Unit: Physics & Astronomy
Program: Physics (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Mon Nov 26, 2018 - 2:43:06 pm

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

1. [1] Apply basic physical principles from a broad range of topics in physics to diverse scientific and technological problems

(1a. General education, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research, 3d. Civic participation)

2. [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, 3d. Civic participation)

3. [3] Develop skills to design experiments and analyze data through electronic instrumentation and devices, and computer control

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

4. [4] Establish competence in focused areas of physical theory and experiment

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

5. [5] Generate fluency in the scientific enterprise and awareness of possible career paths available to the undergraduate physics major

(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: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/
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: https://www.phys.hawaii.edu/syllabi/
Other:
Other:

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.

0%
1-50%
51-80%
81-99%
100%

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):

No
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?

Yes
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)
Other:

8) Briefly explain the assessment activities that took place.

In May 2016, 2017, and 2018 the department's assessment committee conducted surveys with the whole physics major undergraduate student population.

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.

46 out of 142 students (not separated by BA or BS) who were asked to respond to the survey submitted evidence which was evaluated. These students were referred to a website application where they could fill out a survey.

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)
Dean/Director
Other:

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:

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

Lower division

The learning outcomes mostly match the expectations of the students and the students largely agree that they are making progress towards the learning outcomes. The learning outcome that seems to be lacking the most is “Develop skills to design experiments and analyze data through electronic instrumentation and devices, and computer control” where the students mostly “neither agree nor disagree”. Most students feel that their course of study provides adequate quantum mechanics preparation for the GRE in the fall of their fourth year. However, some students commented that they do not look this far ahead or have not yet reached their fourth year. Some students pointed out that (s)he was wishing for more opportunities to learn about undergraduate research.

Upper Division

The learning outcomes mostly match the expectations of the students and the students agree on making progress towards the learning outcomes. Again, the learning outcome that seems to be lacking the most is “Generate fluency in the scientific enterprise and awareness of possible career paths available to the undergraduate physics major”. About 50% of the students feel that their course of study provides adequate quantum mechanics preparation for the GRE in the fall of their fourth year. Students point out that quantum mechanics at the junior level would have been helpful and that the GRE mostly asks second semester quantum mechanics. About 50% of the students that they have already applied for undergraduate fellowships. The general comment section mentioned the following key points: 

  • not enough preparation for thermodynamics questions on the GRE,
  • more practice in designing tools to run experiments,
  • courses could be accelerated for physics undergraduates,
  • focus more on physics students rather than engineers,
  • computational physics needs to be more stressed,
  • recitations need to be done more efficiently, but show a lot of promise,
  • research should be more heavily stressed (e.g, with senior research projects),
  • department and professors should try harder to attract more undergrads into research,
  • more classes in contemporary physics,
  • most of the equipment used in the upper divisional labs are outdated or broken,
  • Phys 399 provides an self-motivated environment to apply course concepts and think about interesting applications,
  • upper level undergraduate course on Quantum Information, or Field Theory.

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)
Other:

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

The department will use the results as guidance in determining ways in which the department can better achieve its student learning outcomes.

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.

The next year foresees a redesign of the SLOs and a better mapping of courses to SLOs for BA and BS students. This will allow to use the grades to better measure SLO achievement

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