Learning Assessments Through Criminal Justice Internship: Issues and Considerations

G. Frederick Allen, Central Michigan University

This paper presents the findings of a review of the social and criminal justice internship program at a Midwestern university, in the university effort to validate its academic program. Recently, many colleges and universities have been required by internal and external forces to demonstrate how well their academic programs are performing-particularly, with respect to the mission and goals of the institution. Looking at student learning outcomes as a means of demonstrating the performance of the program is probable the most straightforward assessment tool. Accordingly, the paper focuses on the internship program that in many criminal justice programs is configured as a capstone course. As a capstone course, the internship programs integrate knowledge, concepts, and skills associated with an entire sequence of study in a program. This method of assessment is unique because the courses themselves become the instruments for assessing student teaching and learning. Evaluation of students' work in these courses is used as a means of assessing student outcomes. The paper discusses the bridge between theory and practice, the usefulness of participatory and applied learning, and the challenge of preparing students for the world of work in the 21st century.

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Updated 05/20/2006