Breakout Session B:
Programs that Work

Motivating Students to Pursue Careers in STEM Fields
The 2003 PKAL Assemblies
What Works - What Matters - What Lasts: The Roles and Responsibilities of Leaders in Undergraduate STEM

Oberlin College
September 5 - 7, 2003

Programs that Work: Assessment
Saturday, September 6, 2003
2:30 - 3:25 pm

Chris Craney, Associate Dean of the Faculty & Professor of Chemistry, Union College
Patricia Ann deWinstanley, Associate Professor of Psychology, Oberlin College


In 1998, an NSF-AIRE grant enabled the URC to develop assessment tools to measure student's opinions of the impact their summer research had on their skills, advanced study, career options, and the value of the research experience. One tool, using a pre/post/matched pair self-assessment with a five-point Likert-scale forced response, has strong similarities to that used by Lopatto and Seymour who examined students from Grinnell, Harvey Mudd, Hope and Wellesley. Our second instrument adapts Cross and Angelo's learning goals survey that asks students to rank 52 learning outcomes as of primary, secondary or tertiary importance in their summer research experience. Each student's responses are clustered to indicate the importance of six specific outcomes ranging from "higher order thinking skills" to "discipline-specific knowledge and skills" to "personal development". The collected data for both instruments can be disaggregated by discipline area, academic class, gender, ethnic background, GPA, and level of prior research experience. Our assessment to date identifies three learning outcomes of primary importance to over 50 percent of the researchers: a) higher order thinking skills; b) discipline-specific knowledge and skills; and c) work and career preparation.