Unit: Physics & Astronomy
Program: Astronomy (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Fri Oct 09, 2015 - 1:47:44 pm

1) Institutional Learning Objectives (ILOs) and Program Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

1. Apply basic physical principles from a broad range of topics in physics to astronomical situations

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2b. Conduct research)

2. Be able to formulate scientific problems in mathematical terms and apply analytical and numerical methods towards its solution

(1a. General education, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment, 3d. Civic participation)

3. Develop skills to design observing projects with research telescopes and projects drawing upon data in the literature and in archives

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research)

4. Establish competence in focused areas of astrophysical theory and experiment

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2b. Conduct research)

5. Generate fluency in the scientific enterprise and awareness of possible career paths available to the undergraduate astronomy and astrophysics major

(1a. General education, 1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2b. Conduct research, 2c. Communicate and report, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3d. Civic participation)

2) Your program's SLOs are published as follows. Please update as needed.

Department Website URL: manoa.hawaii.edu/astronomy
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: manoa.hawaii.edu/astronomy/learning-objectives/
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online:

3) Please review, add, replace, or delete the existing curriculum map.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2015:

4) For your program, the percentage of courses that have course SLOs explicitly stated on the syllabus, a website, or other publicly available document is as follows. Please update as needed.


5) Did your program engage in any program learning assessment activities between June 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015?

No (skip to question 16)

6) What best describes the program-level learning assessment activities that took place for the period June 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015? (Check all that apply.)

Create/modify/discuss program learning assessment procedures (e.g., SLOs, curriculum map, mechanism to collect student work, rubric, survey)
Collect/evaluate student work/performance to determine SLO achievement
Collect/analyze student self-reports of SLO achievement via surveys, interviews, or focus groups
Use assessment results to make programmatic decisions (e.g., change course content or pedagogy, design new course, hiring)
Investigate curriculum coherence. This includes investigating how well courses address the SLOs, course sequencing and adequacy, the effect of pre-requisites on learning achievement.
Investigate other pressing issue related to student learning achievement for the program (explain in question 7)

7) Briefly explain the assessment activities that took place in the last 18 months.

Our main activity in the past 18 months has been to develop a detailed map for the Astronomy and Astrophysics curricula.  A draft is currently available at http://manoa.hawaii.edu/astronomy/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Astrophysics-curriculum-map-draft-2.pdf.  Although this is still a work in progress, we have already used it to inform the content of our courses as we continue to roll out the new Astronomy and Astrophysics majors.

8) What types of evidence did the program use as part of the assessment activities checked in question 6? (Check all that apply.)

Direct evidence of student learning (student work products)

Artistic exhibition/performance
Assignment/exam/paper completed as part of regular coursework and used for program-level assessment
Capstone work product (e.g., written project or non-thesis paper)
Exam created by an external organization (e.g., professional association for licensure)
Exit exam created by the program
IRB approval of research
Oral performance (oral defense, oral presentation, conference presentation)
Portfolio of student work
Publication or grant proposal
Qualifying exam or comprehensive exam for program-level assessment in addition to individual student evaluation (graduate level only)
Supervisor or employer evaluation of student performance outside the classroom (internship, clinical, practicum)
Thesis or dissertation used for program-level assessment in addition to individual student evaluation
Other 1:
Other 2:

Indirect evidence of student learning

Alumni survey that contains self-reports of SLO achievement
Employer meetings/discussions/survey/interview of student SLO achievement
Interviews or focus groups that contain self-reports of SLO achievement
Student reflective writing assignment (essay, journal entry, self-assessment) on their SLO achievement.
Student surveys that contain self-reports of SLO achievement
Other 1:
Other 2:

Program evidence related to learning and assessment
(more applicable when the program focused on the use of results or assessment procedure/tools in this reporting period instead of data collection)

Assessment-related such as assessment plan, SLOs, curriculum map, etc.
Program or course materials (syllabi, assignments, requirements, etc.)
Other 1: Informal feedback from 300-level instructors to 200-level instructors regarding student preparation for junior-level classes.
Other 2:

9) State the number of students (or persons) who submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

Six facuty have submitted a total of 8 syllabi.  These include syllabi for most of the 200-level or higher courses offered to date.

10) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected? (Check all that apply.)

Course instructor(s)
Faculty committee
Ad hoc faculty group
Department chairperson
Persons or organization outside the university
Faculty advisor
Advisors (in student support services)
Students (graduate or undergraduate)

11) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence? (Check all that apply.)

Used a rubric or scoring guide
Scored exams/tests/quizzes
Used professional judgment (no rubric or scoring guide used)
Compiled survey results
Used qualitative methods on interview, focus group, open-ended response data
External organization/person analyzed data (e.g., external organization administered and scored the nursing licensing exam)

12) Summarize the results of the assessment activities checked in question 6. For example, report the percent of students who achieved each SLO.

As the Astronomy BA was approved only one year ago, we do not yet have detailed information on SLO achievement.  

13) What best describes how the program used the results? (Check all that apply.)

Assessment procedure changes (SLOs, curriculum map, rubrics, evidence collected, sampling, communications with faculty, etc.)
Course changes (course content, pedagogy, courses offered, new course, pre-requisites, requirements)
Personnel or resource allocation changes
Program policy changes (e.g., admissions requirements, student probation policies, common course evaluation form)
Students' out-of-course experience changes (advising, co-curricular experiences, program website, program handbook, brown-bag lunches, workshops)
Celebration of student success!
Results indicated no action needed because students met expectations
Use is pending (typical reasons: insufficient number of students in population, evidence not evaluated or interpreted yet, faculty discussions continue)

14) Please briefly describe how the program used the results.

For the most part, use is pending.  One year into the program, we don't yet have sufficient results to guide significant changes in the programs.

In the short term, informal feedback from 300-level instructors to 200-level instructors has already helped to identify some key areas where further emphasis is needed.

In the long run, we will use assessment to (a) check our goals and refine the structure of the Astronomy program, and (b) analyze teaching strategies.

15) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries? This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, and great achievements regarding program assessment in this reporting period.

Stay tuned...

16) If the program did not engage in assessment activities, please explain.