USD Internal Assessment Grants

In a continuing effort to recognize the work of assessment as critically important, this program is co-sponsored jointly by the CAS-Dean’s office and the Provost’s office as way of providing support to faculty.  Now that we have several years of assessment under our belts, we are seeing an important shift in the way several programs understand and are beginning to use the process. In our initial efforts, many of us assumed that the goal was “accountability” but in the last round of reports, it is clear that some programs have taken assessment to the next level. They have used their assessment committees to pose researchable questions about some aspect of student learning, and have consequently changed their plans and approaches to reflect this shift.  We believe that the grants from this program can reinforce the approach to assessment as curricular research within your own departmental plan.   It can also provide unique opportunities to expand your own research agendas to include the scholarship of teaching and learning as rapidly growing areas of research across disciplines in higher education.  Key assessment research projects will answer critical questions you raise about your curriculum.  Here are some possible examples:

  • Development of a specific rubric for departmental outcomes; for example, creating a holistic rubric that combines reading comprehension, critical analysis, and writing.
  • Creation of levels of learning for a program-level rubric that will help the department to distinguish learning at lower-division and upper-division levels.
  • Development of outcomes and curricular map of courses for a new major or minor (with program-level support).
  • Comparison of outcome analysis with students’ perceptions of outcome achievement from a departmental senior survey.
  • Comparison of systematic differences in effects using various pedagogical approaches.
  • Comparison of objective measure (test) of a competency triangulated with departmental assessment of same competency (e.g., critical thinking test scores with rubric-evaluated essays employing critical thinking).
  • Investigating the cost-benefit trade of administering the Major Field Test or similar discipline-based objective examination.
  • Pilot of a portfolio project.
  • Pilot of an assessment project for adjuncts teaching a basic course.

In future terms, we will post synopses of the funded projects for your review.