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Central Connecticut State University College Portrait

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Central Connecticut State University Learning Outcomes

CCSU’s academic programs are designed, per our mission, to prepare students to be broadly educated and globally aware. Each undergraduate and graduate degree program has developed specific learning outcomes that reflect the knowledge and competencies needed for success in their chosen field.  CCSU emphasizes the development and application of knowledge and ideas through research and outreach activities, and prepares students to be thoughtful, responsible and successful citizens. 

Academic programs are reviewed for quality via both internal and external processes, utilizing faculty expertise available from within the CCSU campus as well as expert faculty from other institutions to ensure the objective appraisal of programs.  CCSU’s approach to assessment encourages academic excellence.

Internal Assessment

The University regularly and systematically evaluates student learning at multiple levels including individual courses, academic programs, and institution-wide goals. At CCSU, assessment is a faculty driven process designed to ensure continuous improvement in each degree program offered. Faculty have the primary responsibility for determining and evaluating student learning outcomes at the course, program and institutional levels. Annually, departments summarize findings from evaluating student learning to identifying curricular and/or programmatic adjustments that have been or will be made as a result of the assessments.  This approach helps to ensure academic excellence is maintained, academic programs are current, and promotes a culture of continuous improvement.

External Assessment:

Program Review:  CCSU regularly and systematically conducts a self-study of all degree programs, to ensure excellence, currency in the program, and to strive for continuous improvement.  Programs are comprehensively evaluated on the effectiveness and quality of their curricula and instruction, student learning and success, and allocation of resources.  Once the self-study has been completed, an external reviewer (typically an expert faculty member from another institution) will assess the report and make recommendations on program strengths and weaknesses.

Accrediting Agencies:External accrediting agencies are another indicator of program excellence.  CCSU is regionally accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) which accredits the entire university.  The School of Business is one of only two public institutions in Connecticut that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).  CCSU also maintains national accreditation for specific academic programs that have exceeded the standards of excellence established by the following accrediting agencies:  Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA); Department of Public Health; Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE); Council on Social Work Education (CSWE); American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy-Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT-COAMFTE); Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP); Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program - Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (CAAHEP, CoAes); Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE); American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance-American National Association for Sport and Physical Education (AAHPRED-NASPE); American Chemical Society (ACS); American Council for Construction Education (ACCE); Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc. (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, EAC of ABET); Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (formerly  the Technology Accreditation Commission) of ABET, Inc. (TAC of ABET); The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE); Computing Accreditation Commission of Accreditation Board of Engineering Technology (CAC of ABET); National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); National Council of English Teachers (NCTE); National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM); National Associations of Schools of Music (NASM); National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS); National Science Teachers Association (NSTA); American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL); Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL); Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC); International Reading Association (IRA); Council for Exceptional Children (CEC);  and Association for Childhood Education International (AAEI).


Learning Assessment Examples

Central Connecticut State University administered the AAC&U VALUE Rubrics in Fall 2014.

Central Connecticut State University conducted a Senior-only benchmarked administration of the AAC&U VALUE Rubrics in Fall 2014. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on CCSU’s process for administering AAC&U VALUE Rubrics, 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 AAC&U VALUE Rubrics for your institutional assessment?

CCSU is actively assessing the learning outcomes Critical Thinking, Written Communication and Quantitative Reasoning using corresponding VALUE Rubrics developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).  One of the benefits of using these three rubrics is that they have been developed and validated by faculty from across the US.  Over the past few years, the AAC&U VALUE Rubrics have become nationally accepted.

Which Central Connecticut State University students are assessed? When?

In fall 2014, CCSU volunteered to participate in the Multi-state Collaborative (MSC), an assessment initiative that focuses on Critical Thinking, Quantitative Literacy (Reasoning), and Written Communication and is sponsored by AAC&U and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO).  This initiative is attractive because it relies on assessing existing assignments that students complete as part of their normal course work – students not only have a vested interest in completing the assignment, but the assignment is directly related to their education.  This assessment initiative not only parallels the assessment practices across CCSU’s academic programs, but also provides comparative information for faculty to gauge the performance of CCSU students relative to students from other institutions.  This initiative is limited to students who have completed 75% of their undergraduate education (90+ credit hours).

How are assessment data collected?

Faculty were asked if they had an existing graded assignment that aligned well with one of the three rubrics.  If they did and were willing to participate in the initiative, then a copy of each student’s assignment was captured, de-identified (references to student name and/or ID, faculty name, and course were all removed), and saved for CCSU faculty to assess at a later date. The original assignment was graded, following normal procedures as identified by the instructor.

How are data reported within Central Connecticut State University?

CCSU holds a two-day assessment retreat twice a year to assess student work.  Faculty, representing disciplines from across the University, volunteer to evaluate the performance of students.  Each artifact is evaluated on a scale of 1-4 using the guidelines established in the corresponding rubric.   The resulting scores are tabulated by learning outcome, course instructor and by student (student name and ID were recoded to a random number to protect the identity of the student).

CCSU Faculty are provided a summary of the aggregated data, complete with number of artifacts assessed, the average score for each criterion within the learning outcome as well as the overall average for that learning outcome for the entire University.  Individual faculty who participated are able to compare the average score from students in their course(s) to the average score from all students assessed for that learning outcome. 

How are assessment data at CCSU used to guide program improvements?

Academic departments gather data on students mastery of learning outcomes every year and those data guide their review and improvement of programs. Efforts to improve assessment practices and interpret data are supported by the faculty senate’s Academic Assessment Committee and the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.  Annual program assessment reports are peer reviewed and are integrated into departmental annual reports.  The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment summarizes and reports on the activities described in the assessment reports.  This process has resulted in programs improving their capacity to identify strengths and weaknesses. 

Our tested students include a slightly higher proportion of males than exist in our student body.  We will review the results by gender to be sure there are not different patterns for men and women. 

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 charts below show the distribution of senior student scores on the AAC&U VALUE Rubrics for Written Communication and Critical Thinking. Students are scored at one of four levels: Benchmark, Milestone 1, Milestone 2, or Capstone. The Benchmark level is the level at which most incoming freshmen who begin college immediately after high school would perform. The Capstone level is the level at which senior students about to graduate would perform. All students, regardless of class standing, are scored on the same rubric against the same criteria, so it is expected that the distribution for senior scores would be centered farther to the right (closer to the Capstone level).

Critical Thinking Detail

The charts below show the distribution of student scores on the subscales of the Written Communication and Critical Thinking rubrics. Each rubric consists of five dimensions that students are rated on individually.

Written Communication Detail

The charts below show the distribution of student scores on the subscales of the Written Communication and Critical Thinking rubrics. Each rubric consists of five dimensions that students are rated on individually.