Mathematics and Computer Science

Computer Science Assessment Plan

Hendrix College's computer science program functions within Hendrix's mission and its motto of Unto the Whole Person while providing an outstanding computing education, which can serve as good preparation for careers in software development, information technology, and computing research. Starting from these programmatic goals, we strive to ensure that students graduating with a major or minor in computer science are able to:

  1. Create and demonstrate software that correctly solves realistic problems with open-ended scope.
  2. Use empirical methods to analyze computational systems and models.
  3. Employ multiple levels of algorithmic and data abstraction to manage system complexity.
  4. Employ mathematical ideas in a computing context.
  5. Create, implement, and evaluate software abstractions that model complex phenomena.
  6. Create, apply, and understand the software abstractions that manage interaction with hardware.
  7. As part of a team, develop robust software artifacts that successfully enable their users to achieve their goals.
  8. Employ written and oral communication in both technical and nontechnical settings.
  9. Understand the social and ethical context of computing.

Several emphasized components in our program help work toward these learning goals:

  1. a faculty which prioritizes good teaching and keeps aware of the current state of the field,
  2. a program of support for student research and internships,
  3. student laboratories outfitted with modern computing equipment, and
  4. an active program of student activities beyond the classroom.

We use the following techniques to assess how well we have achieved our learning goals.

  1. We maintain a mapping from each of our courses to each of our learning goals. Each instructor is responsible for assessing the degree to which each course offering was successful in fulfilling those goals.
  2. We track research and internship participation by students enrolled in the computer science major.
  3. We track faculty development activities, including papers published, conferences attended, textbooks published, and software released.
  4. We conduct an exit interview with each graduating student.
  5. We track the post-graduation destination of each student.
  6. The faculty regularly discusses the data collected and the evidence of success or shortcomings in meeting the learning goals.