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Internal Assessment Grant

Summer Assessment Grant 2016 Recipients

Congratulations to our 2016 grant recipients on their hard work and dedication to improving assessment efforts in their programs. Below you will find summaries of the work they completed. The 2016 grant recipients are available to answer questions about their assessment projects and the proposal process.


Nicole Bouvier-Brown and Lambert Doezema developed an entrance exam for Chemistry students going into the department’s freshmen general chemistry courses. The exam is administered online through Blackboard, which means that future students could potentially take it prior to the summer freshmen orientation session. The exam will allow the department to better understand the level of knowledge with which students are entering the program and – through administration of another assessment at the end of the course – what types of gains in knowledge the course is facilitating. The department also plans to explore whether course performance can be predicted from certain exam questions.


Humanities faculty members Alexandra Neel and Aine O’Healy developed a rubric for the Humanities program’s capstone project, as well as a rubric to assess the program’s oral presentation final. Three faculty members from BCLA applied the capstone rubric to three years of capstone projects, collecting invaluable data about their students’ level of learning in several key areas. The Humanities Program is going through the Academic Program Review process beginning fall 2016. They will include the information they collected as direct evidence of their students’ achievement of program outcomes, and will use it to inform future actions.   


In concert with a revision to the undergraduate Finance curriculum, David Offenberg initiated a review of the major’s learning outcomes. Following a review of the literature and a study of learning outcomes at peer and aspirational universities, a new set of learning outcomes was proposed. The finance faculty then met to further refine the learning outcomes to ensure that they were realistic, clearly stated, achievable, assessable, and stemmed from overarching program goals. They also worked to create a curriculum map that shows where in the new curriculum the new learning outcomes are introduced, reinforced, and assessed.


Led by Stuart Ching and Michael Datcher, the English Department’s Assessment Committee developed an assessment plan comprising two strands: an annual spring assessment targeting student writing in specific areas of the English curriculum, and periodic assessments informing or emerging from Academic Program Review (APR) cycles. The annual writing assessment will ensure departmental accountability and continuity among different departmental administrations, and the periodic assessment will enable the department to connect assessment to program/curricular changes and pedagogical questions arising from APR cycles. Both will help the Department realize and sustain an ongoing culture of assessment.


Led by Vanessa Newell, faculty in the Production department applied a rubric to films from two sections of a graduate course – one offered prior to a pilot change in the design of the course and one offered after. The department wanted to examine whether allowing students to incorporate dialog into their first year film impacted the films’ visual quality. Faculty involved in the project engaged in a norming session prior to scoring to promote consistent application across assessors, and will present their findings to the faculty as a whole in fall 2016. The department will take what they learned from the project into consideration in deciding whether to make the change permanent, investigate a different curricular change, or revert back to the original curriculum.