Unit: History
Program: History (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Fri Oct 14, 2011 - 3:04:58 pm

1) Below are your program student learning outcomes (SLOs). Please update as needed.

Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

1) Students can explain historical change and continuity.

2) Students can develop a clear argument using recognized historical methods.

3) Students can write clear expository prose and present their ideas orally according to disciplinary conventions.

4) Students can interpret and use primary sources.

5) Students can identify the main historiographical issues in a specific area of concentration.

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

Department Website URL: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/history/undergraduate
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: Some individual faculty share departmental SLOs on their syllabi.
Other: Course listings on departmental website: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/history/courses
Other: Our curriculum map is also published: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/history/undergraduate

3) Below is the link(s) to your program's curriculum map(s). If we do not have your curriculum map, please upload it as a PDF.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2011:

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) For the period June 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011: State the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goals. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.

During this academic year (2010/11), we continued our five-year Assessment Plan and moved onto assessing SLO #5 : "Student can identify the main historiographical issues in a specific area of concentration." See below for the details of our Assessment Plan. Included in parentheses are the courses from which we take representative samples of work. 

2009-10: SLO #4 (496 in fall, 400-level in spring)

2010-11: SLO #5 (496 in fall, 396 in spring) 

2011-12: SLO #3 (496 in fall, 400-level in spring)

2012-13: SLO #3, continued (300-level in fall); SLO #1 (496 in spring)

2013-14: SLO #2 (496 in fall, 300-level in spring)

6) State the type(s) of evidence gathered to answer the assessment question and/or meet the assessment goals that were given in Question #5.

In Spring 2010, we collected papers from HIST 496, students' capstone senior thesis course, in which they produce a lengthy piece of original work based on primary sources. We analyzed these papers in Fall 2010, and also collected a representative sample of papers that semester from HIST 396 to analyze in Spring 2011. HIST 396 is a W-focus historiography course that deals with theory and method of history. Students produce historiographical essays and/or book reviews as part of the 396 coursework.

7) State how many persons submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

A total of thirty persons submitted evidence for evaluation (= 15 students in HIST 496 for the Fall 2010 assessment + 15 students in HIST 396 for the Spring 2011 assessment). The sampling technique we used was to request each 496/396 instructor to share a representative range of papers based on the scoring rubric we designed for this particular SLO.

8) 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)

9) 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)

10) For the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goal(s) stated in Question #5:
Summarize the actual results.


Our goal was to find 75% of the HIST 496 final papers would be either "Competent" (Level 3) or "Accomplished" (Level 4) using our scoring rubric for SLO #5 (see more below). The result was disappointing 40%, although we realized that one problem concerned the inadequacy of our scoring guide. We reviewed and revised it accordingly, and used the new version for the Spring 2011 assessment.

Coming out of this exercise, the committee also added to our list of suggestions for instructors who teach HIST 496 classes.  As the capstone course, we've reviewed papers from 496 every year, and at the end of our five-year assessment plan we intend to produce a helpful guide of suggestions concerning each SLO to share with the 496 instructors. 

Original Scoring Guide for SLO #5


Interpretation and Use

4 – Accomplished

Recognizes historiographical significance of argument

Develops an argument separate from historiographical debates

3 – Competent

Evaluates secondary sources

Analyzes shifts in historiographical arguments

2 – Developing

Includes some secondary sources, but fails to evaluate them

1 – Beginning

Uses incorrect or few secondary sources

Revised version:


Interpretation and Use

4 – Accomplished

Situates their own argument in historiographical debate

Demonstrates a critical understanding of historiography

3 – Competent

Recognizes issues or shifts in historiography

2 – Developing

Incorporates secondary sources as evidence

Fails to evaluate or critique secondary sources

1 – Beginning

Fails to identify secondary sources


In the spring, we applied our new rubric to the papers we collected from HIST 396. We set our goal to be that 100% of the sample papers should be at or above the "Developing" level (Level 2), and 50% of them should be at or above the "Competent" level (Level 3). The actual results were that all papers did clear Level 2 but no more than 20% (3 papers out of 15) qualified as "Competent." One quirk in our sample size, however, was that we had two very different types of assignments submitted: long historiographical essays and comparatively short book reviews. Some common weaknesses of 396 papers were the following:

  • Students tend to pay little or no attention to publication years of monographs and various other scholarly articles, as a result of which they are unable to "recognize issues or shifts in historiographical arguments" (= the scoring guide for Level 3 of SLO #5).
  • Students may be skilled in analyzing individual publications, but they tend to overlook the dialogues that take place within a body of scholarship as a whole. This shortcoming contributes further to the students' failing to "recognize issues or shifts in historiographical arguments" (= the scoring guide for Level 3 of SLO #5).
  • Students tend to accept arguments or claims made in sources at face value and without critically assessing them. As a result, many sample papers were assessed as "Developing" (Level 2), which translates as "failing to evaluate or critiquing secondary sources." 


Committee members concluded that historiographical essays and book reviews were valid assignments in HIST 396, but that students would need additional help in order to meet the standards of the SLOs. A few concrete steps that the instructors could take are:

  1. To assign comparative book reviews as part of the coursework. This can help students have a more balanced selection of sources, and could also assist in the production of historiographical essays (if an instructor had both assignments in his/her class).
  2. To provide students writing a historiographical essay with a list of topics and a list of relevant 10-20 books/articles for review (as opposed to letting the students prepare the lists themselves). This will allow students to have a more structured reading and writing assignment.

11) State how the program used the results or plans to use the results. Please be specific.

The results of last year's assessment activities were reported to the department at large at our first departmental meeting in Fall 2011, in conjunction with the ongoing discussion about capstone courses and majors, especially questions regarding the desirability or otherwise of retaining or modifying HIST 496 as our capstone course. Meanwhile, the assessment committee will continue to compile the records of its annual activities and findings so that it will be able to produce a comprehensive report for the Department at the end of the five-year Assessment Plan.

12) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries?
This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, program aspects and so on.

As noted above, we revised the rubric for SLO #5 in order to address its flaws and make it more practicable. 

13) Other important information.
Please note: If the program did not engage in assessment, please explain. If the program created an assessment plan for next year, please give an overview.