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Agriculture -- Study and teaching -- Assessment, Soil science -- Study and teaching -- Assessment, Student-centered learning, Educational tests and measurements


Faculty of Washington State University's undergraduate degree programs in Crop Science, Soil Science, and Horticulture initiated the development and implementation of an assessment process to gauge the extent to which WSU students in the plant and soil science programs meet university and program learning goals. This process was undertaken primarily to help improve our joint teaching efforts and students' learning; it also was encouraged by the needed documentation for the 2007 university accreditation and a need to better match our program learning goals with the University's newly developed Learning Goals of the Baccalaureate. The new program-level assessment plan focused on determining and documenting student progress and proficiency at the sophomore and senior levels. This paper describes the development process and results of the initial assessment cycle and how faculty from three degree programs were recruited and trained in the assessment of student research posters in the sophomore level course and oral presentations on soilplant management plans in the senior level course. Average faculty ratings were 2.8 for the sophomore projects and 4.5 for the senior projects out of a possible 6 points across all rubric dimensions, with inter-rater reliability of 89 and 87%, respectively. Increased scores at the senior level suggest that student proficiency does increase as students progress through our curriculum and can be documented by rubrics of comparable evaluation criteria


Article first appeared in NACTA Journal, and may be found at This project was supported by our departments, the Washington State University (WSU) Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, and a grant from the Office of Undergraduate Education, WSU.

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