Unit: American Studies
Program: American Studies (MA)
Degree: Master's
Date: Wed Nov 14, 2018 - 4:10:14 pm

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

1. Broad knowledge of U.S. history, society, and culture.

(1. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in one or more general subject areas related to, but not confined to, a specific area of interest.)

2. Understanding of several key disciplinary methods to U.S. history, society, and culture.

(3. Apply research methodology and/or scholarly inquiry techniques specific to one’s field of study.)

3. Critical analysis and writing skills.

(4. Critically analyze, synthesize, and utilize information and data related to one’s field of study., 5. Proficiently communicate and disseminate information in a manner relevant to the field and intended audience.)

4. Independent research skills involving primary sources.

(2. Demonstrate understanding of research methodology and techniques specific to one’s field of study., 4. Critically analyze, synthesize, and utilize information and data related to one’s field of study., 6. Conduct research or projects as a responsible and ethical professional, including consideration of and respect for other cultural perspectives.)

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

Department Website URL: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/amst/
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:

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

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2018:

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) Does the program have learning achievement results for its program SLOs? (Example of achievement results: "80% of students met expectations on SLO 1.")(check one):

Yes, on some(1-50%) of the program SLOs
Yes, on most(51-99%) of the program SLOs
Yes, on all(100%) of the program SLOs

6) Did your program engage in any program learning assessment activities between June 1, 2015 and October 31, 2018?

No (skip to question 17)

7) What best describes the program-level learning assessment activities that took place for the period June 1, 2015 to October 31, 2018? (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)
No (skip to question 17)
Investigate other pressing issue related to student learning achievement for the program (explain in question 7)

8) Briefly explain the assessment activities that took place.

Discussing SLOs and curriculum map

Assessment activities:

  • New Website: we reviewed descriptions of our MA program, Museum Studies, and Historic Preservation programs and reworded as needed to reflect SLOs. We also reviewed all policies for MA Plan A and Plan B.
  • Updated Curriculum Map for MA Plan A and B.

Evaluating student work/performance -

  • American Studies faculty evaluated the work of MA students in core courses and graduate seminars.
  • American Studies faculty field advisors evaluated 4 Plan B exams (8 essays total).
  • American Studies faculty evaluated 3 MA theses.
  • In Spring 2016, 2017, and 2018, faculty advisors meet with each advisee, reporting results on our graduate student progress form. Advisement reports were reviewed by the Grad Chair and, in a faculty meeting, by the whole faculty. This information is used to detect programmatic strengths /weaknesses as well as to assess individual student progress

Using assessment results to make programmatic decisions:

  • Adjusted AMST 603 (required for Plan A students) to focus on the production of the thesis prospectus, to  provide uniform training and support in planning a thesis.





9) What types of evidence did the program use as part of the assessment activities checked in question 7? (Check all that apply.)

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
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
Assessment-related such as assessment plan, SLOs, curriculum map, etc.
Program or course materials (syllabi, assignments, requirements, etc.)
Other 1:
Other 2:

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

  • Number of MA students who submitted assessment related evidence (seminar papers, Plan B exams, theses) = 19.
  • Number of faculty who received and reviewd assessment related evidence = 15




11) 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)
Other: Graduate Chair

12) 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)
Other: Review yearly advisement reports for patterns of success or failure.

13) Summarize the results of the assessment activities checked in question 7. For example, report the percentage of students who achieved each SLO.

SLO1 and SLO 2 - estimated percent of achievement - 85-100% - measured by successful completion of AMST 600 and AMST 601, and successful completion of elective American Studies courses by all students graduated or matriculated in this period.

SLO 3 and SLO 4 - estimated percent of achievement is 85-100%, measured by successul completion of thesis by Plan A and, in the case of Plan B students, by scores on exams (half passed written and/or oral exams with distinction).

SLO 5 - estimated percent of achievement is 85-100%, based on successful oral and written performance in AMST graduate seminars, written and oral exams Plan B exams, thesis and oral defense.


14) 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)

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

A) We are monitoring results of the change (made in 2016), which reduced our MA program from 33 to 30 credits. This appears to be fostering a rapid time to degree while maintaining the caliber of learning, but it is too soon to definitively assess.

B) In this assessment period, we have reoriented AMST 603 to focus on the production of the thesis or dissertation prospectus. One of our MA students has since taken AMST 603, quickly produced a successful thesis, and was admitted to our doctoral program. It is too soon to definitively assess the results of this adjustment.


16) 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.

A) We have learned that it is wise to cultivate our strongest MA students as possible applicants for the PhD rpogram. Three of our MA graduates have entered the PhD program in this period.

B) In our ongoing efforts to expand the MA population, we will consider creating a 3/2 program (wherein American Studies majors can apply to enter the MA program in their senior year, and complete the MA with an additional year of work).

17) If the program did not engage in assessment activities, please justify.