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Natural Sciences Education Abstract - Articles

The T Assessment Tool: A Simple Metric for Assessing Multidisciplinary Graduate Education


This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 39 No. 1, p. 15-21
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
    Received: Jan 26, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): pete@edc.uri.edu
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  1. P. V. August *a,
  2. J.M. Swiftb,
  3. D. Q. Kellogga,
  4. G. Pagec,
  5. P. Nelsond,
  6. J. Opaluche,
  7. J. S. Cobbf,
  8. C. Fosterg and
  9. A.J. Golda
  1. a Univ. of Rhode Island Coastal Inst. and Dep. of Natural Resources Science, One Greenhouse Way, Kingston, RI 02881
    b Univ. of Rhode Island Coastal Inst. and Dep. of Communication Studies, Kingston, RI 02881
    c SustainaMetrix, 616 Windwood Road, Baltimore, MD 21212
    d Working InConcert, 199 Uplands, Berkeley, CA 94705
    e Univ. of Rhode Island Coastal Inst. and Dep. of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, Kingston, RI 02881
    f Univ. of Rhode Island Coastal Inst. and Dep. of Biological Sciences, Kingston, RI 02881
    g Univ. of Rhode Island Coastal Inst. and Dep. of Philosophy, Kingston, RI 02881


Although there is considerable activity in developing assessment protocols for undergraduate learning, there are few established models for assessment of student progress in multidisciplinary doctoral-level graduate education. To resolve this impediment in tracking graduate student development, we created a simple assessment tool based on the concept of T competency that allows graduate students to articulate explicit learning goals in disciplinary and multidisciplinary research. Our instrument allows quantitative measurement of a student's self-perception of his/her knowledge and interest in multidisciplinary inquiry. We use our T assessment tool to measure graduate student progress in an NSF IGERT-funded graduate program in coastal ecosystem management. The T model provides us a nomenclature to articulate learning goals, a quantitative means to evaluate current and future learning targets and progress in reaching those targets, and gives us another measure of assessing overall graduate program effectiveness. Our T tool is an instrument that should have considerable utility in measuring knowledge and interest in multidisciplinary research across a range of disciplines and graduate programs.

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