MPA: 2016 Assessment Summary
Over the reporting period, several mechanisms have informed our assessment of student learning outcomes.
The first of these is the written comprehensive examination process. Until the fall of 2014, two exams were involved. The first focused on the coursework in the core areas of public administration – research methods, policy analysis, personnel management, organization theory and public budgeting/finance. Since the fall of 2014 this has become the sole focus or our comprehensive examination process. The second portion of the written exam until the fall of 2014 evaluated student knowledge in an area of concentration within public administration.
The results of these exams over the reporting period describe a student body that has mastered the field of public administration at the Masters level. All thirty-five of the students taking the exam preformed at least at the passing level indicating that they exceeded our expectations. If we consider all the responses provided on the exams of these thirty-five students, approximately 91% indicate a solid understanding of the field of public administration.
The second tool used to evaluate student learning outcomes among our MPA students is the internship report and the oral defense of it. The report requires students to display substantive course-related knowledge, especially as regards the area of specialization, and the ability to integrate theory from their coursework with practice from the internship (pre-service students) or their professional position (in-service students). Beginning in the fall of 2014, this tool was changed. The internship report and defense were discontinued and replaced by an applied research project carried out by each student in association with our capstone seminar.
In the case of both of these assessments, we see again that student performance over the reporting period across all thirty-five students exceeded expectations.
We have added a third assessment which is indirect in nature involving three questions contained in the exit survey conducted by the College of Arts and Sciences. Between 89% and 100% agreed or strongly agreed that out MPA program “challenged me intellectually”, provided them with a “good educations” and that they would “recommend our program to someone else”.