M.S. in Computer Science

Assessment Plan

 

PLO’s

2013-2014

2014-2015

2015-2016

2016-2017

2017-2018

PLO 1

Assessment questions that address SLO’s for courses that hit this PLO – CS 6110, 6170, 6260, 6520, 6715, 6752, 6810, 6820, 6825, 6835, 6865, 6901; Math 6750

Collect and share experiences, suggestions regarding assessment from instructors. Assess department-wide on PLO

Review effects of changes to program on assessment.

Work to improve assessment procedures

Re-evaluate and update learning outcomes

PLO 2

Assessment questions that address SLO’s for each course that addresses this PLO – CS 6000, 6110, 6140, 6170, 6310, 6320, 6430, 6432, 6522, 6525, 6526, 6560, 6570, 6575, 6580, 6591, 6592, 6594, 6596, 6660, 6665, 6715, 6870, 6901, Math 6750

Collect and share experiences, suggestions regarding assessment from instructors.

Review effects of changes to program on assessment. Assess department-wide on PLO

Work to improve assessment procedures

Re-evaluate and update learning outcomes

PLO 3

Assessment questions that address SLO’s for each course that addresses this PLO – CS 6110, 6140, 6170, 6260, 6330, 6520, 6560, 6570, 6575, 6580, 6592, 6660, 6810, 6820, 6825, 6835, 6865, 6901; Math 6750. Assess department-wide on PLO

Collect and share experiences, suggestions regarding assessment from instructors.

Review effects of changes to program on assessment.

Work to improve assessment procedures

Re-evaluate and update learning outcomes

PLO 4

Assessment questions that address SLO’s for each course that addresses this PLO – CS 6310, 6320, 6522, 6525, 6870; Math 6750

Collect and share experiences, suggestions regarding assessment from instructors.

Review effects of changes to program on assessment.

Work to improve assessment procedures. Assess department-wide on PLO

Re-evaluate and update learning outcomes

PLO 5

Assessment questions that address SLO’s for each course that addresses this PLO – CS 6000, 6526, 6592, 6594

Collect and share experiences, suggestions regarding assessment from instructors.  

Review effects of changes to program on assessment.

Work to improve assessment procedures

Re-evaluate and update learning outcomes. Assess department-wide on PLO

 

 

 

5-Year Program Review

 

 

Closing the Loop

To start the process, the graduate committee and department chair defined PLO’s for the Master’s program in Computer Science in the academic year 2012-2013.  Faculty teaching courses were then asked to insert SLO’s that could be mapped to the PLO’s into their syllabi.

Some of the earliest attempts to evaluate how well students achieved the PLO’s were too subjective, based on the faculty member’s opinions. After early discussions with university experts on assessment, the department determined that it would be best to standardize the evaluation procedure by having faculty teaching a course develop an assessment quiz on Blackboard that would be not part of the graded material for the course.

Challenges for assessment have included:

  • Motivating students to do the assessment
  • Supporting courses that cover different topics from quarter to quarter. We want to strike a balance between providing students with standardized expectations and with exposing them to current developments. The core material covered by the capstone course (CS 6901) is fundamental, but in practice, the “expertise” mentioned in ILO #6 requires some level of exposure to newer technology. Faculty members and lecturers will have different areas of expertise, so we do need to allow some variation in the material covered.
  • Accounting for the needs of both the Computer Science and Computer Networks MS programs

Changes that have been made:

At this point, one of the factors affecting the program is a sudden increase in interest in the program. For Fall 2014, we had to reject many applicants who were qualified. We are in the process of restoring a requirement for GRE scores to give us more data to evaluate applicants. This will also help us have more consistency with the Computer Networks program, which has maintained a requirement for the GRE.

We have also had a problem of oversubscribed courses. The university has limits on class sizes while students register for classes during specific scheduled time slots. Students have signed up for many more courses than they intend to take and drop courses at a later time. While this may seem like purely an administrative inconvenience, it does create concrete pedagogical problems. Because students join the programs with varying backgrounds, incoming students in some sense compete with existing students for many of the same classes. Since incoming students register after existing students, they are the ones who are often shut out of the classes they should be taking. This increases the chances they end up trying to learn material that is beyond them. To handle this problem, the department has started to limit early registration for courses.

For changes made to address issues with specific PLO’s, adjustments are currently made in an ad hoc manner. For example, for PLO #3, CS 6560 did show a relatively low score of 5.8 in 2013. The instructor made the modification of changing some of the technical papers he assigned to students to cover. We did find that students in the capstone course (CS 6901) ultimately do seem to understand the material well, scoring an excellent 9.0 on PLO #3. Over the next year, we intend to collect information on how instructors have made adjustments based on assessment results and the impact of those adjustments.

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