Unit: Sociology
Program: Sociology (MA)
Degree: Master's
Date: Mon Nov 02, 2009 - 12:44:37 pm

1) List your program's student learning outcomes (SLOs).

Student Learning Outcomes for the Plan MA Degree (draft) a. understanding of a broad range of sociological theories and methods, and commonly used statistical techniques b. ability to design a feasible research project to address a sociological problem or issue of theoretical interest c. understanding of principles of protection of human subjects and how to design sociological research that respects and protects human subjects. d. ability to carry out an independent research project to collect and analyze research data that addresses a sociological question e. ability to interpret research results in relation to sociological theory, to draw reasonable inferences, and to report research results and conclusions accurately and effectively.

2) Where are your program's SLOs published?

Department Website URL:
Student Handbook. URL, if available online: NA
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: NA
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: NA

3) Upload your program's current curriculum map(s) as a PDF.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2009:

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

Map SLOs to curriculum a. Required graduate core course in theory (611 or 612) with undergraduate theory course (321 or equivalent) as prerequisite; required basic statistics course (476/L, with 605 optional), and required methods course (Soc. 475, 478, 604, 606, 608, 609, or 691 ). b. Detailed thesis proposal, which must be approved by student’s thesis committee. c. Soc. 606 includes certification in human subjects protection for investigators; students must obtain human subjects committee approval for all thesis research involving human subjects or data on living humans. Consideration of human subjects protection is concurrent with development of an acceptable thesis proposal. d. Thesis data collection, data analysis, and write-up e. Thesis write-up and oral defense.

6) State the Assessment Question(s) and/or Goal(s) of Assessment Activity

We use four forms of assessment. a. Individual course grades, since students must maintain at least a B average to remain in good standing in the program. All 400, 600, and 700 level courses evaluate students on a combination of written work and oral performance in class. b. Supervision and evaluation of the thesis proposal, thesis, and oral defense of the thesis by a three-member committee. Most thesis proposals undergo at least two drafts before the committee approves them, and most theses require at least two or three drafts to meet committee standards. The oral defense of the thesis evaluates whether the student can organize a formal presentation of the work and can answer questions about it at an acceptable professional level. The completed theses are public products. c. Since most of our MA thesis projects involve human subjects, the research must also pass human subjects review before the student can carry it out. While this is not a direct measure of quality, it does require that the student present a clear description of a research project that provides appropriate protection of human subjects.

7) State the Type(s) of Evidence Gathered

Annual review of all graduate students, in which the entire faculty of the department assesses whether each student is progressing at an appropriate pace through the program. Students receive a letter each year indicating whether they are progressing appropriately and what milestones they are expected to achieve by the time of the next annual review. Students who fail to meet annual goals despite two years of warnings are dropped from the program. (see attachments B and C) Many of our MA students are selected competitively to present seminar papers or parts of their thesis at either graduate student conferences or at state, regional, or national professional meetings.

In the February 2009 annual review of all graduate students, 8 MA students were reviewed. All were found to be making satisfactory progress.

8) State How the Evidence was Interpreted, Evaluated, or Analyzed

As above

9) State How Many Pieces of Evidence Were Collected

In the February 2009 annual review of graduate students, 8 MA students were reviewed. No sampling technique was used as all currently enrolled students are reviewed. The review included reports by their faculty advisor or committee chair about where they were in the program, and a collective decision by the faculty about where to place them on the review matrix and what level of letter to send them.

10) Summarize the Actual Results

All eight MA students were foound to be making satisfactory progress. Since that time, five ahve completed their MA degrees and a sixth is near completion. The others are making excellent progress.

11) Briefly Describe the Distribution and Discussion of Results

All students who are reviewed receive a formal letter indicating the results of the review. The letter includes any special notes that the faculty felt should be included. The student's committee chair also receives a copy of the review, and another copy is placed in the student's file. The Graduate Students database records the results of each year's review and this information is included in subsequent review materials that faculty receive prior to the annual review.

12) Describe Conclusions and Discoveries

As a result of several years of using this assessment methods the sociology department now also offers a Plan B MA degree in Population Studies in conjunction with the Population Studies Program, but in recent years there have only been one or two students applying for this MA track. Performance in this program is assessed with a rigorous sequence of courses and an exit examination offered through the Population Studies Program. We have also recently instituted a Plan B MA degree for students who complete the MA course work satisfactorily, but are unable to produce an MA thesis that meets the department’s high standards. We have awarded this degree to two students whose fellowship time had ended and whose English language ability was not yet adequate to the demands of writing a thesis in English.

We believe that our annual review of all graduate students, combined with close committee supervision of the various stages of the student's degree program, is producing a strong program that promotes student development and keeps students from falling through the cracks.

13) Use of Results/Program Modifications: State How the Program Used the Results --or-- Explain Planned Use of Results

as above

14) Reflect on the Assessment Process

We need to increase the systematic nature of assessment for our students. This will mean greater involvement of our faculty and especially those on the Graduate Studies Committee.

15) Other Important Information

16) FOR DISTANCE PROGRAMS ONLY: Explain how your program/department has adapted its assessment of student learning in the on-campus program to assess student learning in the distance education program.

17) FOR DISTANCE PROGRAMS ONLY: Summarize the actual student learning assessment results that compare the achievement of students in the on-campus program to students in the distance education program.