The entire program is reviewed by faculty, students and staff on an annual basis, with extensive review meetings in the 3rd and 6th years. The data are derived from a variety of sources including regular surveys, pre and post-program testing, limited interviews with students, and faculty input via regular committee and review sessions. We also often poll our students as specific issues arise, and we occasionally use some time in a core course to capture most of the students at a given level in order to ask programmatic questions such as how we can get more pre-majors involved in the NSCS community, what the obstacles to involvement are, what events they would like to see, and what programmatic changes they would like to see. The results of these surveys in the past were used for developing events, for helping us to get pre-majors more involved, and for inducing us to develop the First-year Colloquium to address many of the issues that had been obstacles to both student success and student involvement.
Our assessment efforts reflect both our own and the university's commitment to using a process that enables us to continually and dynamically improve the quality of our programs. To examine the university's overall assessment effort, see the Office of Instruction and Assessment.
NSCS Student Learning Outcomes Assessment
An important part of our academic assessment effort is determining that we are providing the students with the academic opportunities that need to meet the learning outcomes that we have set out for the program. We have established 3 learning outcomes for the NSCS program:
- Core knowledge-specific content
- Scientific inquiry
- Ethics and professionalism
The NSCS program uses multiple approaches to assess student learning outcomes, some direct and some indirect. Some are at the program level and some are at the course level. Some are administered on a regular schedule; others are ad hoc as we see a concern or issue to be addressed.
- Course-level learning outcome assessment
- Program-level learning outcome assessment
- End-of-program assessments