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Guidelines for Assessment Criteria

The following are guidelines for assessment plans and criteria that might be used by individual doctoral programs.

General Criteria

  • Does the overall plan specify how the program will conduct the assessment at each of the program’s assessment points and how the data will be gathered and used?
  • Are the program’s assessment points sufficient in number and at the appropriate moments for measuring overall student success?
  • Has the program developed an appropriate rubric for each assessment point? Are the rubrics clear, well developed, and designed to generate useful data?
  • Has the program appropriately distinguished between direct and indirect measures for each assessment point?
  • Are direct measures clearly articulated and sufficient in number?
  • Are indirect measures clearly articulated, and do they address quality of work, as opposed to simply quantity?
  • Does the program make and use assessments of students who did not succeed as part of its overall assessment process?

Criteria Specific to Stages of Graduate Career

Early Stage

  • Student demonstrates the ability to grasp and synthesize core concepts and theories of the discipline.
  • Student demonstrates the ability to think critically and understand texts/problems within the context of the discipline and the assessment point.
  • Student demonstrates the ability/potential to communicate at a graduate level in writing and oral performance.

Middle Stages

  • Student authors/co-authors articles in refereed and/or well-respected journals.
  • Student attends/presents research at top-tier conferences.

Qualifying/Comprehensive Exam 

  • Student demonstrates knowledge of key principles, methodologies, and subject areas within the discipline.
  • Student performs well on written and/or oral exams as appropriate.

Dissertation Proposal and Defense

  • Student persuasively demonstrates the significance, originality, and plausibility of the research/dissertation project.
  • Student writes the proposal well and presents it succinctly and clearly.

Dissertation and Defense

  • Student writes a solid dissertation that not only confirms mastery of the field but also creates new knowledge within the field.
  • Student writes the dissertation well and successfully defends it to the committee.

Post Graduation

  • Graduate provides feedback to the program on its strengths/weaknesses in preparing students for the next career stage.
  • Graduate gives an accounting of his or her success since graduation.
  • Student who fails to graduate also provides feedback to the program on its strengths and weaknesses.
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