Finally, you and your colleagues review the findings and discuss what, if anything, needs to be done in response. Suppose, for example, that your assessment shows the following:
(a) Almost every dissertation contained a clear, well-articulated thesis statement.
(b) About half of the students provided minimal or inadequate support from primary sources.
From these results, it would appear that students need more support or instruction on finding and using primary sources. N.B.: Before settling on that conclusion, the faculty who worked with the students as they produced these papers should weigh in. If the faculty had to exert Herculean efforts to get the students to articulate thesis statements, or if there were extenuating circumstances that prevented students from getting primary sources, attend to that information. Once you’ve determined the strengths and weaknesses of the students, consider what might be done to improve your students’ education. You may need to review your courses, for example, to determine whether students get sufficient opportunity to learn and practice the skills required in their dissertation research. Is there some way to improve students’ preparation for the dissertation (and hence education throughout the program)? Together, the program faculty should decide on how to proceed, either by further investigation to determine how to improve the program or by implementing changes to the program.