Assessing Humanities Learning in the Undergraduate German Curriculum at GU

Presentation on Humanities Learning Assessment at TLISI

On May 24, 2017, five department members delivered a joint presentation at this year’s Teaching and Learning Summer Institute at Georgetown University. Anja Banchoff, Joe Cunningham, Sandra Digruber, Justin Quam and Astrid Weigert had worked on this project over the last two semesters and were excited to share it with a wider audience. 

A summary of the session rationale and structure

Foreign language programs are major contributors to the humanities learning mission of colleges and universities, and as the value of humanities learnings has become increasingly challenged, it is important to show what foreign language programs contribute to humanities learning. 

This presentation reported on a project from the literacies-oriented, integrated curriculum of the German department, in which the humanities learning of second-year (i.e., intermediate) students was assessed. Students were tasked with writing an alternate ending to a novel that had been read over the course of the semester and this is the task that was evaluated as part of this project. During our talk, we outlined our conceptualization of “humanities learning,” the process we used to specify humanities learning goals at the intermediate level, and the assessment instruments we developed in order to measure students’ humanities learning. We then presented the results of the assessment and offered an analysis and interpretation of those results. In so doing, we sought to demonstrate how any department or program that values the teaching and learning of humanistic knowledge can meaningfully assess this learning and present the results of this assessment to internal and external stakeholders.