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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.

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Last revision 01/28/03


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