PBA Home >
Institutional Research & Analysis >
Outcomes Assessment >
Unit Summaries >
Department of Classics
Department of Classics
Last updated August 2002
Knowledge and skill goals for this undergraduate degree
program are recorded in the most recent CU-Boulder catalog. In some summaries of assessment activity,
goals are referred to by number (e.g., K-2 is knowledge goal 2).
Activity in 2000-01
Assessment had two prongs, one focused on knowledge goals K-1-3 in combination with
skills goals S-2-3, and the other focused on skills goal S-1, the ability to read classical
Greek and Latin. For aid in assessment of goals K-1-3 and S-2-3 the department invited an
external assessor, Professor Matthew Clark of York University, to visit a representative course,
Greek Mythology (CLAS 1100), and to review written examinations submitted by the students.
Professor Clark reported a high level of effort by the students to engage with a presentation
of material that was both broad and deep; the examinations met his expectations but emphasized
fact at the expense of interpretation. Professor Clark suggested that a change of course format,
to include recitation sections in addition to the lectures, would enable the students to gain
firmer grasp of the concepts entailed in a mythology course and enable the instructor to complement
the examinations with assignment of a major essay or research paper. This change has been adopted
for the next offering of the course in spring, 2003. The department continued its ongoing
assessment of goals K-1-3 and S-2-3 in a wider scope through an internal process, by collecting
representative examinations and final essays from seven courses offered in 2000-01, in which
goals K-1-3 and S-2-3 are embedded. The Outcomes Assessment Coordinator read the examinations
and essays, together with comments and grades supplied by the faculty, and verified that most
students are attaining outstanding levels of knowledge about the classical world and its
products, although the average student remains somewhat deficient in written expression (S-2).
Future efforts will be focused on assessing the final research papers produced in our new (2000-01)
capstone course for undergraduate majors (CLAS 4040, Seminar in Classical Antiquity), where we
can devote intensive attention to developing students' skills of written communication and critical
reading and thinking (S-2-3).
The second, somewhat separate, prong of Outcomes Assessment addressed skills goal S-1,
the ability to read classical Greek and Latin as embedded in translation of selected passages.
Students completing their second semester of Latin (CLAS 1024) were asked to translate an
unfamiliar passage of 63 words on a topic coherent with their work of the past year; across
the three sections, the average student translated 90.6%, 92.9% and 90.2% of words correctly,
over a range from 75.3% to 100%, a uniformly pleasing outcome. In the upper division, students
completing their sixth semester of Latin (CLAS 3024) were assessed on the basis of their
translations in examination circumstances of passages they had previously read. Here the scores
topped out at 97.3%, with more than half the students attaining accuracy above 90% and a decisive
majority above 80%. Our assessments of skill goal S-1 indicate that students are meeting this goal
at all levels of their study.