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What We've Learned About Student Learning

Units use a wide range of assessment methods and address goals that are, for the most part, specific to the unit's own discipline or program. This makes it difficult to describe any but the broadest common patterns in their data. For example, surveys indicate that students are generally satisfied with their upper-division instruction and their major programs. When reporting their assessments of students' performance, all units find that their students are achieving at least some of the goals assessed.

Within Degree Programs

These examples illustrate findings from units' most recent annual assessment reports. They are only examples--more details, and results from every unit, are in the individual unit summaries.
  • In the writing skills component of the College of Arts and Sciences' general education program, internal and external raters agree that student writing at the end of the semester shows clear improvement over work early in the term.

  • The Departments of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Sociology report that their majors' performance on the nationally standardized Major Field Achievement Tests (MFAT) is at or above the national norms for their areas.

  • Upper-division Communication majors' average scores on a specially-constructed test of knowledge in the area are considerably higher than those of non-majors in the same upper-division courses and beginning majors in lower-division courses.

  • Approximately half of the papers from senior History courses reviewed each year by a faculty committee typically receive ratings in the highest category on scales for the department's knowledge goals.

  • Senior-level students in the College of Engineering and Applied Science taking the Engineer-in-Training exam of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying consistently exceed the national passing rate.

  • Internship evaluations for Journalism seniors are consistently high, and the raters' narrative comments are quite positive.

Last revision 06/02/04

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