Handbook on Teaching and Learning in Political Science and International Relations
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Handbook on Teaching and Learning in Political Science and International Relations

Edited by John Ishiyama, William J. Miller and Eszter Simon

With a focus on providing concrete teaching strategies for scholars, the Handbook on Teaching and Learning in Political Science and International Relations blends both theory and practice in an accessible and clear manner. In an effort to help faculty excel as classroom teachers, the expert contributors offer representation from various types of institutions located throughout the world. Split into three distinct parts, this book discusses curriculum and course design, teaching subject areas and in class teaching techniques.
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Chapter 7: Curricular and program assessment techniques in the USA

Kerstin Hamann


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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