Unit: Sociology
Program: Sociology (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Thu Nov 17, 2011 - 5:22:12 pm

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

The department of sociology’s SLOs are currently being evaluated and reconstructed and, to date, they are not published on-line or in course syllabi. Despite this, approximately 65% (n = 11) of the syllabi for sociology courses detail course specific SLOs. These course specific SLOs articulate aspects of the emerging departmental SLOs.

The reason that the department of sociology has not included the departmental SLOs on our website or on more of our syllabi is because our SLOs are currently being evaluated and changed. In the 2010-2011 school year, the department of sociology embarked on a detailed examination and assessment of our old SLOs. During two all-faculty workshops and numerous meetings with members of the undergraduate committee, the department of sociology designed a new set of SLOs, although the process was not completed. In the 2011-2012 the department will continue to refine departmental SLOs. Until that time, the SLOs will not be published on our website, although faculty members may choose to include old SLOs or the current in progress SLOs in their syllabi. Our goal in the 2011-2012 will be to come to consensus on a refined set of departmental SLOs and to include these SLOs both on our website and in our course syllabi. Also, ways to make students more aware of departmental SLOs will be discussed during faculty meetings and in other venues (i.e. e-mail conversations).you.

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

Department Website URL:
Student Handbook. URL, if available online: through website
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: See website
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: http://socialsciences.people.hawaii.edu/esyllabi/?subject=soc

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.

The primary SLO assessment project for the 2010-2011 school year was to evaluate and refine the departmental SLOs. As of October 11, 2011, our departmental SLOs are as follows:

1) Students can communicate research findings orally and in writing.*

2) Students can perform appropriate analyses of data and draw valid conclusions from their analysis.

3) Students can apply sociological theory and method to analyze historic and contemporary events.

4) Students can define theory and describe its role in building sociological knowledge.*

[* = SLOs that have been targeted for refinement in the 2011-2012 school year]

Despite the fact that the faculty developed new and more appropriate SLOs, faculty members did not agree that these four SLOs comprised the best measures of learning objectives for students (see SLOs with an “*”)

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.

Previously, before the 2010-2011 school year, assessment of our SLOs focused only on students’ written work. The SLOs used to evaluate students’ written work were as follows:

a. CONCEPTUALIZATION: The paper reflects an ability to present sociological ideas.                                                                                                                                                     _____

  • is informative
  • reflects a sociological significance of the topic
  • displays familiarity with relevant literature
  • relates the topic to sociological theory, states hypotheses, etc.

b. EVIDENCE: The paper displays an ability to collect and report relevant data/information.                                                                                                   _____

  • develops research methodology
  • gathers data scientifically, relying on original or secondary data collected systematically
  • is honestly presented, clarifying what are the author’s values and personal opinions
  • presents data that are relevant to the research topic
  • presents data and results/findings in easily understandable formats, conforming to acceptable standards (e.g. contingency tables, graphs, quoted field notes, etc.)

c. INTERPRETATION: The paper displays an ability to analyze data.                   _____

  • displays ability to understand and interpret data
  • demonstrates reasonably clear and logical reasoning in interpreting data
  • understands the relevance of findings to theory

d. WRITING SKILLS: The paper shows the writer has acceptable writing skills.  _____

  • the prose is usually clear and the meaning of ideas is effectively conveyed
  • displays a wide vocabulary and proper choice of words
  • exhibits proper sentence structure, some sentence variety, and cohesion between sentences
  • show minimum errors in grammar, observes conventions of standard written English

[ranked on a scale from 0-5, with 5 reflecting excellence]

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

Seven regular faculty members/instructors submitted evidence to be evaluated during our data collection efforts. Two faculty members did not respond to the undergraduate committee’s query for data.

            In addition, the chair of the undergraduate committee examined all of the current syllabi for sociology courses and counted the number of courses that included oral communication assignments, the number of syllabi that included departmental SLOs, and the number of syllabi that included course specific SLOs.

      If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

The undergraduate committee contacted (by e-mail) all of the faculty members and regular instructors [referred to as faculty members below] currently teaching undergraduate courses in our department. The chair of the undergraduate committee asked faculty members to submit the following information:

1) whether faculty members include departmental SLOs (old or new) in their course syllabi

2) whether and how faculty members include departmental SLOs (old or new) in their courses (e.g., course discussions, power point slides, on-line course material, handouts etc.)

3) If faculty members include oral communication assignments, whether faculty members use oral communication rubrics

4) If faculty members use oral communication rubrics, to forward them to the undergraduate committee to use as baseline information about current departmental oral communication assessment techniques

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.

To date, the department of sociology has embarked on an effort to assess SLO number 1 and, more specifically, students’ abilities to communicate research findings orally. Because our SLO number 1 is being refined, our first step has been an initial data gathering effort to establish the current state of the department’s ability to assess students’ oral communication skills. Our data gathering efforts, to date, have included the following:

a. Discover the number sociology courses that require oral communication assignments.

b. Collect the current oral communication rubrics used by faculty who require oral communication assignments.

c. Improve faculty members’ knowledge of existing oral communication rubrics.

d. Given the oral communication rubrics currently used, examine ways to incorporate departmental SLO #1 into course specific rubrics.

Oral Communication:

Currently, 41% of undergraduate courses being offered by faculty in the department of sociology require oral communication assignments, although none of the current courses in the department are oral intensive courses. While faculty instructing all of the courses with oral communication assignments evaluate and grade students’ oral presentations, to date, 57% of the undergraduate courses with oral communication assignments include an oral communication rubric. 

Assessment of oral communication rubrics:

All of the currently used oral communication rubrics evaluate and emphasize students’ ability to communicate clearly, offer a organized argument, and provide a well supported argument. Three of the rubrics also include evaluations of students’ own personal style with emphasis on creativity (n = 1), enthusiasm (n =3), poise (n = 2), and the ability to make eye contact (n = 1) comprising some of the personal style characteristics being evaluated. None of the rubrics, to date, include a specific assessment of students’ ability to communicate research findings, although the common emphasis on supporting one’s arguments can be interpreted as communication of research findings.

Percent of syllabi with SLOs and how SLOs are included in sociology courses:

            As stated previously, the departmental SLOs are currently included on one course syllabus in the department. Despite this, 65% of faculty members’ course syllabi include course specific SLOs. Moreover, course specific SLOs tend to articulate the specific objectives of the course with an eye to developing students’ sociological inquiry skills. In addition, these course specific objectives often intersect with the emerging departmental SLOs.

As one example, the course specific SLOs for Soc 218 (Introduction to Social Problems) includes a statement that students, “should have a better understanding of the different kinds of issues in which sociologists are interested by the end of the semester. As a result, you will develop a clearer and more sophisticated way of viewing these issues, and, in the process, learn to enjoy taking a sociological perspective.” One faculty member includes his course specific SLOs in a power point presentation at the beginning of the semester.

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

Based on our assessment this year, we learned the following:

a. We need to include graduate student lecturers in our future queries about SLOs and oral presentation rubrics in the future.

b. None of our oral communication rubrics included assessments that addressed students’ ability to communicate research findings.

c. We need to continue discussion among faculty regarding ways to increase students’ awareness of departmental SLOs and ways to incorporate departmental SLOs into different aspects of our courses (including on our course syllabi).

d. That we need to generate more faculty discussion regarding the development and use of oral communication rubrics.

e. That we need to develop a on-line resource accessible to faculty and instructors as a way of sharing various assessment tools and especially oral communication rubrics.

e. That we need to encourage more faculty members who require oral intensive assignments to use or develop oral communication rubrics.

f. We need to find a way to bring together SLO #1 (students’ ability to communicate research findings orally) and the current criteria used to evaluate students’ oral presentations in sociology courses that require oral communication assignments.

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.

 This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, program aspects and so on.

We need to continue to work on our curriculum mapping project, as this project was unfinished last year.

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.

The assessment plan for 2011-2012 includes:

a. the refinement of SLO number 1

b. the development of a system to assess students’ ability to communicate research findings orally

c. the development of a system to assess students’ ability to communicate research findings in writing

d. the refinement of SLO number 4

e. the development of a timetable to assess the remainder of the SLOs and our curriculum map in upcoming years

f. include all instructors of undergraduate courses in our future assessments of SLO and oral communication inclusion

g. develop an on-line system to share assessment tools with faculty and instructors of undergraduate courses in the department of sociology