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Assessment Plan

Learning Goals



Initial Reflections on Assessment Data

For more information, please contact the Chair of the Department’s Assessment Committee, Charles Varano at

The department’s new majors represent the emerging diversity in California, nearly half are nonwhite. Most come from the immediate Sacramento area. Many are first generation with higher education. Most have majored in another area before switching to sociology. As measured by GPA, there is a tendency for a bimodal distribution among the new majors. Forty percent indicate they have a 3.00 GPA and above, while a substantial minority have below average GPAs (2.50 or below). Only about 1 in 10 has a high GPA (3.40 or above). Most will work while students and a third of them will be working more than 25 hours per week. Most have had a least one college level English and math course, but only a third had taken three courses in English.

They choose sociology as a major because of their interest in studying and helping people, because they enjoyed their first course in sociology, because they want to understand their place in a global and international world and because they had heard good things about the department. As far as career goals, nearly half want to teach or do some type of counseling/social work. Only 5 percent expressed an interest in doing research.

The department will need to be mindful of the low interest in research, since 9 of the department’s required core courses deal with statistics and research methods. There may be a clash between what students want from sociology and what the department requires, especially with respect to the statistics and methods sequence. Another item that may need to be discussed with new students more systematically in the future are possible careers options with a major in sociology. If most of these students want to go into teaching or counseling/social work, these students will need to be directed and advised accordingly.

Graduating seniors indicate that they are generally very pleased with the major, with faculty, and with various aspects of the sociology program. Three-fourths of them could briefly write about a memorable learning experience they had, and all described an important strength in the department. Eighty-five percent felt that the required course sequence provided them with an integrated curriculum. Eighty-five percent were satisfied with the sociology major, and nearly 80 percent would choose to major in sociology again if they had to do it over. In addition, well over three-fourths believed that the sociology major helped them to increase basic, general education skills in the areas of reading, writing, critical thinking, and data analysis.

Graduating seniors also indicated that there is room for improvement. Two of the eleven learning goals are not being attained at the level of the others--basic computer skills necessary to find, communicate, create and apply sociological knowledge and understanding the place of American society in the international and global world. In addition, most of the graduating seniors had little or no connection to campus life, and only a fifth of them had attended or participated in the Sociology Student Association. This is probably due to the commuter campus at CSUS and to the fact that so many the graduating seniors work. The department may need to work out ways in which the Student Association receives more support, although in the past, the strength of the Association directly depended on the involvement, motivation, and energy of the student officers.









California State University, Sacramento