Assessment Plan

The current major was approved in December of 2006 and was a result of focused and extensive discussions among dance faculty; between the Director of the Dance Program and the Dean of Trinity College; and between members of the Dance faculty and both the Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee and the Executive Committee of the Arts and Sciences Council.

The Dance Program’s assessment of student learning objectives (SLO) is currently a combination of direct and indirect measures.

A. Direct Assessment

1. Capstone courses: The Dance Program requires two capstone courses for the completion of the major, DAN 199S and 200T or 200AT. Direct assessment of the acquisition of the intellectual and artistic foundations of the discipline is part of these capstone courses. These courses culminate in a written, choreographic or performance research project. The choreographic or performance research project requires a public performance. An oral defense of all projects is required before a committee of a minimum of three dance faculty.

2. Honors projects leading to Distinction in Dance are assessed by a team of 3 faculty members, including the project director and two other invited members.

B. Indirect Assessment

1. Beginning in 2009, the year of graduation for the first majors in Dance, we will be undertaking exit interviews with all majors.
2. In the past, we have tracked students who were active in dance during their years of study at Duke. Did they pursue a dance or dance related career? Have they chosen to do graduate work in dance? How did we prepare them for advanced study or practice in dance? What is the nature of their post-graduate choreographic work? If their career was in a non-dance related field, what methodologies of the discipline have proved helpful to them in their chosen career? With the first majors graduating for the first year in 2009, we will create and maintain a more formal method of tracking our graduates, specifically targeting those who major or minor in dance.
3. In addition to course grades as indirect measures, we utilize the standardized Student course evaluation system (SCE). The SCE data allow for comparison of the program to like programs at the college level. We also track outcomes such as graduation with distinction rates and successful post-graduate matriculation of majors. We pay particular attention to the overall rating of the departmental courses and instruction, as well as perceived levels of intellectual stimulation as compared to overall Trinity College levels. These data are reviewed by the Program Director and the Director of Undergraduate Studies during the annual review process of the program.

C. Assessment during the Undergraduate Years

Ongoing assessment of the artistic and technical elements of physical expression occurs through observation, critique and review in all courses in dance technique, dance composition and dance performance/repertory. In addition, assessment occurs in the presentation of dance in concert in formal and informal settings. All Faculty see publicly performed student choreography and performance. Although subjective in viewpoint, faculty assessment of student performance artistry is based on standards inherent within the profession.

Ongoing assessment of student work in the creative process includes the students’ attention to movement exploration, concept development, manipulation of ideas and movement vocabulary, skills in the craft of choreography and the development of original creative work for performance.

Regular and ongoing discussion occurs among faculty about individual students’ development as they complete their coursework. In that the assessment of student learning outcomes is an ongoing function of the faculty, the results are part of a process of faculty discussion at discipline specific meetings and retreats to address the needs within the curriculum. Planning for program improvement is a direct result of faculty interaction. Through continuing faculty interaction with the profession and professional peers, the program is held responsible for developing contemporary practices in curriculum development, artistic development and methodology for delivering the curriculum.

Regular meetings, at least one per year, are scheduled with majors and members of the dance faculty to hear student insights, and to address student questions and concerns about the curriculum and Program.

Expected Outcome Levels

Dance faculty meet at the end of every academic year to discuss the outcome of the capstone projects and the distinction projects of students who have undertaken them. We assess that we are reaching the goals for the program if 75% of majors receive the Grade of A- or above in 199S: Dance Research and Methods; and if 75% of majors receive the Grade of A or above in 200T or 200AT: Senior Project. The other 25% need to receive a passing grade of C or above. Re. Distinction projects, we are reaching the goals for the program if 67% of students undertaking them receive a grade of A- or above and the remaining 33% receive a passing grade of C or above. Grades are determined using the methods detailed in section IV A above.