BIOL 415 Nerve Cell Mechanisms in Behavior
BIOL 4150 Neural Bases of Behavior
Prof. Stark - Assessment Report ­p; Spring 2018

It is particularly problematic to do "assessment" for these courses this semester. Since December 2002, "course assessment" replaced "student outcomes assessment" (see; faculty were directed to collect information used to change or improve courses in keeping with SLU's policy ("Assessment results are utilized to improve courses and curriculum"). Biology faculty were even asked in our annual brag sheets how we had used the results of assessment to improve our courses. I administered a questionnaire for course assessment that started with the question of whether the course met its stated objectives. This was cumbersome for the students and time-consuming for me to score (see This course will be discontinued after this semester, and, anyway, I have retired, so the issue of improving the course is now irrelevant. And so I am taking this situation as a reason to undo the burden of the questionnaire.


For biology program assessment, faculty were told that our assessments should include "direct measures of student learning include artifacts such as written assignments, research papers/projects, lab reports, case studies, posters, powerpoint presentations, pre- and post-test measures of knowledge, embedded exam questions that relate to a specific learning outcome, and student portfolios." In my opinion, this shows a confusion of student outcomes assessment for courses, course assessment, and program assessment. I have none of these materials for BIOL 4150, though for BIOL 6150, the 5 student presentations are posted on the syllabus (

Information relating to outcomes assessment
Test 1 (out of 65) High 65 Low 34, Ave=54.7
Test 2 (out of 65) High 64, Low 33.5, Ave=53.7
Test 3 (out of 65) High 62, Low 39, Ave=52.0

In terms of outcomes assessment, that the top score was so high proves that the material can be mastered. The fact that the low score was so low shows that the material was challenging, also, perhaps, that there were some students who did not belong in this course.

The final curve was
A n=10
A- n=4
B+ n=3
B n=2
B- n=1
C n=1

A final note

Assessments were required since Fall, 2000. All my assessments (all 57 of them) are posted, and so my assessments are very transparent. Does anybody make sufficient use of this material to justify the effort? Do any other faculty have assessments that can be acessed? It certainly has been a lot of work! And so I am glad this is my last time.
Posted July 16, 2018

Return to Stark Home Page

Return to Neuro Syllabus

Assessment Report Neu