Unit: American Studies
Program: American Studies (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Sun Oct 04, 2009 - 2:13:25 pm

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

1. Substantial knowledge of American history, society, and culture, as well as a basic appreciation of different scholarly approaches to American Studies

2. Critical thinking skills necessary to analyze a variety of cultural artifacts (literature, primary documents, film, music, etc.), as well as historical and present-day sociopolitical issues.

3. Competence in scholarly writing and oral communication

4. Basic research skills, including advanced research skills in one area of specialization (majors only).

2) Where are your program's SLOs published?

Department Website URL: NA
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
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

 All four SLOs were assessed, targeted and studied.

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

q How well is the department designing student learning to help build student skills toward the senior capstone project?

q Are students prepared when they enter our 300 and 400 level courses?

q Are our courses aligned with program SLOs and outcomes?

q How well is the department preparing students for careers and schooling past the BA?

7) State the Type(s) of Evidence Gathered

q Senior capstone projects (every graduating student in AMST 481 works intensively with the instructor and one outside advisor in crafting their capstone projects. This course concentrates all of our SLOs (save content mastery covered by previous courses), and thus allows us to carefully evaluate the writing, research, and critical thinking abilities of each student as she or he exits the program)—30% sample pool

q Select portfolios of student work both in lower and upper division courses

q Syllabi from 300 and 400 level courses taught in the since Summer 2008

q Student interviews conducted during advising appointments with Undergraduate Chair

q Course evaluations (department has standardized questions for all courses in CAFÉ)

q The undergraduate chair also conducts entry and exit interviews with every student, in which the department’s expectations and offerings, as well as the student’s experiences, are discussed.

q Final assessment/grades of select courses (150, 200-level, 381/382, 481)

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

q assessment committee applied a checklist to syllabi, review success rate and grade distribution of students in select courses, review select portfolio work (no rubric assigned other than standard grades assigned to students by instructor)

q UG chair and department chair assess course evaluations

q capstone instructor(s) assess student capstone projects

q faculty awards committee also spends time scrutinizing the transcripts and selected written work of every graduating senior each Spring

q In general, AMST faculty members assess the entire population of majors and minors in terms of performance, progress, and attitudes at three critical junctures in the program (entry, midpoint, and exit).

9) State How Many Pieces of Evidence Were Collected

q 4 capstone projects

q 6 exit interviews, 6 entry interviews conducted

q syllabi from all 300- and 400-level courses (how many? collected)

q summaries of Café course evaluations for required and upper-division courses

q 2 writing samples from 150, 200-level courses, 381/382, and 481 (stored in department laulima folders)

10) Summarize the Actual Results

q How well is the department designing student learning to help build student skills toward the senior capstone project?

o   90% of our students successfully complete the capstone project

q Are students prepared when they enter our 300 and 400 level courses?

o   Course evaluations indicated students feel they are able to handle the content and analysis of our courses

o   Evaluation of grade distributions in our 300 and 400 level courses show that at least 80% of students receive a C or better in these courses. Most are in the B range, with percentages differing in each class.

q Are our courses aligned with program SLOs and outcomes?

o   A majority of our upper division courses include W/O foci to work on oral/written communication

o   A majority of our upper-division courses are topic-driven, and allow students to build specific topic knowledge.

o   More guidance could be given to students to deliberately build a course plan that helps them with depth and breadth in preparation for capstone project. Many students arrive at the capstone course with great breadth of knowledge, but not in terms of methodology and research training.

q How well is the department preparing students for careers and schooling past the BA?

o   Not very active a role currently, other than support, occasional internships unrelated to coursework, and exit interviews/counseling for graduate school

o   Not enough data was found about this question to fully assess it.

11) Briefly Describe the Distribution and Discussion of Results

Assessment Coordinator met with members of different programs in the department. Assessment committee discussed the results of the undergraduate program assessment at a faculty meeting, and coordinated with curriculum committee to address certain concerns about student preparation for capstone, as well as questions about data-gathering to track these questions over a longer term. The Assessment and curriculum committee presented a proposal for the creation of a required methods course to be added to the major. 

12) Describe Conclusions and Discoveries

q Students struggle with completion of 481 capstone: need a methods course (added spring 2009 as requirement for the major)

q More data needed to track department success in providing post-graduate assistance and guidance.

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

q In terms of the curriculum, after reviewing the work of our students in the senior capstone, we felt that our students were not acquiring enough methods training to successfully carry out an independent and original research project. Hence AMST 480 being taught for the first time this semester. The capstone will be taught next semester by the same instructor to compare this sequence with previous years (instructor has previously taught 481).

q Since there is little data on the department's level of success in providing its undergraduates with adequate  preparation for careers and schooling past the BA, the department will begin to track its alumni more proactively, will institute regular surveys (along with the exit interview). the Undergraduate chair has began work with Career Services office to better articulate with programs that include internships and graduate/professional school mentoring to provide appropriate training for its majors. A focus group will be scheduled between Career Services and 8 current seniors this October 2009. 

14) Reflect on the Assessment Process

q Faculty need to know prior to the start of the semester which assignments will be collected for program assessment. That way, they can add that to their syllabus or assignment guidelines so students are appropriately informed.

q Need to address same questions more consistently over time to fine-tune the department’s offerings, ability to serve student needs

q Department needs to institute rubrics for assessing student work in a more standardized way and to assess the potential of student portfolios as a way to track student progress over time, since it has already begun a more informal data collection of sample student work. 

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.