Assessment – Courses and Program

The Department of Physics has initiated a systematic and systemic approach to assessment. Assessment has a multitude of definitions. However, the one definition that seems to encompass all the relevant components of learning and continued learning is:

Assessment is the process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order to develop a deep understanding of what students know, understand, and can do with their knowledge as a result of their educational experiences; the process culminates when assessment results are used to improve subsequent learning.” – Huba, M. E. and Freed, J. E. (2000).  Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses — Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning. Boston, Allyn and Bacon.

True assessment should direct attention to what is important in the educational process, what students do and how they do it, and how they can demonstrate that they can continue that process of learning and enhancing their own lives and careers. Let us recall that the word education comes from the Latin origin: educare – to draw out. There have been many innovations in assessment such as portfolio assessment, self- and peer assessment, authentic assessment and so on, however they seem to focus more on what can be measured, and how reliable and valid the tests are, but less on the processes of learning and on how students will learn after the assessment. Such a process of assessment should also train students to develop their own set of assessment related practices that they will be able to use throughout their lives.

Our approach combines the existing techniques with a view of integrating the results into a framework that allows us to gauge into an individual student’s learning during the semester.

1. Departmental Level Assessment
Retreat 2006 – Agenda and State of the Department

2. Course Level Assessment

3. Program Level Assessment

4. Inter-Departmental Level Assessment

Relevant Documents
Physics Faculty Roster
Department Goals and Activities 2008-2009

Useful Resources – Physics Assessment:

  1. Physics Assessment 2007-2008 Report, College of Science, Marshall University (A good example to emulate)
  2. Assessment of Physics Teaching Methods, by Richard R. Hake, Indiana University
  3. Assessing-To-Learn: Formative Assessment in Physics Instruction, Robert J. Dufresne and William J. Gerace, The Physics Teacher — October 2004 — Volume 42, Issue 7, pp. 428-433
  4. Physics Assessment Presentation 2006, Delta College
  5. Physics Assessment Plan, Weber State University
  6. Physics Assessment, Utah State University
  7. Job Description for Curriculum & Assessment Specialist (Physics/Physical Science)
  8. Classroom Assessment in Physics and Astronomy: The Good, the Bad, and the Tested, Michael Zeilik
  9. Approach to Learning and Assessment in Physics, Leslie Dickie
  10. Assessing-To-Learn: Formative Assessment in Physics Instruction, Robert J. Dufresne and William J. Gerace
  11. Using concept mapping for assessment in physics, Lydia B Austin et al 1995 Phys. Educ. 30 41-45
  12. Portfolios for Learning and Assessment in Physics, Timothy F. Slater
  13. Assessment and Evaluation
  14. A physics quiz for intelligent undergraduates

Useful Resources – General:

  1. TAMU Training Workshop – Lorraine Phillips, Prudence Merton, Larissa Pchenitchnaia
  2. Bibliography on Assessment and Quality in Student Learning


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