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Assessment Plans

“ The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. ”
- Aristotle
In order to facilitate assessment activities of the department, a special assessment committee will be created, which will consist of three faculty members. The committee will be headed by the Chair of the department and will be charged with collection and analysis of the assessment data as outlined below.

The assessment for all our programs (undergraduate and graduate) is a three-pronged activity focused on (i) assessing students’ performance  in each of the courses within their major, (ii) assesment of the overall effectiveness of the program in achieving its learning outcomes, and (iii) assessment of the program from the point of view of students’ achivements after graduation.

The first thrust of the assessment efforts is directed toward assessing student performance in the classroom and labs via coursework, midterm and final exams, instructor reflection, and student assessment forms. Embedded exam questions will be constructed to assess student achievements in comparison with expected learning outcomes specified by the syllabi for each course. Student assessment forms will replace currently used departmental questionnaires and will collect students’ reflection on the relation between expected and achieved learning outcomes in each course.

The second assessment thrust will be slightly different for our undergraduate programs, MA program and Photonics B.S./M.S. program. In the case of undergraduate students we will rely on student performance in the capstone course, which will be introduced to the departmental curriculum as one of the mandatory courses. Participation in this course will test student’s ability to understand technical literature and communicate clearly, orally and in writing, physical ideas and concepts in adherence with the norms accepted in scientific  community. In addition we will encourage students to undertake research projects and present them at the end of the year as a part of a competition for the Michael Craig-Scheckman Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research Project. Students active in research will be allowed to substitute the capstone course for the thesis defense, which will assess similar competencies as the capstone course.

The assessment of the M.A. program will be based on the student exit questionnaire, which will be focused on evaluation of student’s overall experience with the program in connection with their individual goals.

The assessment of the Photonics M.S. program will be based on students’ final projects, which will be assessed by the thesis defense committee and reports of the internship supervisors.

Finally, students’ ability to successfully compete for positions in quality graduate programs or industry will be assessed through exit surveys which track the post-baccalaureate positions secured by the students. Exit interviews will be conducted each year and the alumni will be contacted three years after graduation for follow-up interviews. Recent graduates will be contacted as well. For undergraduate and M.A. students we will also collect GRE scores of those recent graduates who will volunteer to provide them and determine correlations between GRE score and grades in physics courses at Queens College.

At the end of each academic year the results of the final exams in introductory and upper-level courses will be collected by the assesment committee. This committee will also collect data from student assessment forms and ask instructors for self-assesments of their individual courses.  After analyzing all collected data, the committee will provide feedback to the instructors with suggestions on correction steps, if necessary. The committee will also discuss the assesment results of the Photonic M.S. with Industrial Advisory Board of the M.S program and convey the Board’s suggestions on improvement of the program to the program’s director. Once every three years, the assessment committee will analyse external data on students’ after graduation achievements and make recommendations on making changes in the departmental curriculum if necessary.