Assessment at Eastern Connecticut State University is a process intended to ensure that we are achieving the objectives that we have set for ourselves as Connecticut's public liberal arts institution. Ultimately, assessment at Eastern serves several purposes:
1) Improving learning and the learning environment inside and outside the classroom;
2) Ensuring the quality and integrity of an Eastern degree;
3) Demonstrating accountability to our stakeholders.
First and foremost, we need to ensure that our students are learning what we hope they are learning. By establishing clear goals and evaluating success via a valid process, departments can build upon successes and improve areas in need of additional support. Our goals as a liberal arts institution are broad yet focused.
The Liberal Arts Program sets in place a foundation upon which the academic departments build. Maintaining the strength and integrity of this foundation is also facilitated by the assessment process. The classroom is just one part of the learning environment at a university. Other areas of the university, such as housing, student activities, advisement, and others play an integral role in maintaining a positive learning environment. As such, they also need to demonstrate that the services that they provide are integral to the complete learning experience at the university.
The quality and integrity of an Eastern degree is critically important not only to our students, but to their parents and others. State legislators and taxpayers also need to know that the funds earmarked for public education are being used wisely. Effective assessment yields the evidence that allows us to demonstrate confidently that we are achieving our stated goals.
Eastern Connecticut State University administered the CLA in fall 13 - spring 14.
Eastern Connecticut State University conducted a Value-added administration of the CLA in fall 13 - spring 14. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.
For additional information on Eastern’s process for administering CLA, please click on the Assessment Process Tab below. For information on the students included in the administration, please click the Students Tested Tab.
We feel the CLA is the most advanced tool available for assessing learning outcomes.
We are administering CLA every other year, including academic year 2013-14 and 2015-16, to freshmen in the fall and to seniors in the spring.
CLA provides an in-depth report plus a unit-record data set after each year of testing.
We are working towards the development of a clear, consistent, year-to-year reporting process that constitutes important information rather than just more data. This takes time; for example we wanted to see if family income had an effect on CLA performance. Nothing of interest was found in that analysis. Attempts have also been made to find connections between CLA scores and NSSE data; again, no important findings have emerged. We will continue to explore ways of linking CLA data to other critical pieces of student information.
Right now, NSSE data are our primary means for assessing what academic major programs are engaging students in what ways.
Of 684 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 140 (20%) were included in the tested sample at Eastern Connecticut State University.
Of 939 senior students eligible to be tested, 132 (14%) were included in the tested sample at Eastern Connecticut State University.
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
|Eligible Students||Tested Students||Eligible Students||Tested Students|
|Other or Unknown||<1%||<1%||<1%||<1%|
|US Underrepresented Minority||22%||15%||17%||17%|
|White / Caucasian||58%||59%||81%||80%|
|Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant)||27%||19%||23%||23%|
We make sure that both freshman and CLA takers are students who began their career at Eastern and/or took the vast majority of their classes at Eastern. We only test students who transferred to Eastern from another college if the number of credits that they took at the previous college is fairly small, e.g. 9-12.
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 at an institution testing students of similar academic abilities.
The charts below show the proportion of tested seniors who scored at each level of the nine subscales that make up the CLA. The subscale scores range from 1 to 6 with 6 representing a higher or better score. Due to rounding, subscores may not total 100%.
|Analytic Reasoning and Evaluation|
The charts below show the proportion of tested freshmen who scored at each level of the nine subscales that make up the CLA. The subscale scores range from 1 to 6 with 6 representing a higher or better score. Due to rounding, subscores may not total 100%.
|Analytic Reasoning and Evaluation|