history;

e.       demonstrate a knowledge of the theory and ethics of public history [for Public History concentration];

f.        demonstrate knowledge of the standards and practices for at least two fields in public history [for Public History concentration];

g.       apply practical skills in at least two fields of public history [for Public History concentration].

[Revised 2/02]

METHODS OF ASSESSING STUDENTS' ACHIEVEMENT

 

          1.       To assess research and writing skills, a paper is required in the historiography seminar (the one course required of all history M.A. students). (Learning outcomes a,b,c)

 

          2.       Also in the historiography class each student must present one or more oral reports based on his or her reading and research. (Learning outcomes a,b,c)

 

          3.       All members of the Department have been periodically invited to participate in the Historiography Seminar. (Learning outcome d)

 

          4.       To obtain an overall assessment of the entire M.A. program in history, each student completing an M.A. has taken a written and/or oral examination, given by three professors.

 

          5.       For those electing to write a Master's Thesis, the thesis also has been a major instrument of evaluation. Three professors have engaged in this evaluation as well.


HOW ASSESSMENT HAS BEEN USED TO IMPROVE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE M.A. PROGRAM IN HISTORY


          Members of the History Graduate Studies Committee have participated in the ongoing evaluations of the program, along with the Department Chair, and have:

 

          1.     expanded participation of Department members in the Historiography Seminar.

 

          2.     increased the number of 6000-level offerings in History to at least one per semester (with the exception of summer semester) and have offered them at night at the request of students.

 

          3.     emphasized the research and writing component of the M.A. program in history, to encourage more students to write the thesis (especially if later desiring to enter a Ph.D.program)

                4.     instituted an effective and popular Public History program (1997)                         and Museum Studies Certificate program.                               

 

October, 1995 [rev. 2/02]


____________________________________________________

Department members are encouraged to use assessment results in revising teaching methods and course materials.