Assessing Student Learning in Undergraduate Research Using the Principles of Undergraduate Research
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Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) adopted its six Principles of Undergraduate Learning (PUL) in 1998 to clearly define student learning outcomes. Achievement of these PULs has not been systematically assessed in undergraduate research despite the fact that five of these principles (communication, critical thinking, application of knowledge, intellectual depth, and ethics) align very well with the research experience. The IUPUI Center for Research and Learning (CRL) directs various undergraduate research programs that are course independent. A model to qualitatively and quantitatively measure student learning over time was recently implemented. Students are required to submit multiple written progress reports that address specific issues related to their research project and the PULs. A final summary report at the end of the project includes a personal reflection page. The reflection piece is facilitated by guiding questions and links the student experience to the PULs. A standard survey for both students and mentors is used for quantitative student and program assessment. In its pilot phase, the qualitative piece of student learning and outcomes will be monitored by the CRL director. However, this responsibility will shift to faculty mentors if this assessment model proves successful. It is anticipated that some form of mentor training will be needed to ensure consistency in meeting the program goals.