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Assessment Resources for Political Science

The October 2014 issue of P.S. contains two articles on assessment that may be of interest to the AU community. Check them out!

"Scientific Literacy in Undergraduate Political Science Education: The Current State of Affairs, an Agenda for Action, and Proposed Fundamental Benchmarks" by Kim Quaile Hill and Rebekah Myers

"Is It Better to Be Feared Than Loved? Investigating the Efficacy of Different Teaching Methods on the Learning of Specific Content" by Robert P. Amyot

Feedback on Fall 2014 Assessment Reports Ready

Thanks to everyone who submitted program assessment reports in October. The Senate Committee on Learning Assessment has reviewed all reports and has posted feedback in the documents section of TracDat.

Middle States Visiting Team on Campus March 23-26, 2014

After over two years of work, American University’s Middle States Self-Study is finalized. The report includes several sections on assessment, including an extensive section on institutional assessment in chapter on mission and information on assessment of student learning in chapters on undergraduate and graduate professional education. To view the report go to:

Next step? A team of colleagues from other universities will visit AU on March 23-26, 2014. As part of this visit, they will be interested in learning more about AU’s assessment processes. If you have any questions about the visit or would like to learn more about how you can participate, please contact Karen Froslid Jones at extension 6155.


A February 2014 article in Assessment Update by Gary R. Pike, Professor of Education at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, explores the issue of accountability and the push by some for standardized tests. He discusses the advantages of using AAC&U “VALUE” rubrics. Many of the rubrics that are available may be useful to those assessing courses and programs. You can learn about the rubrics here.

Please contact Kathy McAdams ( or Karen Froslid Jones ( for a copy of the article or if you need assistance with developing or using rubrics.


In February, advisors Mary Barton, Marley Crutcher, Justina Anthracite, Marianne Norman, Alicia Mandac attended NACADA's 10th Annual Assessment Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The two and a half day conference presented a thorough view of the assessment process as it applies to Student Learning and Process/Delivery Outcomes. The Plenary Sessions included

  • The Assessment Process in Academic Advising Overview
  • Developing and Reflecting on Student Learning and Process/Delivery Outcomes
  • Identifying Opportunities for Learning: Mapping the Experience
  • Identifying and Using Multiple Measures
  • Interpreting, Sharing and Acting Upon Outcome Data
Interspersed with the plenary sessions were small group workshops and special topics presentations.

One of the Institute faculty, Dr. Jennifer Joslin, came to AU this month (March 2014) to hold a day long retreat with AU undergraduate advisors on managing change and developing assessment tools. Want to find out more about advising assessment plans? Contact Lyn Stallings (


On March 6, 2014, the American University Faculty Senate passed a resolution approving updated institution learning outcomes. The idea of providing new institution learning outcomes was presented by Provost Bass in his April 2013 address to faculty. The Middle States Self-Study includes a recommendation to update AU’s institution learning outcomes. In January, the Ann Ferren Conference Plenary Session devoted time to reviewing the draft learning outcomes and the Senate Committee on Learning Assessment (COLA) offered a public comment period on the outcomes using a blog to gather feedback. The new outcomes provide the university with a way to better articulate what AU undergraduates take away as a result of graduating from the university. You can access the revised outcomes here.

The outcomes will be posted more widely soon. What’s next? COLA will propose a schedule for assessing the new outcomes and the Faculty Senate will review the outcomes again next year.

Upcoming Workshops

Interested in upcoming assessment workshops? Learn more at the Workshops page.