Unit: Tropical Plant & Soil Sciences
Program: Tropical Plant & Soil Sci (BS)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Mon Nov 09, 2009 - 3:05:25 pm

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

Upon graduation from the TPSS curriculum, a student should be able to:

1.     Understand basic plant morphology and be able to use it to identify plants commonly used in the discipline by scientific and common names.

2.   Demonstrate fundamental knowledge of biological processes (e.g., life cycles, respiration, photosynthesis, reproduction, source-sink relations, dormancy, photoperiodism, photomorphogenesis) and be able to use this knowledge to interpret horticultural practices and produce quality horticultural crops.

3.     Know how to apply appropriate plant management operations, including propagation, pruning & training, plant growth regulators, and environmental manipulations (light, temperature, water, nutrition, soil) in order to produce horticultural crops.

4.   Know how to apply IPM strategies (agricultural chemicals or their alternatives and sustainable practices) properly, including scouting & monitoring, timing & scheduling, rotations, calculations, and safety procedures.

5.  Understand the basis for genetics and fundamentals of plant breeding.

6.   Apply principles of soil science in the management of field soils, displaced soils, and artificial substrates in containers.

7.   Use technology effectively, including computer skills and be able to locate relevant data/research in hard copy as well as on line.

8.   Speak effectively and write concisely on subject matter within the professional curriculum.

9.   Realize the need for continuing education in the professional discipline through professional societies, short courses, conferences, use of the internet, and reading.

10.  Work effectively in a team situation either as a leader or participant to define problems and identify resources and solutions.

11.  Develop a global perspective on horticultural issues.

12.  Develop an ethical perspective and sense of moral responsibility and values in making decisions that affect the (human) community and environment.

2) Where are your program's SLOs published?

Department Website URL:
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online:
UHM Catalog. Page Number: 396
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/ctahr2001/TPSS/courselist.html

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

Each semester, an assessment rubric (see question 6) is distributed to course instructors for courses considered basic to one of four tracks within the TPSS undergraduate curriculum. There are 13 such courses, but none are taught every semester.  Instructors complete the rubric for TPSS students enrolled in the course and summarize the mean values.

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

The A goals of the TPSS assessment rubric were based on the Student Learning Outcomes of CTAHR.  The B goals of the TPSS assessment rubric were developed from a consensus of a TPSS faculty committee in 2000-2001 when the College initiated its assessment program.  These goals revolved around knowledge and skill areas specific to the undergraduate curriculum, which then consisted of three tracks: Production Horticulture, Environmental Soil Science, and Plant Science and Genetics. 

Link to Assessment Rubrics ("A" goals and "B" goals)

The main goals are stated in the UHM Catalog for 2009-2010 on p. 396.

7) State the Type(s) of Evidence Gathered

TPSS course instructors completed the assessment rubric based on their evaluation of student performance in their courses.  Performance items included organization of laboratory exercises (e.g., leadership and [participation in team situations, analysis and problem-solving skills); presentations of laboratory results or of assigned readings (oral communication skills); term papers (written communication skills); and demonstration of knowledge as evidenced by test scores (knowledge-based criteria).  Use of these performance items varied by course.  Some instructors did not participate despite their course being designated as a major course for the undergraduate tracks.

Faculty also are requested to include several specific questions in the CAFÉ course evaluations and return these to the Program Assessment Coordinator.   These questions deal with student evaluation of course organization.

5     I developed the ability to solve real problems in this field.

131 In general the course was well-organized


216 The course was well-organized in terms of continuity and presentation.

179 The types of writing we did were relevant to the field (Use for WI courses only)

214 There was considerable agreement between the announced course and what  was  taught.

215 The instructional materials (e.g., tests, handouts, etc.) were relevant to course


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

Mean values for the students (third page of assessment rubric) were entered on a spreadsheet.  A graphic, plotting the trends by course since inception of the assessment program, was to be prepared for each of the 13 goals/subgoals.  Problems with the statistical package prevented this from being done    The intent of the graphical tracking was to see if scores had improved over the years.

Responses to CAFÉ were to be summarized in tabular form.

9) State How Many Pieces of Evidence Were Collected

In the 2008-2009 academic year, instructors in 7 courses returned the assessment rubrics.

Insufficient responses were received from faculty for the CAFÉ questions to summarize.

10) Summarize the Actual Results

Most of the responses indicated that students performed at levels that achieved expectations across the 13 goals.

11) Briefly Describe the Distribution and Discussion of Results

Results were neither distributed nor discussed as Assessment Coordinator was too busy and past faculty reception of distributed hard copy results wound up in the round files.

12) Describe Conclusions and Discoveries


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

Use by faculty is unknown as the assessment process does not require them to report how they have modified their courses.

14) Reflect on the Assessment Process

Faculty in the TPSS department have R or S appointments and minimal FTE assignments for instruction.  Some are very good teachers and strive to improve their courses based on information gained at national and local professional conferences as well as student feedback.  The assessment program is largely viewed as irrelevant and is little used as a spur to course improvement. Despite indicating that they’d like to see assessment results, most would probably not show up for a Discussion on assessment results. The process is viewed as cumbersome by the faculty who complete the assessment rubric, and the Assessment Coordinator has to carve out time to enter the results and prepare reports such as this.  The principal use of the assessment process is to satisfy administrators that assessment is being performed in order to meet external evaluations.

15) Other Important Information

The most relevant assessment would be done by our students who have graduated and gone into the “real world” to use the knowledge and skills they received from us.  Another valuable perspective would be supplied by employers of our graduates.  However resources for obtaining such information have not been forthcoming as students are not tracked following graduation.

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.