Program: Dance (MA, MFA)
Date: Fri Oct 16, 2009 - 1:01:47 pm
1) List your program's student learning outcomes (SLOs).
MA Plan A Option I Dance Ethnology
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the MA Plan A dance ethnology focus degree students should have gained, developed, and refined essential knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to successfully reach the following learning outcomes:
SLO 1:kinesthetic proficiency and conceptual understanding of various kinds of dance from diverse geographic regions, including understanding how dance is embedded in the belief systems of the people who create it, and how dance forms change and why;
SLO 2: effective oral and communication skills that demonstrate critical thinking ability and understanding of scholarly dance research concepts and related topics;
SLO 3: the ability to critically evaluate sources and clearly differentiate between one’s ideas and the ideas of others, particularly those of indigenous practitioners and scholars, and to respect divergent perspectives;
SLO 4: knowledge of the history, practices, and concepts of dance ethnology, including related published literature and current developments in the field;
SLO 5: ability to conduct and report on scholarly dance ethnology research in oral, written, and other forms;
SLO 6: ability to define individual goals and to choose appropriate pathways to achieve these goals.
MA Plan B Dance Education
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the MA Plan B dance education focus degree students should have gained, developed and refined essential knowledge, skills and experiences necessary to successfully reach the following learning outcomes.
SLO 1: kinesthetic proficiency and conceptual understanding of various kinds of dance from diverse geographic regions;
SLO 2: comprehensive knowledge of educational theories, best practices, related published literature and current developments in the field;
SLO 3: effective oral and written communication skills that demonstrate critical thinking ability and understanding of dance education concepts and related topics;
SLO 4: ability to critically evaluate sources and clearly differentiate between one’s ideas and the ideas of others;
SLO 5: ability to design curriculum that demonstrates understanding of appropriate sequential development, multiple learning modalities, content organization and effective assessment strategies
SLO 6: ability to asses one’s own teaching and the development of one’s students as related to Hawaii State and National educational standards;
SLO 7: ability to define individual goals and choose appropriate pathways to achieve those goals.
Student Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of the MFA Plan A degree students should have gained, developed and refined essential knowledge, skills and experiences necessary to successfully reach the following learning outcomes.
SLO 1: Kinesthetic proficiency and conceptual understanding of various kinds of dance from diverse geographic regions
SLO 2: Effective oral and written communication skills that demonstrate critical thinking ability and understanding of dance concepts and related topics.
SLO 3: Ability to critically evaluate sources and clearly differentiate between one’s ideas and the ideas of others
SLO 4: Knowledge of the meanings, practice, theory, history and production of dance; the ability to apply, respond, reference, relate and synthesize that knowledge; the ability to draw on this knowledge and prior experience in new settings/contexts.
SLO 5: Familiarity with dance styles from diverse geographic regions
SLO 6: Development of choreographic skills and a personal style that demonstrate original works, knowledge of compositional techniques, choreographic range and effective conceptualization and conveyance of intent.
SLO 7: Ability to define individual goals and choose appropriate pathways to achieve those goals
2) Where are your program's SLOs published?
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online:
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: NA
3) Upload your program's current curriculum map(s) as a PDF.
- File (03/16/2020)
4) What percentage of courses have the course SLOs explicitly stated on the course syllabus, department website, or other publicly available document? (Check one)
5) State the SLO(s) that was Assessed, Targeted, or Studied
MFA SLOs 1,2,3,4&6
6) State the Assessment Question(s) and/or Goal(s) of Assessment Activity
To what degree are MFA graduate students achieving target learning outcomes?
7) State the Type(s) of Evidence Gathered
1. On-Line Assessment Survey
Dance faculty completed an online assessment survey that evaluated individual student progress towards each degree SLO. The survey was created through surveymonkey.com. Each survey includes pop down windows where faculty selects individual students, academic year and term. The survey lists each SLO with a correlating rating scale of “needs growth, improving, satisfactory and excellent.” An N/A (not applicable) option is available in each category for instances where faculty members feel they have limited to no knowledge of a students progress towards a particular SLO. Surveys are analyzed through several filters to provide holistic and individual student results. (see sample survey page below)
2. Qualifying Project
MFA students are required to create and publicly present two original choreographic group works as qualifiers for their final thesis work. Qualifiers are presented to all faculty members and peers in a formal audition setting. All faculty members discuss and vote on each qualifier presented. MFA students work intimately with a faculty advisor through the qualifying process. Often students are required to submit multiple creative works before having any accepted as thesis qualifiers.
3. Comprehensive Exams and Oral Defense
All MFA students take a four-hour comprehensive exam based on self-generated questions that cover three different curricular focus areas. Students submit proposed exam questions to the full faculty at least one semester before planning to take the exam. Proposed exam questions go through multiple revisions based on faculty critiques. The student works with their thesis chair to revise and refine their questions. Once the full faculty approves the exam questions an official examination date is scheduled. The student will study six questions, though on exam day they will respond to only three. Two weeks after taking the exam a one to two hour oral defense occurs with full faculty.
3. Thesis project
All MFA students are required to present a creative performance thesis with accompanying written document and DVD. The MFA student works with a committee of three faculty members throughout their entire thesis project. A week or two after the creative thesis performance a formal discussion with the candidate and committee members occurs.
With recent revisions to degree SLOs the dance faculty realized the need to also revise portfolio requirements to make them more closely align. Along with better alignment to SLOs the faculty also wanted to a find ways to make the portfolio more meaningful for students and applicable for career placement. Portfolios are submitted eight weeks into the student’s final semester.
5. Exit interview:
Exit interviews with graduating students and full faculty occur during finals week of each semester. Students present portfolios and reflect on their creative and academic experiences throughout the program. During this academic year faculty targeted questions around degree SLOs.
8) State How the Evidence was Interpreted, Evaluated, or Analyzed
1. On-Line Survey:
The data from the online survey was categorized through several filters, allowing the data to be grouped for overall program assessment and individualized for individual student assessment. The professional program on Survey Monkey allowed us to select how we wanted the data analyzed or create our own data analysis filter. All dance faculty members were given the results of the survey. Students will be given a report on their individual progress towards each SLO.
2. Comprehensive Exams /Oral Defense
Comprehensive exams are taken on department computers so student entries are automatically stored and archived for faculty review. Once a student finishes an exam a copy is sent immediately to the faculty via email. Faculty then has two weeks to review exam and generate questions for the oral defense. Faculty often discuss amongst each other student responses prior to the oral defense. At the end of the oral defense the student is asked to leave the room so the faculty can discuss and vote to pass or not pass the student. Because each students set of questions are different there is not a standard assessment rubric used. There is a standard of writing competency that is assessed. The student returns to the room where the graduate adviser relays feedback to the student and often suggest future research questions and topic related resources.
3. Creative Performance Thesis and Qualifiers
The thesis committee regularly meets with the graduate student to give guidance and critiques. At the time of thesis presentation the full faculty vote on its pass or fail status. With each thesis project being unique to the individual thesis assessment is done primarily through faculty discussion along with a set of criteria that specifies components common to all thesis such as, required length of choreography, number of dancers, etc.
Reviewing of the portfolio is part of what generates questions for the exit interview. Final portfolios are turned in to the department chair. Portfolio evidence provides documentation of not only individual student growth, but a linear systemic view of program progression. The portfolio is another form of evidence that students are achieving desired SLOs.
5. Exit Interviews
Evidence from exit interviews is in the form of notes taken by the department chair as well as a formal anonymous exit survey. Students are given an opportunity to suggest how the program curriculum might be improved to increase overall effectiveness. Student testimonials gathered from the exit interview/survey is invaluable feedback for making decisions about curricular priorities and revisions.
9) State How Many Pieces of Evidence Were Collected
55 on-line surveys were submitted; two MFA candidates went through comprehensive exams, oral defense and creative thesis performance. Two thesis documents were collected.
10) Summarize the Actual Results
The online survey provided us with results from several areas: 1. How similarly or differently faculty members are assessing student progress. 2. How our students on a whole are rating high and or low in each SLO area. 3. How individual students are doing in relation to each SLO. 4. A means to provide students with a semesterly progress report. Comprehensive exam demonstrated that students need more assistance/practice with writing their exam questions as well as orally articulating their understandings in the oral defense. Portfolios revealed a need to revisit portfolio requirements to better unify what is being submitted particularly with written assessment component. Exit interviews and surveys indicated students desire to have more dance technique and Asain/Pacific dance opportunities. This suggestion has become an ongoing theme in student responses that the faculty is continually trying to address.
11) Briefly Describe the Distribution and Discussion of Results
The dance faculty as a whole participated in all assessment activities listed above, with a single faculty member leading each different assessment. Results of assessment activities were reviewed by faculty members at formal program meetings, through email discussions and debriefings that immediately followed particular assessment activities such as the auditioning of creative performance pieces. Assessment discussions centered on the evident areas of strength and weakness in our student outcomes. Often immediate action was put into place to address an area of weaknesses for an individual student. Action in the form of designating a faculty member to mentor the student, informing student of specific resources and opportunities to better support their program achievement and sharing all faculty comments directly with the student. Other assessment activities as with the on-line survey and portfolio involve longer faculty discussions to determine if revisions to degree curriculum and priorities need to be made.
Results of assessment activities are distributed to program faculty, students and publicly through performance events. The program assessment coordinator also generates an annual assessment report for university and general public access.
12) Describe Conclusions and Discoveries
The on-line assessment survey proves to be another useful tool in assessing student progress towards achieving degree SLOs, however there are many variables that impact the survey results that need to be addressed before future implementation. Variables such as students not taking courses in the same sequence, varying electives and students having differing numbers of semesters completed. The survey is being remodeled to try and increase its accuracy. The comprehensive exam and oral defense is a very thorough assessment of student understanding. Faculty discussions have been underway on how to continue to improve student portfolios so they best demonstrate achievement of SLOs. A small committee of faculty members is working on revising portfolio criteria. The exit interview and survey will continue to be a valuable assessment activity in our program. There is debate over how much to formalize and structure the exit interview. There is a concern that too much structure would prevent students from bringing up topics and or issues of their choosing, often the most valuable feedback comes from student driven dialogue.
13) Use of Results/Program Modifications: State How the Program Used the Results --or-- Explain Planned Use of Results
The faculty has realized that again our SLOs need further refinement and clarification. We feel it is necessary to better define the subjectivity that occurs with words such as “proficiency” and “effectively.” In order for us to be on the same page as a faculty we must come to a clearer agreement on what each SLOs means and is truly assessing. We realize that for the students sake we cannot change the SLOs every year, but internally we need to continue to revisit and refine them.
Faculty members have begun to more explicitly develop criteria for thesis qualifiers. Requirements and assessment of the thesis is well documented in our MFA graduate handbook, however the thesis qualifier needs more clarification.
A small committee of faculty members is working on revising portfolio criteria to better align with SLOs. One faculty member is organizing a student workshop on portfolio building and resume writing.
In addition to revising the on-line survey the faculty is brainstorming other ideas of how to provide summative and benchmark assessments of desired SLOs. The faculty is committed to finding ways of making the SLOs more meaningful to students and providing more ongoing feedback to help students become more self-aware of their individual learning progress.
14) Reflect on the Assessment Process
In the next academic year it will be important to designate more faculty time to discuss assessment activities. Spreading out faculty leadership in assessment activities will also improve our practice. Involving more student input on assessment design is another area we can improve on. Our program excels in the multiple ways we assess our students and very individualized feedback students receive.
15) Other Important Information
With multiple faculty members within our department retiring this current academic year our program is faced with temporary position vacancies that the remaining faculty will attempt to fill in where feasible; hence having the extra time wanted for assessment development will become extremely limited.