Africana Studies

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Academic Assessment

Assessment Liaison: Dr. Marquita Gammage

Overview of Assessment in Africana Studies

The Africana Studies Department aims to provide an in-depth assessment and review of the educational programs provided for the purpose of improving student learning , development, and the overall educational experiences of students.

What is the plan?

The plan is to first assess students at the beginning of the lower division in our BA, then in a cross-sectional assessment, compare those results with seniors about to graduate. This would give us information about students' knowledge base as they enter the major, and if the skills and abilities tested improve after completing the lower division and upper divisions. In addition, senior/alumni surveys and program/event exit surveys will be used to assess the usefulness of our extra-curriculum activities. The results will be used as a measurement of the effectiveness of the degree program. 

What is our goal?

Our goal is to provide a high-quality educational environment by equipping students with the skills to meet the following learning outcomes:

Department Student Learning Outcomes (SLO’s):

  1. Gain an understanding of the political, social-historical and cultural perspectives of the African American Experience in Africa and the African Diaspora.
  2. Gain broad knowledge of the cultural, political and historical contexts in which the African and African American Experience took place.
  3. Develop appropriate skills in research design and methodology used to examine the various interdisciplinary areas of the Africana Studies Department curriculum.

The table below details how each learning outcome align with each of the following University’s Fundamental Learning Competencies.

Africana Studies Leaning Outcomes

Big 5 CompetenciesSLO #1SLO #2SLO #3
Critical ThinkingXXX
Oral CommunicationXXX
Written CommunicationXXX
Quantitative Literacy  X
Information LiteracyXXX

2014/2015 Assessment Overview and Results

Assessing SLO #1 and SLO #2

A signature assignment was administered in AFRS 100. The assignment was intended to assess students’ 1) knowledge of  the discipline of Africana Studies, 2) leading theories  and methodologies in the field, and 3) students’ ability to identify elements of Black culture, including history, religion, social organization, politics, economics, psychology, and creative production.

Results

Data was assed using the system of SPSS. Data indicates an increase in students’ 1) knowledge of  the discipline of Africana Studies, 2) leading theories  and methodologies in the field, and 3) students’ ability to identify elements of Black culture, including history, religion, social organization, politics, economics, psychology, and creative production. The results will be used as a measurement of the effectiveness of the curriculum modifications. Additional data is being collected in order to establish a longitudinal assessment. The Signature assignment was administered in two sections of AFRS 100 (Spring 2014 OL and Fall 2014). Data illustrates that students demonstrated an above average introductory level of knowledge in 1) discipline of Africana Studies, 2) theories and methodologies, and 3) Black culture.

AFRS 100 instructors were surveyed to assess the effectiveness of the standardized course materials, signature assignment and rubrics. Based on the interviews (N=3) all professors cited a need to change the course required text book. It was noted that the book was at the graduate level. The faculty recommended switching the book to Introduction to Black Studies, which is the most widely used text in the discipline. Faculty also reported using supplemental text to increase student’s knowledge about Black culture. Also, faculty reported a high level of usefulness of the evaluation rubrics. Finally 100% implemented the standardized signature assignment.

Application

The department is continuing its data collection of the signature assignment in AFRS 100 and will implement data collect in AFRS 498in Spring 2016 in order to develop a longitudinal evaluation. A cross-sectional comparison of freshmen with seniors’ signature assignments will be conducted over the 2015-16 AY. The gateway course AFRS 100 was used to determine the level of knowledge students enter into the major with. The capstone course, AFRS 498, will be used to determine the level of proficiency achieved by Africana Studies majors who applied for graduation status. Results were used also as a measurement of the effectiveness of the curriculum. This gave us information about students’ knowledge base as they enter the major. The results will be used as part of a longitudinal study as a measurement of the effectiveness of the curriculum modifications. Additional data is required to assess improved student learning.

Assessing Critical Thinking

During Fall 2014 AFRS 300 Contemporary Issues in the African American Community was assessed to evaluate the instruction and application of critical thinking within the degree program. A Critical Research Article Review Paper was reviewed to examine students ability to read and critically review the two articles and provide a detail assessment of the articles.

Results

Critical Article Review Papers were submitted by 31/33 students. On average students scored 13.83 out of 15. Students demonstrated an outstanding ability to critically analyze information.  They demonstrated very good articulation of author’s central argument showing high ability to identify and summarize main points. Also, a very good applications of original assessment of author’s work demonstrating high ability to analyze in order to form new arguments. Third, a very good development of original claims showing high ability to critically examine and challenge the author’s central argument. Fourth, students demonstrated a very good use of examples/illustrations from the author’s text that demonstrate high ability to synthesize evidence in analytical way to formulate clear conclusions. And finally, a very good discussion of the implications demonstrating high ability to support new arguments.

Assessing Oral Communication

During Fall 2014 AFRS 300 Contemporary Issues in the African American Community was assessed to evaluate the instruction and application of oral communication within the degree program. Critical Debate Presentations were assessed to review students ability to orally present information analytically.

Results

Debate presentations were carried out in AFRS 300 to assess the department SLOs #1 and #2 and to assess the oral communication skills of our students. 33 students completed in-class oral debate presentations. The average score students earned was 13.28 out of 15. Students demonstrated an outstanding ability to orally present information in a timely clear manner. Students synthesized evidence in analytical way to formulate clear arguments. They critically examined and challenged the opposing argument with evidence and accurately relied on authorities in response to questions. Finally student incorporated quantitative data to support claims. It is important to note that although we were not assessing quantitate literacy on this assignment, evaluations of students presentations revealed that students are applying their quantitative literacy beyond set assignments.

AFRS 325 The Black Man in Contemporary Times was also assessed to evaluate students ability to orally present information in an analytical way. Research Poster Presentations were presented at the Men of Color Enquiry & Student Research Poster Session on April 1, 2015.

Results

One hundred twenty four participants attended the event and eighty two surveys were collected.

Each of the six cultural competence variables was normally distributed and the assumptions of linearity were not violated; therefore, Pearson correlations were computed to examine the interrcorrelations of the variables.  Table 1 confirms that all fifteen pairs of variables were significantly correlated.  The strongest positive correlation, which would be considered a very large effect size was between “Better understanding of Black males students’ needs and resources” and “cultural experiences of Africana people,” r (75) =.83, p<.001.  Participants who reported that the Men of Color (MOC) event addressed the cultural experiences of Africana people were very likely to have a better understanding of Black male students’ needs and resources. Appropriate research approaches to examine Africana peoples’ experiences was also positively correlated with diverse points of view, r (75) =.77, p<.001. Participants who reported that the MOC event adequately addressed diverse points of view were highly likely to also agree that appropriate research approaches to examine Africana peoples’ experiences were suitable.

Assessing Quantitative Literacy and SLO#3

During Spring 2015 AFRS 398 Research Methods and Paradigms in Africana Studies was assessed to evaluate students mastery of quantitative literacy within the degree program. AFRS 398 is a new required course for the major for students in the Social Science Option. Spring 2015 marked the first time the course was offered. This course is designed as an introduction to paradigms, theories, and models of research on the Pan African community. Emphasis was placed on methodological, epistemological and ethics concerns related to conducting research studies on people of African descent. Throughout the semester students completed literature reviews, questionnaire construction, and experimental designs.

To assess student’s quantitative literacy student were required to submit research proposals investigating an aspect of the most pressing issues facing the Black community in Los Angeles.

Results

All students (N=7) completed the required research proposal assignment. 100% of students demonstrated an outstanding ability to quantitatively development research project and think in quantities. The mean score on student’s research proposals was 20 out of a total of 20 points. Demonstrating their quantitative literacy, students analyzed the major theoretical and methodological issues on research and the Africana community. Students evaluated appropriate frameworks for critical analysis of research and the Africana community. Students applied the major research methods in the social science research. And finally, students applied appropriate research methods when examining the Africana community.

Application

Data is limited to one cohort of students. Additional data will be collected in Spring 2016 to assess the effective of AFRS 398 in meeting the stated AFRS learning outcome, SLO#3, and quantitative literacy requirement for the University.

Indirect Assessment

AFRS SHINE Faculty Contributions

The AFRS Department developed a rubric for assessing the effectiveness of the AFRS faculty in “Making CSUN Shine.” Faculty completed reporting forms to document contributions to student success, high visibility and reputation, increased research and scholarly activities, numerous pathways to success, and engagement with the community. See Africana Student Shine Annual Report

Africana Students Event Survey

The AFRS Event survey was administered throughout the 2013-14 AY and the 2014-15 AY. The statistical software SPSS was used to analyze data from the survey. The sample data presented is based on 325 surveys from 9 events.

Results

  • Over 90% of students "Agree" or "Strongly Agree" that they were able to gain an understanding of the political/social-historical/cultural perspectives of Africana people.
  • Over 95% of students "Agree" or "Strongly Agree" they our events address the cultural experiences of Africana people.
  • Over 85% of our programs display appropriate research methods to examine Africana people’s experiences.
  • 95% of Non-Majors state that our events adequately address diverse points of view.

Application

In addition, the AFRS Event Survey is being administered through the next few academic years to assess the effective of our extra-curricular programming in meeting the department’s stated SLOs.

Graduating Seniors and Alumni Survey-Forthcoming

Historically students have played a vital role in the movement for Africana Studies and have been key figures in the expansion, and maintenance of its legacy.  As such it is essential to sustain student involvement in shaping the future of the discipline.  In keeping with this, surveying graduates of PAS offers an opportunity to evaluate the department and offer complements and recommendations; thereby affording students the opportunity to aid in the shaping of the discipline and the Department.The department is working together to create a standard disciplinary assessment tool to evaluate learning outcomes and usefulness of majoring in Africana Studies. The targeted audience would be seniors and alumni. We are exploring online surveys administration with Google Surveys and Survey Monkey.

 

Last updated: January 15, 2016