Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA
The Star Properties Concept Inventory (SPCI, Janelle M. Bailey, "Development of a Concept Inventory to Assess Students' Understanding and Reasoning Difficulties about the Properties and Formation of Stars," Astronomy Education Review, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 133–139, August 2007) was administered to Astronomy 210 (one-semester introductory astronomy) students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA during the last week of instruction, at both the main San Luis Obispo campus and the North County campus at Paso Robles, excluding students with negative informed consent forms (*.pdf), the use of which is discussed in a previous post.
The SPCI was chosen in order to directly assess the following student learning outcomes for this course (as compared to the Student Assessment of Skills Survey (SASS), an indirect assessment of student learning outcomes, discussed in a previous post).
Astronomy 210 student learning outcomes (excerpt)Sections 70158, 70160
10. Explain how stars produce energy.
11. Explain the relationship between star brightness and distances.
12. Predict the size of a star based on brightness and temperature.
13. Explain different stages a star will go through, based on its mass.
Star Properties Concept Inventory v3.0
N = 59
ave ± stdev = 51% ±12%
These SPCI scores are comparable to results from 1,100 large research university students that have completed introductory astronomy and earth sciences courses (Bailey, 2007), where the average was 51% (no further statistics provided); and also comparable to SPCI results from earlier semesters at Cuesta College.
As per the ACCJC (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges), results from this assessment tool will be used for course/program improvement.