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Theater Studies

Assessment Plan

Direct Assessment

  • In tandem with the implementation of a new curriculum for incoming majors, the Department will initiate a new method of direct assessment of student progress in courses and production worked based on goals we establish in the Theater Studies Undergraduate Guide distributed by the department at the beginning of each academic year. At their first meeting with their major advisor, majors will be asked to discuss their goals as a major and their plan of study. Faculty will be assessing the students’ work based on their goals and the department’s stated goals.

    Because students are not required to declare a major until the end of the sophomore year, this new assessment tool - a two-part faculty review with a culminating numeric rating - will first be used prior to registering for courses during the majoring student’s spring semester of junior year.

    At that point, a faculty committee - comprising all faculty who’ve taught a particular student - will meet to discuss each student’s work based on a report prepared by the student’s major advisor. The faculty will use a scoring rubric to evaluate the work produced and the learning objectives covered in this mission statement.  This rubric will be 0-2 for each learning outcome (0=marginal/no competence, 1= acceptable/minimum competence, 2=sophisticated/advanced competence.)

    Students will then meet with their faculty advisor to discuss the numeric rating they have received.  Students can register specific concerns, and can be advised about areas on which to concentrate and methods to use to bring the rating up.

    The second part of this new assessment tool will be an equivalent rating-review at the end of the major’s senior year.  Clear evidence – as shown by a numeric grade – will be the evidence that the both the student’s and department’s goals have been achieved.
  • All senior majors must take the department’s capstone Senior Seminar. This course is a review of concepts and techniques a student should have gained in their experience as a major. There is a final project involving research and creative work. A student’s success in the Senior Seminar is a measure of how much they have learned and whether the department has met its educational goals. Therefore a measure of success is the percentage of majors achieving an excellent grade in the Senior Seminar – 50% As would be an extremely successful outcome; 30% As would be successful. These grades are determined by the instructor of record for the seminar.
  • Senior Distinction Projects require that a student show mastery of a particular theatrical discipline as the result of two semesters of work culminating in a public performance through acting in a particularly demanding role, directing a full length production, designing a production, or writing a script that receives a public presentation. In addition, a student must write an essay that combines significant research with an assessment of the student’s experience with the project. Thus, success in a Senior Distinction Project demonstrates a higher level of mastery of both intellectual and creative work than does the project required for the Senior Seminar. A student’s work is mentored and evaluated by a committee of three faculty members – a faculty project supervisor, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and a third faculty member. Success in a Senior Distinction Project is a measure of a student’s – and the departments – success.  Are our students interested and committed enough to their work to pursue such a rigorous program? Are students encouraged to pursue Distinction Projects? Do students feel they have been properly mentored throughout the project? Have they been equipped through their course work and previous production experience in the department to successfully complete their project? The student’s success in completion of the distinction project and evaluation of their experience in their essay provide measures of our success in achieving our goal.

Indirect Assessment Data

  • oral or written evaluations by graduating seniors of their departmental learning experiences
  • the percentage of majors successfully graduating with distinction  – having approximately 33% of graduating majors pursuing Graduation with Distinction would be extremely successful; 25% would be a successful outcome
  • lists of the previous year’s departmental and university-wide awards granted to Theater Studies majors (Departmental awards indicate recognition of excellence among students in Acting, Directing, Criticism and Dramatic Writing and are discussed and voted on by the full-faculty in the spring semester.  University Awards in the Arts are decided by faculty in all arts disciplines and competition is open to students in all the arts.)
  • the percentage of graduates admitted into graduate and professional programs within three years of graduation (25% would be considered highly successful, 15% successful)
  • the percentage of graduates obtaining jobs in theater, film, television and related fields within three years of graduation (50% would be considered highly successful, 40% successful)
  • student course evaluation data
  • data from the university administered exit survey

In the fall prior to the first day of classes, these direct and indirect data will be presented for analysis by the regular rank faculty in order to come to an overall consensus of if and how the expected learning incomes are being met. This meeting would also be a time to discuss and establish any necessary changes to the department’s curriculum and to the assessment process as the size of the faculty increases.

Trinity College Office of Assessment

The Office of Assessment provides analysis and research on Duke's undergraduate curriculum, courses, departments and programs in efforts to improve student learning. 

Trinity College Office of Academic Affairs