Assessment of Student Learning

The Psychology Department has also developed assessment procedures and a plan for ongoing refinement that are consistent with the UIS Principles of Assessment of Student Academic Achievement. Student learning will be assessed using multiple methods. Knowledge within the discipline and written communication, critical thinking, and library research skills will be assessed at upper-division entry and exit points using an objective test.

All Psychology majors are required to complete, at program entry and exit, an exam designed to assess scientific critical thinking skills, as well as a broad range of content knowledge and skill application within the discipline. Students will complete the exam twice during their curriculum. The first time is during the PSY 301 – Orientation and Assessment course. The second time as part of the required, credit-bearing, capstone course PSY 471 – Senior Seminar. Exit exam scores are used for Psychology Department curriculum review and planning, not as an individual student evaluation measure.

PSY 301 Orientation and Assessment is a noncredit course used to track exam completion at entry. Students must register for PSY 301 during their first semester of enrollment as Psychology majors. Students who do not complete the entrance exam during their first semester will not be allowed to register for additional Psychology coursework until the exam has been completed.

PSY 471 Senior Seminar focuses on student portfolio development and provide students with an integrative capstone experience. Psychology majors will be required to prepare a portfolio that reflects learning and skill competencies in several areas. Portfolios will include work products based on a series of written and oral assignments that have been developed to assess specific complex competencies. These competencies include the abilities needed

  • to compare and contrast major psychological perspectives,
  • to understand and critically evaluate psychological research,
  • to organize numerical data and interpret fundamental statistical results,
  • to apply and discuss ethical considerations, and
  • to reflect on personal growth in the context of the values represented by psychology and the skills students have developed through their major coursework.

Sample portfolios will be collected from students who give permission to the Department to use their work for program assessment purposes. Students in PSY 471 Senior Seminar will also complete, anonymously, an exit survey assessing their perspectives on the academic advising, course scheduling, and various dimensions of the curriculum and quality of instruction.