Assessment in Theatre Programs
Mark J. Malinauskas Gary T. Hunt Murray State University
Assessment in theatre programs, because of the field's fine arts tradition, presents unique challenges. This chapter provides the reader an overview of theatre education assessment and considers important issues including the role of professional organizations, a rationale for undertaking assessment, the practical steps in carrying out an assessment plan, and the assessment of general education theatre courses. This chapter's discussion includes a variety of assessment strategies including the use of capstone experiences, exit interviews, and alumni surveys.
National efforts to develop broad profiles of information about academic program quality have become a reality for most institutions of higher education. Often the composition of these profiles is determined by individuals who are not part of the staff of the university. Legislators and bureaucrats in statewide coordinating offices and discipline leaders, who usually have their offices inside the Washington Beltway, often determine what we in higher education must do as we attempt to respond to calls for assessment of student outcomes in higher education. The guidelines, parameters, and the assessment agenda are often determined by individuals who, although very interested in their respective disciplines, have had no direct administrative experience in providing the data requested through assessment mandates. It is within this confusing assessment framework that administrators in higher education must function. Often administrators perceive that they must respond to requests for data that are well removed from their daily activities of running an academic program.