CP Logo

University of Southern Indiana College Portrait

Home Compare At A Glance Contact


University of Southern Indiana Learning Outcomes





Assessment of student learning at the University of Southern Indiana (USI) takes place at the university-level with respect to the University Core Curriculum (general education) and within the four colleges and multiple departments with respect to particular programs and majors.

University Core

A new University Core Curriculum was implemented in fall 2014 and is distinguished from the previous core curriculum by the moniker, Core 39. After the first semester of Core 39’s implementation it became apparent that the outlined plan for assessment was overly focused at the course level and did not allow for an effective assessment of the curriculum’s outcomes at a categorical level. In the summer of 2015, the Provost formed the Core 39 Assessment Task Force with members representing each of the four colleges, as well as the Faculty Senate, Council of Chairs and Program Directors, and the Office of Planning, Research and Assessment. The task force meet for two weeks and developed an assessment plan proposal. The proposal was adopted by the Provost and Faculty Senate for implementation in fall 2015 with a one year pilot prior to a complete implementation of the entire Core Curriculum in fall of 2016.    

The current assessment of the Core 39 is overseen by the Director of the Core Curriculum and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs with the support of the College Core 39 Assessment Faculty (CCAFs) and the Assistant Director of the Office of Planning, Research and Assessment. CCAFs are tenured faculty who work within their college along aside their colleagues to implement the Core 39 Assessment Plan; ensure the requirements of the assessment plan are followed through and offer technical expertise in the collection and evaluation of student data. USI has partnered with Tk20 to centralize the collection and analysis of student data while the Tk20 system serves as a repository of the student artifacts and the data collected.

In the current assessment plan, faculty teaching Core 39 courses are tasked with the collection and evaluation of artifacts from all enrolled students in a designated semester once every three years. The data collected each semester is prepared and analyzed by the Office of Planning, Research and Assessment to be shared with university administrators and faculty for review and discussion during the follow semester’s designated Assessment Day. An annual report will be produced each academic year to disseminate results to university leadership and the University Core Curriculum Committee. At the conclusion of the three year cycle, an omnibus report will be produced documenting the results from the data from the prior three years and proposed plans for improvement for each course for the University Core Curriculum Committee and institutional leadership.  

Program Assessment

Academic Program Review is a process of regular, systematic review and evaluation of all academic programs at the university.  Departmentally-based programs (academic majors) are reviewed once every five years.  The primary purpose of Academic Program Review is to examine, assess, and strengthen programs.  The areas in which program quality is evaluated include the quality of educational programs, including an assessment of student learning outcomes.

A number of the academic programs at the university are accredited by various accrediting entities; assessment of student learning is typically involved as part of this accrediting process. 

The Office of Planning, Research, and Assessment has instituted a reporting process whereby departments provide to the Office a brief summary of their student learning outcome assessment activities.  Departments report to the Office their student learning objectives, methods used to measure student learning, and changes made based upon student learning outcome evidence.  The Office provides consultation and support to the departments as needed regarding these assessment efforts.

Assessment Day

USI has implemented two Assessment Days (one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester) in which classes are not held, allowing the university to administer various assessment tests to students.  Assessments include examinations in general education and in the major field of study.  Assessment Day results are used in part for the university’s accrediting process.  During the fall Assessment Day the ETS Proficiency Profile is administered to first-time full-time freshmen and to seniors who began their academic career at USI; in the spring semester the Major Field Test is administered to seniors in a number of majors. 

The University Core Curriculum Assessment Committee has over the years implemented a number of supplemental assessment and evaluation instruments during Assessment Day in order to collect additional data useful in evaluating specific areas of the core curriculum.

Results on the MFT in recent years can be found at


Success Examples

Ninety percent of recent USI graduates work in their field or in a satisfactory field.  Six USI graduates were featured in the Evansville Business Journal’s 2014 “20 Under 40,” an annual list of emerging leaders.  Sixteen USI alumni have been similarly recognized in recent years.

University of Southern Indiana administered the ETS Proficiency Profile in 2015.

University of Southern Indiana conducted a Value-added administration of the ETS Proficiency Profile in 2015. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on USI’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?

Since 1988, USI has tested all incoming freshmen and continuing juniors using the ETS Proficiency Profile. In 2010, USI stopped testing juniors and began testing students as seniors instead.

Which University of Southern Indiana students are assessed? When?

USI tests all first-time, full-time new freshmen and seniors who took the test as a freshman at USI as part of USI’s annual Assessment Day in the fall.

How are assessment data collected?

First-time freshmen and seniors graduatng within the academic year, who were tested as freshmen, complete the ETS Proficiencey Profile online during USI's annual Assessment Day in the fall.

How are data reported within University of Southern Indiana?

The data that USI receives from ETS includes student ID so that student results can be match back to information in the USI data system, such as such as courses taken, major area of study, and entering high school characteristics (SAT/ACT scores, GPA, HS rank, etc.). 

Students are sent their results via email within a few of weeks of completing the ETS Proficiency Profile with his/her test score, the University’s mean score, the national mean score, and their percentile relative to national level data. Seniors are also provided with their score as a freshman.

Percentile ranks given for each of the prior year’s indicators are reported by college and published as part of the annual Institutional Snapshot, which is distributed to faculty and staff at the annual fall meeting.  Results are also published on the Office of Planning, Research, and Assessment’s web page.

Other aggregate analysis of the test data is provided to faculty and staff as requested.

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

Until recently, USI was unable to identify needed curriculum changes based on the ETS Proficiency Profile score reports as the reports were very limited in the breakdown of the student data at the content sub-score level. The new reporting options by ETS are allowing USI to disaggregate the data allowing for better utilization of the sub-score results.  In addition, USI has implemented a new general education curriculum the fall of 2014. Results from the ETS Proficiency Profile test administration are monitored and will be matched to core learning outcomes to identify potential changes needed in the new core curriculum and discussed with the appropriate academic units.

Of 1672 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 1635 (98%) were included in the tested sample at University of Southern Indiana.

Of 809 senior students eligible to be tested, 752 (93%) were included in the tested sample at University of Southern Indiana.

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 63% 63% 65% 64%
Male 37% 37% 35% 36%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
US Underrepresented Minority 13% 13% 10% 10%
White / Caucasian 86% 86% 90% 90%
International 1% 1% <1% <1%
Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 38% 37% 28% 28%
Area of Study Nursing and Health Professions 25% 26% 20% 19%
Liberal Arts 18% 18% 35% 35%
Science, Engineering, and Education 25% 25% 25% 25%
Business 15% 15% 20% 21%
University Division 17% 17% 0% 0%

USI seeks to measure the gains made by students from the time they that began their college career at USI as freshmen to their senior year. Early in the fall semester, new first-time, full-time freshmen enrolled as of the designated Assessment Day and seniors who completed the ETS- Proficiency Profile as freshmen are required to complete the ETS-Proficiency Profile.

Of these populations, 98% of freshmen and 93% of seniors completed the ETS-Proficency Profile in the fall 2014 semester. Analysis of common demographic chararcteristics found no significant differences between the samples and their respective populations.

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 or near 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.