As this is a combined degree we have a long list of desired outcomes. During our first year of assessment we decided to concentrate on determining just where our students stood with general education Written Communications requirements, meeting our departmental goal of obtaining a “C” or better in each of their required courses before graduating or transferring, and that they were being properly advised during registration. We decided to concentrate on these factors first- only one of which (written communications) is a student learning outcome- as we felt that we could not begin assessing student outcomes until we were assured that we had the appropriate students registering in the appropriate courses and that they appeared to be succeeding there.
One of our goals was to have 100% of our students achieving a final grade of a “C” or better in their Introduction to Psychology classes before being allowed to continue on in the degree. Of the 96 Psy 101 students assessed, 33 received an “A”, 4 a “B”, 17 a “C”, 11 a ”D”, and 31 an “F”. Students taking classes off campus might have different experiences from our on campus students so we separated out their data. The 3 Wellton students received “A”s. Of the 16 San Luis students 1 received an “A”, 1 received a “B”, 4 received “C”s, 5 received “D”s. and 5 ”F”s. Of the 30 Student in Psy 227 Personality (both majors and non majors), 10 received “A”s, 2 “B”s, 3 “C”s, 6”D”s, and 9 “F”s. Of the 25 majors in Research Methods Psy 290, 5 received “A”s, 10 received “B”s, 8 “C”s, 1 “D”, and 1”F”.
This data brought a problem to our attention. It appeared that students were not dropping or withdrawing appropriately from classes so that the class statistics included a large number of students who received “F” grades who had not been attending or had never attended. Of the 151 students assessed, no “F” grades were awarded to students who had actually completed the semester. We will be using this data to require that students drop/withdraw from classes appropriately. We will be requiring students to bring proof of eligibility to class next semester as it also appeared that the largest number of students who dropped or disappeared from classes were those who did not have the appropriate prerequisites before registering for the class.
The results have been used to improve learning in the following manner:
We initiated a capstone experience on our Statistics Psy 230 Class. This experience was designed to assess knowledge, understanding, application evaluation, and synthesis of the topics covered in class. Students produced and published a report based upon the college’s previous semester’s Written Communications Assessment data. This was a fascinating experience and one that the students were thrilled to participate in. The class found that the scores of the assessed writing samples were “poor” or “average” at best, but that the term “average” would not be a good descriptor of the data as most students scored in the poor range (on a scale of 1-5) but that a few good writers had pulled the mean up to an average score. Students then wrote a report for the assessment committee and for the NCAA review. In it they suggested a new scoring rubric be used, that all classes should have a standard for written assignments and that this standard be applied college wide, that assignments sheets be given with each assignment, and that drafts and rewrites be required in all GE classes. As a direct result of these student concerns, we will be requiring that an APA style paper or abstract be written in all of our upper level psychology and sociology classes. We will also begin critiquing our Psy 101 homework for spelling and grammar as well as content.