Journal of American History
Table 1: Relationship of institutional, department, and course outcomes

Alverno College institutional outcomes

Mouse over any of the institutional outcomes to see how it can be traced through this continuum of increasing specificity.

Not all outcomes are represented.

Alverno College history department major outcomes

The student:

Identifies culturally grounded assumptions that have influenced the perception and behavior of people in the past and identifies those that influence her own perception and behavior.
Identifies and critiques the theories, concepts, and assumptions that historians have used to create coherent interpretations of the past.
Identifies, analyzes, and communicates the implications of values and valuing orientations that underlie her own and other historians’ choices of subjects for study, their theoretical approaches to these subjects, and their interpretations of these subjects.
Independently uses theories and conceptual frameworks to organize, synthesize, and communicate her interpretations of historical phenomena.
Takes responsibility for her own interpretations of the past by explaining and defending them publicly in a variety of personal and professional contexts.

Example of individual history course outcomes

United States in the Twentieth Century (fourth-semester course)

The student:

Makes relationships between and among observations and inferences about human behavior and social context through a critical analysis of secondary and primary sources.
Demonstrates an awareness of the analytical perspectives that shape historians’ interpretations and the assumptions and limitations of those interpretations.
Articulates and empathizes with diverse historical perspectives and learns to interpret an issue, event, or development in history from at least two different, historically conditioned world views.
Demonstrates the ability to use integrated communications to articulate a clear and effective relationship among historical events and ideas, express and clarify a position, and engage the audience using appropriate conventions and effective style.

Example of assessment of individual course outcomes

The student:

Applies historical frameworks to explore past events and to understand and articulate the role perspective plays in historical interpretation. She critiques past interpretations and constructs her own based on a variety of primary and secondary sources.

Format: Written analytical report to a colleague producing a documentary on early twentieth-century Americans. Compares and contrasts differing portrayals of workers, their conditions, and their causes. Considers values, perspectives, and accuracy in how workers were portrayed.

Criteria for Successful Performance

The student:

Uses disciplinary frameworks to raise questions to be answered or to set forth an argument to be proved.
Develops a reasoned argument through an analysis and synthesis of secondary and primary sources.
Clarifies how perspective affects choice and interpretation of sources of information
Consistently speaks with audience, adapting ideas and information to their background and experience.
Source: Modified from the brochure Ability=Based Learning Program: The History Major (1994; Milwaukee, 2001), 8.Alverno College history faculty translate generic institutional outcomes into department, course, and assessment outcomes.