Contemporary Ethical Issues (ETH) 2010-2011 assessment project FAQs

Why is this project being done?

Faculty members are committed to improving their programs, including General Education, through program assessment. The faculty members on the Contemporary Ethical Issues (ETH) Focus Board will use the results of this project to improve the ETH program.In addition, WASC requires that Mānoa assess its General Education program. This project will provide evidence that Mānoa is in compliance with accreditation requirements.

What will be done with the results?

The goal of program assessment is program improvement or evolution. Thus the results will be reported in the aggregate; no individual results will be available. The faculty on the ETH Focus Board and in the Assessment Office will interpret the aggregate results and use them to guide ETH program improvements as needed. A report of the project will be available online and used as part of Mānoa’s evidence to support its re-accreditation.

The results will not be used to evaluate an individual student, professor, or academic program. The results will not affect a faculty member’s current ETH designation on a course.

Can I turn in more than one assignment for each student?

Yes. We will accept a collection of a student’s work.

What type of assignment or exam should be turned in?

All types of written documents: in-class writing, journal entries, Power Point slides, essays, etc. At this time, we cannot accept video or audio recordings of student performances because we cannot maintain anonymity.

Where do I send the students’ work? What’s the deadline?

Send to the Assessment Office, HAW 107 or

Deadline: May 21, 2010

What will be done with the student work?

First, all student and instructor identifiers will be removed. Then a group of faculty members will evaluate the student work using the Contemporary Ethical Issues Rubric. After the scoring session, the student work will be destroyed except for eight to sixteen samples of student work that represent different levels of achievement. These eight to sixteen samples (without student and course identifiers) will be available in the Assessment Office for ETH program-level faculty development and accreditation purposes; they will be secured in the Assessment Office and not copied or distributed.

What will be done with the exam questions and assignment guidelines?

In the 2009 pilot study, faculty agreed that the exam or assignment guidelines or a summary of them would improve their ability to reliably score the student work. The Assessment Office will collect the exam questions and assignment guidelines and the faculty scorers will read them as they evaluate the student work. No course identifiers will be included. The Assessment Office will destroy the submitted materials except for eight to sixteen that will be used in conjunction with the student work that exemplifies different levels of achievement.

How were the students selected?

Random selection. By randomly selecting students we are more likely to get a representative sample of students in spring 2010 ETH sections.

Can I get my students’ results?

No. It will be impossible to identify students and professors. Results will be reported in the aggregate.

Who will evaluate the student work?

Faculty members who have recently taught a course with the ETH designation will be invited to be part of the scoring team. The scoring will take place in spring 2011. If you would like to be a faculty scorer, please contact the Assessment Office at

Why is this rubric being used? Who choose the rubric?

The faculty members on the ETH Focus Board developed the rubric. In 2007, the board members gathered examples of successful classroom rubrics and drafted the program ETH rubric. In 2008 all faculty who had recently taught an ETH course received the rubric and were asked to complete a survey on the rubric (see full report). In 2009, two groups of faculty who had recently taught an ETH course applied the rubric to samples of student work and offered suggestions (see full report).

Did the Committee on Human Studies approve this project?

The Committee on Human Studies stated that this project does not fall under the category of research and thus the Institutional Review Board (IRB) does not need to review this project. This project involves normal educational practices and the results will be used for internal campus improvement purposes and reported in the same way as graduation rates and grade point averages (i.e., in the aggregate). A signed consent form is not needed because the students and professors will be anonymous.

Although IRB review is not needed, the Assessment Office takes steps to ensure that the people involved are treated with courtesy and respect, risks to people involved are minimized and benefits maximized, and non-exploitive procedures are fairly administered. The Assessment Office removes personal identifiers so that no person can be identified; anonymity is guaranteed; results are used to improve the ETH program; there is no effect on individual students whose work is discussed by the faculty; student work is never publicly shared; exams and assignments created by the faculty are made public only after the faculty member agrees and has the right to rescind permission at any time without penalty.

Do students need to sign consent forms?

No. The Committee on Human Subjects stated that students do not need to sign consent forms. To protect the individuals who submit materials, the Assessment Office will remove all personal identifiers and students and the professors will be anonymous. The results will be reported only in the aggregate, which is commonly done by the University. (Note: This project does not fall under the category of research and thus the Institutional Review Board did not review this project.)

What is project timeline? (updated Feb 2011)

Dec 2009Notify faculty teaching an ETH course about the project
Jan 2010Remind faculty about the project
Feb 2010Send faculty the names of randomly selected students
Feb-June 2010Faculty submit student work to the Assessment Office
January 2011Recruit faculty to be part of the scoring team
March 2011Faculty score the student work
Sept 2011Present results to the ETH Focus Board
Sept 2011Create an improvement plan to improve the ETH program, as needed
Sept 2011Implement improvement plan, as needed