8.2.a  STUDENT OUTCOMES: EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of the results related to the student learning outcomes for each of its educational programs.

 

JUDGEMENT

 

††† Compliance     Non-Compliance     Partial Compliance

 

NARRATIVE

 

In the 2013-2014 academic year, the institution invested considerable time and effort in working with each academic department to strengthen the institutionís assessment of learning system.  The academic units were encouraged to adopt the following core student learning outcomes and then adapt them to the specific degree programs. 

 

1.       Communication: Students completing this degree program will exhibit effective communication skills (written, oral, and interpersonal) appropriate for professionals in this field of study.

 

2.       Critical Thinking: Students completing this degree program will effectively use quantitative and qualitative analytical problem-solving skills appropriate for professionals in this field of study.

 

3.       Disciplinary Expertise: Students completing this degree program will demonstrate a level of discipline-specific expertise (knowledge, skills, and professionalism) appropriate for professionals in this field of study.

 

4.       Research/Creativity: Students completing this degree program will demonstrate ability to engage productively in the review and conduct of disciplinary research appropriate for professionals in this field of study.

 

ASSESSING STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

 

Based on its institutional mission, the university expects each of its 96 degree programs (56 bachelorís, 30 masterís, and 10 doctoral) to engage in an annual process of assessment, including planning for improvements. Each degree program formulates its student learning outcomes, based on four institutional areas of emphasis (highlighted on the attachment), which are:

 

         Communication Skills

         Critical Thinking Skills

         Disciplinary Expertise

         Research/Creative Engagement.

The specific learning outcomes for each degree program defines what students should know and be able to do before graduating from the program. Assessment methods and metrics vary across programs, and programs plan and implement their own assessments. At a minimum, degree programs are required to formulate their own specific student learning outcomes for the four broad student learning institutional goals: 1) Communication Skills; 2) Critical Thinking Skills; 3) Disciplinary Expertise; and 4) Research/Creative Engagement. Degree programs are also guided by their department mission statement or that of their school or college as stated in its strategic plan. Each program's outcomes assessment process is captured and archived in the outcomes-based assessment toolóTaskstream. The university engages in continuous improvement annually, within all programs.  

 

The Office of Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectives works with each academic unit to ensure that it has a continuous process of learning assessment and planning for learning improvement.  The process includes: 

 

1.      Developing or updating Assessment Plans

2.      Selecting or developing Assessment Resources

3.      Agreeing on the Assessment Activities for each learning outcome, which is especially important when the outcome is being assessed in courses that have multiple sections taught by several faculty members

4.      Administering the assessment, including the use of common rubrics, which allows the unit to provide valid Evidence of Student Learning

5.      Using the Student Learning Evidence to determine if goals have been met and as the basis for planning improvements

6.      Revising, as needed, the Student Learning Outcomes Statement in preparation for the next assessment cycle

7.      Selecting Appropriate Learning Experiences to ensure the best likelihood that students will learn and perform as expected.

 

The work is done, primarily, in collaboration with academic department chairs and associate deans.  The university encourages each academic unit to engage in assessment planning at the beginning of each academic year.  When academic departments fail to update their assessment plans by the middle of the fall semester, the Provost works with the respective dean to ensure that it is done.  This is less of a problem each year, as assessment has become a core responsibility of each department chair. Table 8.2.a-i provides some examples of learning assessments, in a summary format. 

 

Table 8.2.a-i: Examples of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment (Excerpts from the Assessment Reports)

 

Student Learning Outcome

Method of Assessment/ Data Gathering

Results

Improvements

Communication Skills.  Graduating students will be able to write and speak clearly and accurately about design-related content.

(BS in Graphic Communication Systems)

The key assessment for this direct measurement was the capstone portfolio. It was measured using a four-point rubric based on the performance one would expect of a first-year design professional on the job, with a 3 representing proficient. The target was for at least 80% of the students to perform at proficiency.

2016ó2017

 

Oral Communication: Of the 25 students assessed, 100% met the performed target.

 

Written Communication: Of the 18 students assessed, 94% met the performance target.

Students are given more opportunities to practice oral communication skills, as instructors emphasize better communication.

Critical Thinking Skills. Students completing this degree program will effectively use quantitative and qualitative analytical problem-solving skills appropriate for professionals in their field of study.

(PhD in Leadership Studies)

This year, the measure for this outcome is embedded in the dissertation process, through a rubric employed by faculty at the studentís proposal defense and final dissertation defense.  Previously, the measure for this outcome was the completion of a similar rubric by the instructor of the LEST 997 (Dissertation) course.

Results of the assessment in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 completed by the faculty supervisor in the LEST 997 (dissertation) course or by the dissertation chair in LEST 999 (an extension of 997) have shown that 100% of students have achieved acceptable (successful dissertation defense) levels of achievement, though student ratings vary from a passing evaluation of 82/100 to a superior rating of 94/100.

Though assessment results indicate that all students are ďcompetentí in this area, review of the data has contributed to curriculum revisions submitted to the university:

Proposed curriculum changes include additional required course hours and a required course in ontological approaches and reasoning.

Disciplinary Expertise

Students completing the BS in Landscape Architecture program who complete the Construction Document assignment will demonstrate discipline-specific expertise.

(BS in Landscape Architecture)

This outcome is assessed in the senior LDAR 445 (Construction Documents). 90% of students will score 90 or higher on the Construction Document Set.

2018ó2019: The performance target was not met. Only one of the students out of eight performed above the targeted 90%.

 

Results: Not Met

There is room for considerable improvement in other courses in the curriculum that would lead to even better results in LDAR 445. There is also considerable room for improvement in terms of increasing student effort and engagement in classes that require an iterative process.

 

Completing an accurate and complete construction package on time represents a critical level of knowledge, skill, and professionalism within the field and mirrors tasks students will be asked to perform in a professional office setting. These drawings and concepts also relate directly to the Landscape Architecture Registration Examination (LARE) which is the standard examination for licensing in the profession.

 

Faculty will work with students to improve their performance, with specific emphasis on preparing for the licensing exam.

Research/Creativity

Graduates of the School Counseling program who complete the Creative Engagement Project will demonstrate proficiency through their original research and creative engagement project.

(MS in School Counseling)

A target of 80% of students will successfully complete the COUN 786 creative engagement project with a B or better, as measured by the evaluation rubric.

In fall 2017, 100% of students obtained a B or Better for this Key Performance Indicator (i.e. mini research proposal).

Given that the target was successfully met, the goals is to sustain improvement of the SLO. 

  

What are the expected results? The expectation is to maintain and/or exceed the target outcome for this SLO.               

 

For the convenience of the reviewers, Table 8.2.a-ii lists each degree program that the university offers, with a link to its assessment report.

 

Table 8.2.a-ii: Degree Programs Linked to Assessment Reports (Names and locations of the degree programs as at Fall 2019)

 

Academic Unit

Academic Departments

Degree Program

College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education

BS, Agricultural Education

MS, Agricultural Education

Animal Science

BS, Animal Science

BS, Laboratory Animal Science

MS, Agricultural and Environmental Systems

Family and Consumer Sciences

BS, Family and Consumer Science

BS, Child Development and Family Studies

BS, Food and Nutritional Science

MS, Food and Nutritional Science

Natural Resources and Environmental Design

BS, Landscape Architecture

BS, Biological Engineering

BS, Agricultural and Environmental Systems

MS, Agricultural and Environmental Systems

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Criminal Justice

BS, Criminal Justice

English

BA, English

MA, English and African American Literature

History and Political Science

BA, History

BA Political Science

Journalism and Mass Communication

BS, Journalism and Mass Communication

Liberal Studies

BA, Liberal Studies

Visual and Performing Arts

BA, Visual Arts, Design

BA, Music

BFA, Professional Theatre

College of Business and Economics

Accounting and Finance

BS, Accounting

MAcc, Accounting (New programóno report)

BS, Finance

Business Information Systems and Analytics (formerly Business Education)

BS, Information Technology (formerly BS in Business Education)

Economics

BS, Economics

Management

BS, Management

Marketing and Supply Chain

BS, Marketing

BS, Supply Chain Management

Deanís Office

MBA, Management

College of Education

Administrative and Instructional Services

Master of School Administration (MSA)

BA, Speech Communication

Educator Preparation

BS, Elementary Education

MAED, Elementary Education

MAT

Reading Education

Counseling

MS, Mental Health Counseling

MS, School Counseling

MS, Rehabilitation Counseling

PhD, Rehabilitation Counseling and Counselor Education

Leadership Studies and Adult Education

MS, Adult Education

PhD, Leadership Studies

College of Engineering

Chemical, Biological and Bioengineering

BS, Bioengineering

MS, Bioengineering

BS, Chemical Engineering

MS, Chemical Engineering

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

BS, Civil Engineering

MS, Civil Engineering

BS, Architectural Engineering

Computer Science

BS, Computer Science

MS, Computer Science

PhD, Computer Science

Computational Science and Engineering (Name being changed to Data Science and Engineering)

MS, Computational Science and Engineering

PhD, Computational Science and Engineering

Electrical and Computer Engineering

BS, Computer Engineering

BS, Electrical Engineering

MS, Electrical Engineering

PhD, Electrical Engineering

Industrial and Systems Engineering

BS, Industrial and Systems Engineering

MS, Industrial and Systems Engineering

PhD, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

BS, Mechanical Engineering

MS, Mechanical Engineering

PhD, Mechanical Engineering

College of Health and Human Sciences

 

Kinesiology (formerly Human and Performance Leisure Studies)

BS, Sports Science and Fitness Management

Nursing

BSN, Nursing

Psychology

BA, Psychology

Social Work and Sociology

BA, Sociology

BSW, Social Work

Graduate Programs in Social Work

MS, Social Work

PhD, Social Work (New ProgramóNo report)

College of Science and Technology

Applied Engineering Technology

BS, Applied Engineering Technology

BS, Automotive Engineering Technology (formerly Motorsports Technology)

MS, Technology Management

Applied Science and Technology

PhD, Applied Sciences and Technology

Biology

BS, Biology

MS, Biology

Built Environment

BS, Construction Management

BS, Environmental Health and Safety

BS, Geomatics

Chemistry

BS, Chemistry

MS, Chemistry

Computer Systems Technology

BS, Electronics Technology

BS, Information Technology

MS, Information Technology

Graphic Design

BS, Graphic Communication

Mathematics

BS, Mathematics

MS, Applied Mathematics

Physics

BS, Physics

MS, Physics

BS, Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology

Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

Nanoengineering

MS, Nanoengineering

PhD, Nanoengineering

 

Continuous improvement is the primary reason for the assessment process at N.C. A&T. Although programs write outcomes and gather and analyze data annually, it takes about two years for programs to complete a cycle of assessment, data analysis, putting action plans in place and collecting new data to gauge the effectiveness of the actions to improve outcomes. OSPIE then compiles lists of areas of improvement, by college/school, and provides feedback to program faculty, department chairs, associate deans, and deans.

 

The main support system for the assessment process is the Office of Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness (OSPIE), which plays a critical role in the assessment process.  It provides the framework and training needed, especially by new department chairs and associate deans, and it monitors the progress being made as well as ensures that data are properly archived. The scope of support from OSPIE for institution-wide assessment includes:

         Overseeing an audit process for the university to monitor effectiveness of degree programs and administrative units and make recommendations for continuous improvement;

         Proposing clear and cohesive action items to address gaps in compliance with SACSCOC standards and Preeminence 2023 goals at institutional and school/college/administrative unit levels;

         Providing oversight for the design of program assessment plans;

         Reviewing mission statements, strategic plans, assessment findings, action plans, and status reports for school/college/administrative units, and making recommendations for continuous improvement; and

         Making recommendations to the Provost, based on the analysis of assessment data, to inform academic and administrative policymaking, practices, and budget decisions at the macro level.

 

The institutionís use of assessment results helps in such areas as scheduling of classes, determining appropriate class sizes, and assigning learning resources. It also influences allocation of resources to such support services as tutoring and supplemental instruction as well as enrichment activities such as global experiences.  Assessment results also assist in determining faculty hiring and the continued professional development of full-time and part-time faculty.

 

In degree programs, assessment data drive such decision as a gradual shift to project-based learning in the BS in Landscape Architecture program, in the BS in Economics where curriculum mapping is being undertaken to ensure improvements in disciplinary expertise, and in the BS in Applied Engineering Technology where more industry-driven projects are being included in the teaching of AET 500 to help students to improve their critical thinking skills.  At the graduate level the MBA programs is integrating more opportunities for students to select topics that are of interest to them based of work they plan to engage in after graduation, and they can develop projects around those topic as they work to strengthen their critical thinking skills.  The PhD in Leadership Studies has introduced a writing seminar to help improve writing skills among its students, and the faculty in the MS in Biology are infusing experimental design in all their courses to help students improve their critical thinking skills.

 

The institution has demonstrated that it has an assessment system in place and it routinely identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which its degree programs achieve these outcomes, and provides evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of the results related to the student learning outcomes for each of its educational programs.

 

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

 

1.      Institutional Areas of Emphasis for Student Learning Outcomes

2.      Assessment Rubric for Communication Skills in the BS in Graphics Communication Systems program.

3.      Assessment Rubric for Critical Thinking Skills in BS in Graphics Communication Systems program.