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Departmental Assessment Reports

Each department has developed discipline-specific and measurable objectives relating to each of the learning goals for their major. Using a variety of assessment instruments, each department attempts to determine the degree to which its student majors are reaching those objectives and, if they are not, what programming changes need to be made. In this way, student learning outcome data serves to improve programming and thus increase the level of student performance and accomplishment in each respective department’s discipline. In order to maintain the privacy of student data, department assessment reports are not published. Some student learning outcome data, particularly from accredited programs, is available on the departmental pages.

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Art: Our current senior majors are assessed through formal analysis art writing, an oral presentation, and the senior exhibit. Students earlier in the program are evaluated through a sophomore-level assessment rubric, based on work in the foundations courses. To help our students improve their art writing skills, we are now incorporating writing assignments into all of the lower- and upper-level art history courses. To help our students more adequately prepare for their senior exhibits and presentations, beginning in Fall 2017 we will offer Art Seminar in the fall, rather than in the spring.

Athletic Training: The 2016-17 school year saw two students graduate with degrees in Athletic Training. Both were female. One graduate is continuing her education in a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at Regis University in Colorado. Another graduate is working in California where state regulation in Athletic Training is non-existent. Both graduates attempted the Board of Certification (BOC) Exam for the Athletic Trainer during the 2017 spring and summer exam windows, with one graduate passing and the other not passing. Because one program goal is maintaining CAATE accreditation, and programs must achieve a 70% three-year aggregate first time pass rate as a standard, we continue to meet this goal, although our three year aggregate has dipped to 71% (5/7), but maintains a strong overall pass rate of 86% for all test takers, since the one who has not passed from this year has yet to attempt a retake.

Bible and Religion: While there are several students working on Bible and Religion majors in the department, none graduated during this past year.  Consequently, I will maintain the stated learning objectives as they are.  An additional faculty person teaching half-time in the BRL department, but also working half-time at Bethel in Student Life, will strengthen and stabilize the department.  Most of the teaching done in the BRL department is focused on students taking our courses to meet requirements in the common core of our GE program.

Biology: The great majority (over 90%) of Bethel graduates with biology majors, or natural sciences majors with considerable coursework in biology, enjoy success in graduate school admissions, entry into medical programs, and employment related to their academic discipline. We continue to make changes in the department to help more students to succeed (e.g., working closely with the Center for Academic Development to provide assistance for specific courses, an advising program that addresses the varied needs of a diverse student body, the RICHE program to support summer internships and job shadowing). We have taken steps to improve the senior research and the resultant thesis by intervening more frequently as projects are developing and the capstone paper is being written.

Business: Bethel College’s bachelor of science degree in business administration is designed to expose students to skill sets in high demand not only for business but also for nonprofits and civic organizations. Combined with a commitment to experiential learning, Bethel business students have opportunities to engage with outside speakers, work on real-world problems with local businesses and gain valuable experience in teamwork. The primary mission of Bethel’s business faculty is teaching, but they also keep abreast of current developments in their fields through research, consulting and service activities.

It is noted that a growing number of students entering Bethel College who identify business as their major continues to steadily increase.  At the same time, a growing divide is evident between well-prepared, academically gifted students and those students who enter the program less prepared and less able to successfully complete college level academic tasks. While a 2.00 GPA is required to graduate from Bethel College, a 2.50 GPA in major coursework is required to participate in the business internship. As more students fail to meet this minimum standard for internship participation, additional options will need to be explored.

Despite the growing number of students who are struggling with the academic expectations of the department, the majority of business students meet the minimum GPA requirement and complete their degree coursework by enrolling in an external internship.  During the 2016-2017 academic year, 16 students successfully completed experiential learning opportunities at for profit and not for profit businesses in Newton and surrounding area. Internship foci included accounting, marketing, graphic design, and small business management. Bethel College business majors who participated in an internship experience continued to score in the “excellent” range on the following personal competencies: professional attitude, enthusiasm, teamwork, initiative, and dependability. Bethel College business majors who participated in an internship experience continued to score in the “excellent” range on the following professional competencies: academic preparation, communication, critical thinking and leadership.

Chemistry: Students taking chemistry courses at Bethel College generally perform better than the 50th percentile on the American Chemical Society exam, meaning that their knowledge and conceptual understanding is better than that obtained by students in equivalent classes across the nation. For those areas that we failed to meet this objective, we will revise our assignments, lecture materials, and class activities to help students gain a better mastery of the material. These students are also actively engaged in research projects. Many of our chemistry students present their research findings at the annual URICA Symposium and at local and national chemical conferences. Finally, we have placed all of our students into the workforce, a professional school (medical, dental, veterinarian), or graduate school within the first year (often sooner) following graduation from Bethel College. This success has been achieved by ensuring that our students graduate knowing how to use most scientific instrumentation and having the skills to be critical thinkers.

Communication Arts: Departmental assessment reveals that our program continues to serve students with a wide range of academic abilities. Students with stronger academic backgrounds are able to meet and/or exceed the departmental assessment benchmarks, while others struggle. We wish to ensure that all majors enter Communication Arts Seminar with adequate preparation to understand concepts, methods, tools, and theories by which communication research is designed, conducted, interpreted, and critically evaluated. To that end, we have revised the curriculum to include a Communication Theory and Research Methods course.

Elementary Education: Enrollment in teacher education programs nationwide is down and our institution is no exception. Nevertheless there is still a need for well-trained elementary teachers in our region. Our assessment plan meets our needs even though our data is based on a very small number of students. Our pedagogy is such that we are able to offer a balanced approach of theoretical understanding and practical application in the content our elementary education majors receive.

English: The theme for the English Department’s assessment this year is three-fold: 1) Our one graduating senior was an excellent student whose strong performance we celebrate, even while we don’t presume too much credit for this singular result; 2) Our introduction of a new mid-stream writing evaluation assessment tool is an important step in tracking our majors’ learning prior to that ultimate senior assessment; and, 3) Having transitioned through staff changes and a major curricular revision, we look forward to assessing our students’ learning in the upcoming years.

Graphic Design: We are excited to see growing interest in the Graphic Design major among younger students, and we are eager for stability in staffing of those courses. Our current senior majors are assessed through formal analysis art writing, an oral presentation, and the senior exhibit. Students earlier in the program are evaluated through a sophomore-level assessment rubric, based on work in the foundations courses. To help our students improve their art writing skills, we are now incorporating writing assignments into all of the lower- and upper-level art history and design history courses. To help our students more adequately prepare for their senior exhibits and presentations, beginning in Fall 2017 we will offer Art Seminar in the fall, rather than in the spring. We also plan to begin a new assessment of the internship required of graphic design majors.

Health and Physical Education: The Health and Physical Education department had found student success in implementing the assessment of department learning objectives as embedded into existing coursework.  Recent use of a general comprehensive exam for the assessment of learning objectives has been unsuccessful, thus the department is looking to transition away from this exam and find ways to embed assessment into the course sequence. Other changes that may happen in the future will be to realign department objectives to work well with the Kansas State Department of Education’s physical education standards.

History: In order to better assess learning over the course of an academic career as a history major at Bethel, starting last year students will be given a general history assessment test in an early gateway course for the major, History Methodologies, and then again as seniors as part of the History Seminar course. In addition, to ensure adequate and suitable use of a wide range of library and archive sources, History Seminar includes a new bibliography assignment and assessment.

Mathematics: We assess our students based on our objectives related to computation skills and conceptual understandings in a variety of fundamental and advanced areas; effective oral presentation of mathematical concepts; ability to write mathematical documents using LATEX; ability to successfully integrate and apply their mathematical knowledge in an area of research for their senior seminar project; and knowledge of significant persons, events, and developments in the history of mathematics, including knowledge of non-western mathematics. Our assessment instruments range from proof-writing and course-specific exams to senior seminar research and presentation, along with the ETS Major Field Test in Mathematics. With only one graduate in 2017, we will not report specific data this year, not only because of sample size but also in order to ensure that student’s privacy.

Music: On the Major Field Tests in Music, the majority of our graduating seniors continue to score about the 65% designation with some of our students scoring about the 90%. These scores are compared to all schools of music taking the Major Field Tests in Music. The formal evaluations of the Senior Recital Preview performance and the Senior Recital Preview program notes appear to give guidance to seniors in preparation for their senior recital. The implementation of a Sophomore Jury Review form is providing more extensive feedback for all sophomores interested in becoming music majors.

Nursing: In 2016-17 the Department of Nursing set the stages for several ongoing assessment projects moving into the future as well as changes to data collecting and reporting activities within the department. At the time of this report, 93% of Nursing graduates from 2017 had passed the NCLEX. It is anticipated that the 2017-18 report will include an outcome report of the Academic Coaching pilot, a revision to the admission process, NCLEX improvement initiatives, and RN-BSN assessments since the initiation of this new program, whose first students will graduate in 2018.

Psychology: Bethel psychology students achieved at a high level in 2016-17, especially as evidenced in their senior theses. Assessment objectives were met in all aspects of their theses though performance in particular areas might still be improved. One senior thesis led to a presentation at the annual URICA Convocation, while another led to a presentation at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Average Bethel psychology student performance on the Educational Testing Service Major Field Examination is at the 90th percentile compared to national departmental norms for the entire period of about 20 years over which it has been administered at Bethel. Assessment goals and objectives for 2017-18 will be similar to those employed in recent years with some adaptations based upon new faculty interests and associated modifications of assessment instruments.

Social Work: The Social Work Program continues to monitor progress on student-centered program outcomes through the field evaluation instrument as well as evaluations of embedded course assignments. Each of the components/behaviors under the 2015 CSWE Standards must be measured in at least two ways (Field Evaluation and another measure). The Field Evaluation instrument for senior placements was revised to comply with the new 2015 Educational Policy Statement. Syllabi for all courses also indicate the 2015 competencies and components/behaviors they address. One year ago the following instruments were adopted as the second assessment measures: Policy paper evaluation rubric/form (SWK420); senior Field Case Presentation evaluation form (SWK481), Senior Seminar/Thesis Evaluation Form (SWK482); evaluation of the individual/family assessment paper (SWK360), and an evaluation form/rubric for the Skills course final interview analysis (SWK310). During the last year, additional assessments have been developed and implemented: an ethics-related assignment, The Case of Mary Milleson, in SWK360; the Action and Advocacy assignment in SWK420; the Family Paper assessment in SWK355; several assignments grouped together in Intervention (SWK460); the practice evaluation assignment in Pre-practice Seminar (SWK481); and the social history assignment (SWK310) completed in conjunction with Presbyterian Manor.

Teacher Education: The Teacher Education Department had 14 program completers for the 2016-17 school year. Of the 14 program completers eight were elementary (K-6) candidates, three were all level (P-12) candidates, and three were secondary (6-12) candidates*. The department collects summative data on each graduate (e.g., KPTP, GPA), course related data (e.g., student teaching evaluations), and licensure data (e.g., Portfolio, ETS content tests and Principles of Learning and Teaching test) when applicable to the program completer. Each of these assessments, both internal and external, is designed to give the department evaluative data regarding the strength of the program in regard to program goals and objectives (see conceptual framework summary). For example the Education Department Portfolio is directly aligned with the departmental objectives with students receiving a score for each of the objectives met. The PLT is more loosely aligned with departmental goals, yet the alignment does exist (the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) selected the PLT based on its alignment with state standards and Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) principles; the Teacher Education Department has aligned their goals and objectives with KSDE standards and INTASC principles).  KSDE approved new professional education standards in spring 2015.  The process of aligning courses and assessments to the new professional education standards is ongoing. During the 2016-17 school year, the education department chair worked with a representative from Baker University and McPherson College to create a new clinical observation instrument, based on the professional education and INTASC standards. During the 2017-18 school year, 13 institutions in the state will be piloting this instrument and the group has contracted with McRel to run reliability and validity studies.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.