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Department of Political Science

MA: 2016 Assessment Summary


Two direct assessment mechanisms inform our evaluation of student learning outcomes.

The first of these is the written comprehensive examination process.  In the case of the MA degree each of these exams contains three questions.  The first requires students to demonstrate a mastery of the current scientific literature in one of the fours subfields of political science – American politics, international relations, comparative politics and political thought.  The second questions probes more narrowly and more deeply into a research issue within their major field.  The third portion of the exam requires students to draw broadly across the entire field of political science. The results of these exams over the past five years describe a student body that has mastered the field of political science at the Masters level.  Of the twenty-three students who took the exams since the spring of 2012, none failed.

The second direct assessment tool used to evaluate student learning outcomes among our MA students involves the required writing exercise – thesis, report or seminar papers.  All thirty-three students passing the written exams likewise met this writing requirement in a solid fashion.

An indirect assessment instrument has been used to augment our evaluation of student achievement. This involves several questions contained the Exit Survey which is conducted by the College of Arts and Sciences. Responses to these questions clearly indicate that our students are very pleased with their graduate experience.

Overall, it is apparent that our graduates are departing with considerable “value added” in terms of knowledge gained.  Most specifically, Master of Arts students’ grasp of the theories and methods of political science is vastly superior to the best BA or BS graduates in POLSC at KSU.