The T assessment tool: a simple metric for assessing multidisciplinary graduate education

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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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