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University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus College Portrait

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University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus Learning Outcomes

The University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus has been actively working to build a culture of assessment and continuous improvement to advance teaching and learning, and to improve program quality. By focusing on high quality learning outcomes, assessing student performance for these outcomes through a variety of measures, and using the assessment results and other information about student success to guide the program improvement process, programs have been systematically employing the outcomes assessment process as an effective vehicle for advancing learning. All academic programs have been documenting their assessment results and program modifications in annual reports to the university’s academic assessment committees and have received written feedback and guidance on their outcomes assessment processes and results.

For evaluating the effectivenss of the cross-cutting core General Education program, the university has been drawing on the results of a number of different measures, including the ETS Proficiency Profile, along with faculty assessment of student performance for each of the nine core areas of the general educational curriculum.

The ETS Proficiency Profile is  multiple-choice, standardized test that measures student performance in four areas: critical thinking, reading, writing and mathematics.  The ETS Proficiency Profile is one of the three tests approved by the VSA for the College Portrait and the results of the 2013-2014 tests are posted on the university's webpage.  Seniors performed well above the average score on all measures for comparison universities.  As well, seniors substantially out-performed freshmen on the overall test and in each of the sub-areas, suggesting that a University of Colorado Denver education makes a significant contribution to student learning.

The university also embarked on a four year project to revise the General Education core learning outcomes and collect curriculum embedded assessment results across all of the core areas in the General Education program.  The project, involving forty faculty members organized in nine core content area teams, has resulted in a new set of learning outcomes and valuable information about students' in-class performance that faculty draw on to inform their teaching and better advance student learning.




University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus administered the ETS Proficiency Profile in 2013 - 2014.

University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus conducted a Value-added administration of the ETS Proficiency Profile in 2013 - 2014. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on CU Denver’s process for administering ETS Proficiency Profile, please click on the Assessment Process Tab below. For information on the students included in the administration, please click the Students Tested Tab.

Why did you choose the ETS Proficiency Profile for your institutional assessment?

We chose the ETS Proficiency Profile since it was one of the three approved tests at the time for the VSA. The test assesses four core skill areas – critical thinking, reading, writing, and mathematics, all of which are important to our educational mission. We chose the abbreviated (40 minutes) version of the test with its shorter time frame rather than the standard (two hour) version of the test to ensure that we would be able to recruit a sufficient number of volunteer test-takers in our initial administrations of the test.


Which University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus students are assessed? When?

Both freshmen and seniors were invited to volunteer to take the abbreviated ETS Proficiency Profile test. All volunteers were given a $30 gift card. Freshmen took the test in September 2013 and Seniors took the test in April 2014.


How are assessment data collected?

The tests were administered by the Director of Assessment, with Freshmen completing the tests in their seminar classes and Seniors in small groups at the Office of Assessment. From all appearances the students appeared to take the test seriously and put forth their best effort.


How are data reported within University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus?

When the results of the test are received from ETS, the Director of Office of Assessment and the university Assessment Committee review the results, and then the Director presents and discusses the results with various members of the university community, including the Provost, the Core Curriculum Oversight Committee, Faculty Assembly, the Associate Deans, Institutional Research, and with the faculty members in the various schools and colleges. In addition, the results are shared with the students who took the test and with representatives from Student Government.


How are assessment data at CU Denver used to guide program improvements?

The assessment results from the ETS Proficiency Profile provide an opportunity to identify significant areas of weakness for students in the tested areas of critical thinking, reading, writing, and mathematics. We are pleased to say that both Freshmen and Seniors scored at or above the scores of students in comparable universities on the test overall and on all subtest areas. Given that the scores were uniformly strong across all areas, the test provides only limited information for strengthening teaching and learning, and for program improvement. Much of the information that the professors gather about student strengths and weaknesses comes from in-class, curriculum embedded, faculty-designed assessments. The information from these classroom assessments provide the most powerful and nuanced sources of information for guiding students in their learning.


Of 1982 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 237 (12%) were included in the tested sample at University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus.


Of 3463 senior students eligible to be tested, 218 (6%) were included in the tested sample at University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus.


Probability sampling, where a small randomly selected sample of a larger population can be used to estimate the learning gains in the entire population with statistical confidence, provides the foundation for campus-level student learning outcomes assessment at many institutions. It's important, however, to review the demographics of the tested sample of students to ensure that the proportion of students within a given group in the tested sample is close to the proportion of students in that group in the total population. Differences in proportions don't mean the results aren't valid, but they do mean that institutions need to use caution in interpreting the results for the groups that are under-represented in the tested sample.

Undergraduate Student Demographic Breakdown

  Freshmen Seniors
Eligible Students Tested Students Eligible Students Tested Students
Gender Female 52% 54% 48% 51%
Male 48% 45% 52% 47%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 30% 26% 23% 17%
White / Caucasian 47% 52% 57% 58%
International 9% <1% 5% <1%
Unknown 14% 18% 15% 20%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 34% 34% 36% 48%

The VSA advises institutions to follow assessment publisher guidelines for determining the appropriate number of students to test. In the absence of publisher guidelines, the VSA provides sample size guidelines for institutions based on a 95% confidence interval and 5% margin of error. So long as the tested sample demographics represent the student body, this means we can be 95% certain that the "true" population learning outcomes are with +/- 5% of the reported results. For more information on Sampling, please refer to the Research Methods Knowledge Base

The increase in learning on the performance task is at or near what would be expected at an institution testing students of similar academic abilities.

The increase in learning on the analytic writing task is above what would be expected at an institution testing students of similar academic abilities.


Critical Thinking Detail

The chart below shows the distribution of student scores on the ETS Proficiency Profile Critical Thinking test. Students are scored as Not Proficient, Marginal, or Proficient.



Written Communication Detail

The charts below show the distribution of student scores on the three levels of the ETS Proficiency Profile Writing Test. Students are scored as Not Proficient, Marginal, or Proficient on each level. Writing 3 represents more advanced writing skill than Writing 2, which represents more advanced writing skill than Writing 1.