Edited by John Ishiyama, William J. Miller and Eszter Simon
Chapter 7: Curricular and program assessment techniques in the USA
Curricular and program assessment have become increasingly important tasks for political science and international relations departments in institutions of higher learning across the USA. Program and curricular assessment matter for several reasons. Perhaps most importantly, when done well, assessment furnishes insights into what students have learned or what they know, which, in turn, is instrumental in informing departments as they strive to improve their curriculum and instruction. Empirical data about student learning are crucial in identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses in programs, and are therefore core for devising strategies to improve student learning. At the same time, assessment has become increasingly important because in many colleges and universities it is required for accreditation purposes; satisfies demands by legislators to provide evidence of student learning and, consequently, is considered a good investment of taxpayers’ money; and is requested by parents who want to know whether the college of choice for their children will ensure that they will graduate equipped with adequate types of knowledge and skill sets to prepare them for future careers and a fulfilled life (see Suskie 2007).
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