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Measuring Learning Outcomes for Undergraduate Geography Students

I am becoming increasingly interested in what it is, exactly, that we believe we are teaching to undergraduate geography students. I am appalled at the simplistic ways in which we use end of course student evaluations to measure teaching effectiveness. I applaud efforts at the development of instruments such as the AP Human Geography exam that attempt to actually measure what students of Geography have presumably learned. I also serve as an AP Geography exam reader. I intend to participate in this clarification of ‘Learning Outcomes’ for undergraduate degrees in Geography for the rest of my career because I think it is imperative that we as faculty in this discipline can answer questions like: “What will I learn from taking a degree in Geography that I won’t learn from taking some other degree?” The Department has developed five objective learning outcome assessment quizzes that are administered to hundreds of first year student and our graduating seniors for several years now. We have several article in preparation documenting the learning that takes place. There is room for more work in this area for interested students.