Assess teaching

Example: Assessment plan

SOC 302 - Intro to sociology

Teaching Context

The purpose of SOC 302-Introduction to Sociology is to introduce students to the discipline of sociology and provide them with the analytical tools necessary to understand their social environment. The course is a prerequisite for upper division sociology courses and fulfills a social science requirement in the core curriculum. The course is also required for some applied majors outside of the liberal arts such as marketing, management, advertising, and communications.

Two-thirds of the students who enroll in the course are freshmen, twenty percent are sophomores and the remaining fourteen percent are divided equally between juniors and seniors. About five percent are international and sixty percent are female. Approximately five percent of students have declared sociology as their major or minor.

The course is typically taught in a sloped auditorium with fixed seating. The standard multimedia console is available and includes DVD and VCR capabilities. All course materials and lecture notes are posted on the courses’ Blackboard site. Course requirements include three multiple-choice exams, two short writing assignments, and a participation requirement for Blackboard discussion groups. I teach one section of the course every long semester.


Central questions

Assessment purpose and uses

The purpose of assessing SOC 302 is to determine what students are (and are not) learning and how they are learning it. I also want to determine if using Blackboard discussion groups helps students learn. I will also ask students for feedback on my lectures and assignments. I will use these findings to make mid-course adjustments where possible and to make changes in the course for the next time I teach it.

Assessment components

Assessment timeline (assessment components shaded)

Course schedule
Date Topic


Conduct document analysis

Revise course

Plan assessment activities and course schedule

Write survey questions/create OCA template

Aug 26

Introduction to Course

Minute Paper – What I want to know about society

Aug 31

The Science of Society: How Sociology answers questions about society.

Sept 2

Theoretical Perspectives

Sept 9

Theoretical Perspectives

Muddiest Point – What remains unclear about the lecture?

Sept 14

Theory Review

The Individual and Society

Sept 21

The Individual and Society

Muddiest Point – What remains unclear about the assignment?

Sept 16

Social Roles

Respond to questions about assignment

Sept 21

Sociology of Everyday Life

Theory Application Assignment Due



Sept 28

Social Inequality

Send OCA survey – study habits, Blackboard use, instructor practices

Sept 30

Social Inequality

Minute Paper – The most interesting thing about social inequality is:

Oct 5

Racial and Ethnic Relations

Oct 7

Racial and Ethnic Relations

Discuss OCA survey results

Oct 12-14

Gender and Society

OCT 19


Oct 21

Formal Organizations

Minute Paper – Understanding formal organizations is important because:

Oct 26-28

Work and Society

Nov 2-4

Politics and Society

Nov 9-11

Education and Society

Nov 11-16

The Family

Nov 18

Religion and Society

Nov 23

Collective Behavior

Muddiest Point – What remains unclear about the assignment?

Nov 30

Collective Behavior

Respond to questions about assignment

Dec 2

Social Change

Institutional Inequality Assignment Due




Revise course based on assessment findings

Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
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