A Learning Outcomes Index of Achievement in Academic Internships
37 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2005
Date Written: February 22, 2005
Undergraduate students in economics can attain multiple learning outcomes by completing an internship course as part of their major department's curriculum. The LOT Index is a measure that utilizes primary trait analysis to assess student interns' attainment of seventeen learning outcomes, as delineated in a national survey of representatives from both the academic community and corporate arena (Bikson and Law 1994). Learning outcomes tracked in the analysis include computer skills, research skills, ten cognitive-social-personal skills, and the successful application of classroom-acquired knowledge of concepts in the economics major. Assessment results indicate that economics majors attain half, on average, of the potential learning outcomes during the internship course, and a consistently strong result is that the majority of students enhance their knowledge of economics by applying coursework in real world career settings. Also, almost all students increase their computer skills, and half develop research skills. Improvement in verbal communication and presentation skills is one of the most frequently occurring learning outcomes, while writing skills and cross-cultural skills are identified as outcomes that students need to be encouraged to develop more.
The observation has been made that disagreement may occur between faculty members and economics students regarding the usefulness and desirability of learning outcomes measures (McCoy et al. 1994). Advisors routinely encounter students who value employment-enhancing outcomes, while professors tend to value those outcomes tied to existing curricula. However, identifying and assessing multiple learning outcomes valued by an academic department can effectively reconcile this discrepancy.
JEL Classification: A220, A290
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation