Enhancing Learning through Assessment: Case Study using feedback from a Human Dimension Survey
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The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University is in the process of developing an assessment plan for measuring and evaluating each academic degree program (including student learning outcomes) in order to achieve objectives for institutional effectiveness. Assessment is a necessary component of any truly dynamic and progressive educational program. Assessment by evaluation can enhance student learning as well as augment instruction given by the professor. It also allows professors to determine which students reach or exceed learning targets and inform them so students can work to improve their weaknesses. Because there is no assessment plan currently in place for Texas A and M University's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, I evaluated results from a previously developed survey that had been given in multiple years to students enrolled in Wildlife Conservation and Management (WFSC 201), an entrance level course of the department. In 2008 I administered the survey to students enrolled in WFSC 201 and to senior-level students enrolled in Conservation Biology and Wildlife Habitat Management (WFSC 406), an upper level course, to evaluate undergraduate students' beliefs on various wildlife issues, interest in animals, and knowledge status of endangered species. The research presented in this thesis contributes a general overview of assessment as it relates to undergraduate degree programs in wildlife and fisheries sciences. The focus was in particular to the evaluation of student conservation issues, animal interest, and species knowledge as it relates to student background (student classification, gender, hometown population size, and participation in youth groups. The results from analyses of responses to specific questions from a survey administered to undergraduates in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University suggest that conservation beliefs and animal interest were highly correlated with gender and hometown population size. Students responding as males and having small hometown population size were more concerned about issues related to land or wildlife usage by humans and students responding as females and having large hometown population sizes were more concerned about issues related to habitat degradation and species viability. Males were also interested in mostly game species and females were interested in those of conservation, domestic, and herptiles. Lastly, the results from the knowledge question suggest that males attain and retain more knowledge of endangered species over females, and this relationship remains the same in non seniors and seniors. These results should be useful to the faculty currently and in the future as they develop an effective departmental assessment plan for the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University.
Windham, Marian K. (2009). Enhancing Learning through Assessment: Case Study using feedback from a Human Dimension Survey. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from