aerial photo of the Graduate School building

Assessment Showcase

Learn more about some of the assessment work being done within Montclair State University’s colleges and schools.

College of the Arts
Cali School of Music
The Cali School of Music reports a doubling in graduate enrollment (60 to 124) from 2010 to 2015. The School reports strong enrollment numbers across ethnic groups, strong student performance with average GPAs of 3.562 as of Spring 2014, and increased international student enrollment at the graduate level through international partnerships, particularly a partnership with East China Normal University.
School of Communication and Media
The School of Communication and Media revised its programs for implementation in Fall 2015. Overall changes resulted in an increase in undergraduate enrollment between 2010 and 2015 from 435 undergraduate students to 738. The School showed strong student performance as of Spring 2014, with the average enrolled student GPA being 3.259, surpassing the GPA admission requirement of 3.0.
Department of Theatre and Dance
The Department of Theatre and Dance focused its attention on developing its Theatre Studies BA as well as revising for launching several graduate programs. These include implementation of an MFA in Dance, development of an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy, and revisions to the Theatre Studies MA. This resulted in a net increase in undergraduate enrollments in Theatre and Dance as a whole.
College of Education and Human Services
Family Science and Human Development
The department has integrated assessment responsibilities into the regular functions of undergraduate and graduate curriculum committees within the department, with the goal of ensuring that all assessment work will be completed regularly and tied meaningfully to curriculum planning. The department also continuously reviews assessment results and has streamlined student learning goals to eliminate redundancy. Finally, the department has successfully received provisional accreditation from the National Council of Family Relations.
Nutrition and Food Studies
The department uses assessment to evaluate student outcomes, the effectiveness of instruction, and consistency in standards and grading. The faculty meet each month. Part of each meeting is discussion of class concerns and instruction. Every spring the faculty looks at the bench-marked courses to compare year-to-year results, or in the case of a new course or new course objectives we evaluate the level of academic performance relative to our forecasts and to assess if the desired learning outcomes are being achieved.
Public Health
The department continually uses student assessment data to revise and update curriculum at multiple levels, from adjusting learning activities within classes, to revising course sequences and levels, to modifying course requirements altogether. Our Public Health BS and MPH programs are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), and our student assessments are linked directly to foundational knowledge and competencies as required for accreditation. We provide annual reports to CEPH, as well as a full self-study and site visit every five years. The cycle of assessment, reflection, adjustment, and reassessment is not only in the DNA of the program due to accreditation, but also because the core public functions of public health are described by that exact same cycle.

One example is the undergraduate fieldwork sequence. Introduction to Fieldwork had always been a 200-level class, and Internship was a 300-level class. This meant that students could complete Introduction to Fieldwork fairly early in the program, and sometimes a year or more would pass before they completed Internship. Based on our assessment of student learning, as well as modifications of CEPH accreditation requirements, we overhauled these two courses, boosted the professionalism and professional development components, elevated them both to the 400-level, and added a requirement that the two must be taken consecutively in a student’s penultimate and final semesters. This ensures that students spend their last year of the BS program refining their own professionalism, building their exposure to a variety of real-world public health settings, applying what they have learned in the classroom, and ultimately completing a substantive internship experience.

Secondary and Special Education
The MAT programs run by SASE—which include subject area certification programs and dual certification programs for Teachers of Students with Disabilities—have streamlined their assessments to align with CAEP standards for accreditation as well as recent certification requirements that mandate coursework in teaching students with disabilities for all teacher preparation programs in New Jersey. Students are assessed through the construction of a unit plan in their teaching methods course, as well as a “Planning, Instruction, and Assessment” task in their Seminar in Inclusive Pedagogy course. We are also working with the Dean’s office and the CEHS assessment coordinator to pilot a new dispositions assessment that will be used throughout the teacher education program.
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Linguistics

The department has developed three distinct tracts: American Sign Language, Language Engineering and Computational Linguistics, and Teaching English as a Second Language. It is now offering three new courses (LNGN 131, LNGN 445, and APLN580) that specifically focus on technical aspects of linguistics. The department created a Minor in American Sign Language Studies with the three Sign Language courses (AMSL301, LNGN350, and LNGN351.), and a major in linguistics with a concentration in Language Engineering. Revisions to the syllabi of all courses involved in assessment, to ensure that the course goals stated in the syllabi reflected the learning goals contained in assessment plans.

GLBTQ Studies Minor

Changes to the reading list, number of exams and nature of final exam (all in assessed course GLQS100) to allow for more “open ended, presentational, interpersonal, collaborative tasks.” This resulted in more students meeting or exceeding expectations. Four possible course additions were discussed by faculty: “Queering the Broadway Musical”; “Nature, Gender and Sin in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance”; “Queer Rhetoric”; and “Queer Horror.” These courses are being considered for possible inclusion in the program in the future.


Changes in assessment tools, courses, and frequency and sample size to ensure an increase in the amount of valid data collected in the forthcoming academic years. Using assessment efforts to help revise the undergraduate major by adding world history and a tract for teacher education students, and to develop an entirely new MA in Digital and Public History. Continued focus on improved student retention and graduation rates through timely and accurate student advising.

Modern Languages and Literature

Creation of several new programs including a BA in Business and Language Culture, a joint MA in translation and interpreting in Spanish, Arabic, French, Chinese, German and Italian, and the expansion of the new BA in Arabic, the only such program in the state of New Jersey. Proposed creation of smaller contingents into Asian Languages. In addition to minors in Chinese and in Japanese, students will now have the option of a minor in Asian Languages, combining study in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Spanish/Italian Department

The department has officially split creating the Department of Spanish and Latino Studies (SLTS). Italian has been absorbed by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. The new SLTS department has incorporated the minor in Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) and added it to the other two existing minors: Spanish (SPAN) and Spanish and International Business (SPIB). SLTS joined forces with MLL and the School of Business to create a BA in Language, Business and Culture (LBC). Other initiatives include the creation of online language courses, the creation of Spanish for Health Practitioners, the first sequence in a series of language courses for specific purposes, the integration of LALS into the Spanish curricula and the revision of the MA in Spanish, the combined BA/MA, and the certificates in Translation and Interpreting.

Justice Studies

The program completed the Homeland Security graduate certificate. Resequencing of JUST 200 and JUST 201 – reversing the order these courses are to be taken and renumbering these courses to JUST 205 (from JUST 201) and JUST 204 (from JUST 200) respectively. A new writing textbook was adopted for JUST 200 and JUST 201. Course content alterations were recommended and adopted for PALG 312, PALG 339 and PALG 497.

Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy (SWCA)

The launch of a two-year MSW program in social work in fall 2018. Child advocacy programs include BA program (on-campus), MA programs (on-campus and online), and Post-BA certificate programs (on-campus and online).

Classics and General Humanities

The department provided on-line offerings of all upper division face-to-face Latin courses, resulting in a significant increase in enrollment in upper division Latin courses, attracting students outside of the University and even outside of New Jersey. Increased online offerings of many courses, moving toward an available Classics Major that is fully online.

The creation and submission for approval of a new concentration in the Humanities major, the Concentration in Comparative Mythology and Literature.


The development and ratification of new program learning goals, reduced from seven to four in number, as requested by the Provost’s Office. The development and ratification of assessment plans for three minors and one graduate program. Creation of EMA, English Major Audit, to help students meet graduation goals, and a Departmental Advising Alert program designed to ensure instructors are meeting the needs of students in the bottom 20% of class rankings.


One of the principal objectives of the Philosophy Major is to strengthen the analytical reasoning abilities of our students, as measured by their abilities to understand, evaluate, and engage with philosophical arguments. Through this work, our students become highly employable because they acquire the transferable cognitive skills that expert consensus recognizes as valuable in the 21st-century knowledge economy (skills such as logical reasoning, abstract conceptualization, problem solving and creative thinking, mental dexterity, and an ability to develop and assess different perspectives and frameworks). Our rubric for assessment focuses on students’ argumentative skills and habits. Since 2017, we have been conducting and evaluating direct assessment in PHIL 264 Critical Reasoning and Argumentation and PHIL 424 Seminar. These are approximate entry-level and senior courses in the philosophy major.

Public and Professional Writing

With the introduction of a new major in Public and Professional Writing, the Writing Studies Department has undergone significant curricular revisions. Being an interdisciplinary major that reaches out to other colleges (CART, CEHS, and CSAM), the program requires students to pursue cognate areas in Communication, Social Systems and Justice, Creative Arts, Business, Government, or Science. The department has also retitled courses and descriptions to reflect the department’s focus on 21st-century multiliteracies. As an extension of its interdisciplinary mission, Writing Studies continues to grow its minor.

The course title revisions include the following:
WRIT 204: Style and Editing (was “Writing for Clarity and Style”)
WRIT 205: Networked Writing (was “Advanced Composition”)
WRIT 207: Technical Writing and Communication (was “Technical Writing”)
WRIT 270: Writers in Action (was “Ethnographies of Writing”)
WRIT 280: Argumentation: From Antiquity to Online (was “Strategies of Argument”)
WRIT 319: Technologies of Writing (was “Composing Processes”)

In addition to its retitled courses, the department now offers three new courses:
WRIT 209: Visual Rhetoric and Writing
WRIT 217: Rhetorics of Political Writing
WRIT 302: Grant Writing

A new assessment plan for the major has been put into place starting in Fall 2019.

The Writing Studies Department continues to oversee the First Year Writing program, which undergoes regular assessment.


The new I/O PhD program has been approved by the graduate council. The clinical PhD program had applied for APA accreditation and is in the process of self-study. The School Psychology concentration has been approved by the college graduate committee to convert into standalone master program and is in the process of applying for NASP accreditation. New graduate courses in Data science and multivariate statistics have been developed and two new faculty members in I/O and school psychology were hired.

The new Center for Clinical Services building opened – a $13M development that houses training and clinical spaces for several psychology programs. Seven separate laboratories were also included in the Center, with five more anticipated in the coming academic year. Thus, the Center has brought about significant gains in the scholarly capacity and resources of the department.

Academic assessment results include assessments of both the graduate and undergraduate programs in the department. Assessment of the undergraduate major and minor has been a long process to develop a tool to evaluate what we do here and demonstrate impact. To assess impact, we adopted the American Psychological Association’s goals and objectives for undergraduate education in Psychology (2013) as a starting point for our assessment. These goals and objectives focus on five general areas: 1. Knowledge of Psychology, 2. Critical Thinking Skills, 3. Emotional Maturity and Regulation,4. Communication, and 5. Career Preparation.

For knowledge of psychology, we decided to develop customized assessments for all students in the manner in which they completed the major. All students must take the required four core classes: 1. Intro, 2. Research methods, 3. Statistics, and 4. Experimental Psychology. Further, all majors must complete at least six advanced electives covering four general categories of psychological inquiry: 1. Biological Basis for Behavior (e.g., neuroscience), 2. Cognition (e.g., cognitive psychology), 3. Developmental (e.g., personality theories) and 4. Social/Applied Psychology (e.g., Health Psychology). However, embedded in these categories are at least 3-4 alternatives students may take for exposure to the general area. We developed an assessment addressing all advanced electives and all required core courses. Faculty members associated with each of these courses provided test banks they use that were added into the overall assessment.

The assessment, using Qualtrics as a platform, is branching and customized to each student’s experience here in the university. Students all answer 40 randomly selected items from test backs we developed on the common core (i.e., intro psych, methods, statistics, and experimental psychology). Following this they select the specific courses each took across all required categories. Qualtrics then generates a randomly developed sample of items from each class selected that students then complete. We are then able to have metrics of student achievement across the core classes, and within specific areas of the majors. We can even drill farther into the data to assess results at a class or even instructor level. Comparisons are then possible between adjuncts and full-time faculty, those living in dorms versus off campus, transfer versus native freshman students, etc. Assessment and even scholarship possibilities and numerous.

Additional aspects of APA’s model are similarly embedded in the assessment that students take. A section on careers is embedded in the assessment, and a section on emotional regulation and maturity is also in the assessment. Demographic data are similarly collected and measures of student commitment to Montclair State and other variables are also represented. We can now fully assess the major along with answering questions that can lead to change and intervention where we identify needs.

For the graduate programs, all capstone projects were assessed on our metric that addresses theoretical contributions, scholarly contributions, and applied contributions. Specifically, capstone courses for programs are: Externship in Clinical Psychology for the Child Clinical Psychology Program, Externship for School Psychology for the School Psychology Certification program, Internship in Applied Psychology or Master’s thesis for the IO Program, and Master’s Thesis for the General Psychology Program. For externship courses, students are enrolled in a two-semester course mentored by the same instructor who monitors their placement practicum sites and activities over the year to achieve required hours, and develops with them a portfolio of work that represents the student’s experiences in line with professional standards. For school psychology for example, the capstone project revolves around National Association of School Psychology (NASP) standards. Instructors of record for these courses along with thesis supervisors are asked to complete the assessment of individual projects using a three-point scale – below standards, meets standards, and above standards. All clinical and school psych students were in the meets and exceeds standards categories for items. General Psychology and IO students were mostly in meets and exceed categories except in two instances where supervisors felt projects were not adequately developed or executed.


The department began implementing an embedded assessment model in the Seminar course in 2015-16, after finding that the previous assessment measure did not provide a holistic picture of student learning and was also not fully aligned with the University’s Strategic Plan. The department provided a small set of engaged learning opportunities for students in specific and focused areas related to the major. These focused on community-based partnerships and efforts that were viewed as successful by students, faculty, and community partners alike.

The department completed the process of developing its vision, mission and goals and made curriculum updates that are being implemented. As a result of the “engaged learning opportunities” provided to Religion students in the 2015-16 AY, a new course, Engaged Learning in Religion, has been developed.


The new Graduate Certificate in Data Collection and Management completed its second year. The department organized its own Research Symposium and sponsored lectures within the University community, with the Montclair Socioblog publishing an average of two posts per week and receiving 10,000 site visits per month online. A new MA program in Social Research and Analysis was proposed and is going through the approval process to be launched in Fall 2019. The new Graduate Certificate in Data Collection and Management is also being offered with revised order of classes. We have partnered with Peak Performances and Montclair State Alumni Relations to run focus groups and create surveys. These partnerships create engaged learning experiences, applied research experiences for students. At the undergraduate level, the department organized its Annual Research Symposium to allow all graduating seniors to present their research projects in poster form and invite recent graduates to give talks on the career applications of sociology to create clear career connections. To create outside the classroom connections to sociology, we have also started regular Sociology Movie Nights. We are also in the process of creating tracks for undergraduates to create clear career paths.

Assessment is discussed at every department meeting as well as in smaller task forces. We have conducted a zero-based curriculum review and a department retreat based on the suggestions of our external reviewer to revise our curriculum.

Political Science and Law

The five-year BA/MA was created and began to accept students prior to its official launch in Fall 2016. eDiplomacy was expanded to include domestic institutions. This year the London School of Economics was included as an eDiplomacy class. Next year, the U.S. Naval Academy will be included as well.

Assessment of programs occurred monthly at faculty meetings, in one form or another.


ANTH 102 was renamed Linguistic Anthropology and given a new course description, new courses include: ANTH 200: Key Issues in Anthropology, ANTH 390: Anthropology of Childhood and Youth. ANTH 325 -North American Archaeology, ANTH 335: Bioarchaeology, ANTH 404: Planetary Health, and one course has a new title ANTH 410: New title – Public Archaeology.

During recent AY the department collected new data from ANTH 301 to assess Learning Goal 3. With this data in hand, the department formed an ad-hoc assessment committee to review assessment data and propose changes for future course assessment efforts. The results of past assessments were deemed satisfactory in meeting the expectations of all learning goals.

A revised set of learning goals was created to expand the assessment efforts to areas of anthropological instruction not previously considered. This includes replacing the assessment of ANTH 201 with ANTH 200 in Learning Goal 1.

Learning Goal 4 was also revised to assess the acquisition of “an understanding of a scientific perspective in the study of human evolution, human biological variation, or archaeology.” Data for this learning goal will be collected from ANTH 101, Physical Anthropology and ANTH 103, Introduction to Archaeology.

College of Science and Mathematics
Department of Biology and Molecular Biology
The department assessment goals are to better prepare majors in the department for careers in the biological sciences and related fields (to more closely align course content with work being done by professionals in these fields.) A department administrator oversees student support and facilitate administration in the department (course adjustment, student transfer, change of major, etc.). The pre-requisite courses for some of the more challenging courses have been revised to ensure that students are prepared to be successful in more advanced coursework once they reach it. The department has been examining its major programs and concentrations to better interest and support those students interested in the health professions, with the long-term goal of increased student enrollment at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The department is currently searching for a tenure-track faculty member who will be focused on supporting teaching and research in Biology Education programs.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The department has undertaken a major curriculum initiative to develop a new undergraduate degree in Chemistry that would allow students to add a concentration to their program. Included in possible concentrations are areas such as business or education. This degree is designed for students with a strong interest in chemistry who wish to seek employment in areas where fluency in science and chemistry are required. Areas such as scientific sales, marketing, management, or certified high school teaching would all fall into this category. The program is designed to allow for different modules, i.e., education or business, of up to 30 credits to be added to the BS in Chemistry and still maintain a total of 120 credits for the degree. The chemistry component has been approved by the department curriculum committee and we are currently working with the School of Business on developing the Business module for the new degree.
Department of Computer Science
A “major overhaul” of the BS in Computer Science (CS) and BS in Information Technology (IT) has been completed, and the BS in CS has achieved reaccreditation from ABET. The department has added several additional faculty hires in the areas of cybersecurity, big data analytics, cloud computing, green computing, and mobile computing. Each year the CS Department holds an Assessment Day in May, to assess and evaluate student outcomes, with the CS curriculum committee looking further into the assessment data and proposing changes as necessary.
Department of Earth and Environmental Studies (EAES) & Doctoral Program in Environmental Science and Management (ENVM)
EAES has launched a professional science masters (PSM) degree and reserves multiple sections of EAES107 for undeclared students each semester. The MS in Geoscience has changed its name to MS in Earth and Environmental Science, with accompanying efforts to revise and update the curriculum. Major electives have been grouped into four broad “specializations” that capitalize on departmental research strengths: Earth Surfaces Processes and Hydrology, Geology and Geophysics, GIS and Remote Sensing, and Environmental Quality and Remediation. Students may select their electives from any of these four categories, with selection of 3 or 4 courses from any one of these areas resulting in the conferral of an informal certificate from the department. EAES streamlined its program learning goals, consolidating the program learning goals into 3 – 4 goals. The name of the BS and MS in Geoscience has been changed to “Earth and Environmental Science” to capitalize on new and greater name recognition of these subject areas in the New Jersey K-12 curriculum. The name of the PhD program was also recently retitled to Environmental Science and Management to better reflect the scope of the program.
Department of Mathematical Sciences
The current department assessment team is Eliza Leszczynski, Arup Mukherjee and Jon Cutler. We are adding a new Applied Math MS program (currently under statewide review), with Eric Forgoston and David Trubatch as coordinators. We have revised the MS in Statistics (currently under university review), with Andrew McDougall coordinator. We are in the process of discussing revisions to undergraduate programs and adding new programs, under the combined efforts of Jon Cutler, Ashwin Vaidya, Eric Forgoston, David Trubatch. We are revising the Calculus Series (Calculus I, II and III) to better reflect the needs of the students and the appropriateness of the information for the degree, with Jon Cutler as coordinator. We are reviewing the Undergraduate Math Ed program, with Teo Paoletti coordinator. We are talking with the RHMLC about how to provide the most meaningful classes. We are currently focused on Math 100 and expanding to other courses in the center once Math 100 has been evaluated. We have implemented additional support systems for the students in Math 100, coordinated with specific instructors about the course and, along with faculty members from Math Education, we are reviewing the curriculum offered in the course, with the combined efforts of Eileen Murray, Eileen Fernandez, Steven Greenstein and Judy Summers. In addition to the standard course assessment, we are setting up focus groups with students in the program to gain additional information regarding student views of the department.
Department of Physics and Astronomy
The department has recently completed a major revision of its existing degree programs. The core requirements have been modified to better prepare students for graduate school and a range of career choices. This includes a new course in Oscillations & Waves, a reorganization of the prerequisite structure, and the requirement of Statistical Physics and Quantum Mechanics. Two advanced laboratory courses and two seminar courses were also added to the core curriculum, providing avenues to teach skills not acquired in “theory” courses. The overall structure and scheduling of courses were also reorganized to improve timely degree completion. Credit requirements for our teacher education programs were reduced, and several new concentrations and degree paths are under development. The department also launched a 5-year dual degree program with Stevens Institute of Technology, leading to a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. We continue to assess our courses using common exam questions. We are considering ways to update and improve our assessment methods, and expand them to additional courses.
Feliciano School of Business
Department of Accounting and Finance
The Department of Accounting and Finance has a new course launching Fall, 2019 – ACCT 519 Fair Value Analytics. Valuation expertise has become a vital specialized body of knowledge in the modern economy. This course encompasses the crucial expertise needed by accountants to verify complex assertions provided to investors, creditors, customers, employees, suppliers, and the general public. Topics covered include purchase price allocation, impairment testing analysis, private equity fair value techniques and auditing fair value assertions.

A Student Managed Investment Fund, The RedHawk Fund, was launched. The goal of the fund is to provide students with the opportunity for real world portfolio management and security analysis experience. It is subsidized by Montclair State’s Foundation Board with four funding tranches totaling $250,000 over two academic years.

Department of Economics
The Economics Department created and launched several new courses:
  • ECON 250: NJ Real Estate Salesperson Pre-Licensing course. This comprehensive course covers the fundamentals of the real estate profession as needed to implement the required NJ 75-hours curriculum requirement. The course introduces the students to everything from real estate law to property management.
  • ECON240: Economics of Time and Mind. This course takes a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to decision making and choice, where time and mind are scarce resources, and experiences are what economies produce. This course is for those interested in how economics can give you deeper insights into human nature, behavior and spirit.
Department of Information Management and Business Analytics
The new MS in Business Analytics program was launched in Fall 2017. The MSBA is designed to meet the growing demand for business analytics professionals and to prepare graduates to influence decision-making, strategy and operations with timely, fact-based insights and knowledge. Emphasis is placed on diagnosing business problems, developing actionable recommendations, and effectively communicating results to business leaders
Department of Management
The Department of Management developed graduate certificates in Human Resource Management (launched in 2017/18) and Project Management (launched in 2017/18)
Department of Marketing
Several new certificate programs were created by the Department of Marketing:
  • Graduate Digital Marketing Certificate. A graduate Digital Marketing certificate was launched in 2017/18. The graduate Digital Marketing Certificate (Online) focuses on honing effective digital marketing skills through exposure to current research in digital technology, analytics, and business cases. Students gain practical experience in leveraging real-world digital marketing intelligence in developing mobile, social, and web strategy for organizations.
  • Professional Selling Certificate. The undergraduate Professional Selling Certificate aims to complement students’ majors and concentrations in business, the arts and sciences by providing them with skills in prospecting, lead generation, customer and client relationship management, sales force supervision, sales technology, analytics, social selling and sales negotiations. The program takes a practical approach by involving salespeople and executives of major corporations in the classroom.
Our fully online MBA program was launched in fall, 2017. In fall, 2018, we launched our first full-time MBA option, which students complete in 12 months. We are now reimagining our MBA program with our MBA 2.0 initiative. We have refined and redesigned our curriculum to meet the needs of the ever-changing business environment. The new program is scheduled to launch in Fall, 2019