The Biology Department examines our assessment data yearly in order to determine if adjustments to our curricula are required. In general, we make major adjustments during program review, and minor adjustments in between program review cycles, as needed. We use a variety of assessments, including the Major Field Test in Biology, signature assignments in a senior capstone course, senior exit interviews, surveys of comparator schools, and alumni surveys.
Over the past ten years, we used our assessment data to justify several major changes in our curricula, including:
- splitting a semester-long introductory course for freshman majors into two semester-long introductory courses,
- changing the content of several upper-division courses that relied on the introductory sequence,
- revamping our marine biology course offerings, and
- restructuring the required and elective courses in our Biology majors to give students more choice in their education.
We are currently in another program review cycle, and we are examining both our undergraduate and graduate programs in detail. Overall, we will continue to use our assessment data to monitor our students’ progress, their success at achieving their career goals, and their overall satisfaction with their education at PLNU.