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Elizabeth City State University Learning Outcomes


Elizabeth City State University’s mission statement affirms the university’s commitment to student learning, “Through teaching, research, and community engagement, the institution's rich heritage and its current multicultural student-centered focus provide a firm foundation for its endeavors. It serves the needs and aspirations of individuals and society; producing graduates for leadership roles and life-long learning.”

ECSU has an established culture of assessment of its academic programs that begins with the General Education curriculum and flows through all academic programs.  The General Education curriculum is the foundation for all academic programs.  It is administered by a director and oversight is provided by the General Studies Advisory Board.  General Studies had identified six core competencies: Composition/Communication (Oral & Written); Scientific Inquiry/Reasoning; Social and Behavior Sciences; Mathematical Reasoning; Computer and Information Literacy; and Critical Thinking.  These six core competencies are also the basis of six student learning outcomes for General Education. Here, a mix of in-house assessments as well as standardized assessments is used.


All academic programs have developed program outcomes and program based student learning outcomes mapped to national program standards, to measure student mastery of knowledge, skills and dispositions for the major.  All majors have within the curriculum an Intro course and a Capstone course where pre and post assessment is conducted.  Course based assessment is also conducted within each academic program and flows into program level student learning outcomes. Curriculum maps are used in all academic programs to ensure a well-developed structure of assessment. Program assessment is faculty driven and is conducted on an approved annual timeline as outlined in the University Assessment Plan. Academic program assessment is geared to the needs of the individual programs that include both Major Field Tests and in-house assessments that measure student mastery of knowledge, skills and dispositions for the major.

The QEP uses digitized course-embedded authentic assessments supported by common curriculum, essay assignments, and workshops for faculty and students.  The instructional component of the QEP assesses student learning through the use of Blackboard-delivered Grammar Pre- and Post-Tests in the two QEP courses – GE 102: Composition & Grammar and GE 103: Composition & Vocabulary.  Essay Pre- and Post-Tests are assessed using Blackboard Outcomes, which randomly distributes student essays to the freshmen composition faculty who volunteer to serve as essay raters. The GE 102 and GE 103 rubrics are electronically embedded into Blackboard Outcomes and used for the assessment ratings.  Guided by the QEP document, QEP Essay Raters and the QEP Assessment Team evaluate,  assess, and compare data with the initially projected targets of 75% and 80% success rates in the areas being evaluated in GE 102 and GE 103 respectively.  These original targets have been revised after QEP implementation. 


The results from the assessment are reviewed by the QEP Faculty for continuous improvement planning and development of strategies to enhance instruction, student learning, and course performance.  The QEP Writing Studio assessment process is two-fold. First, we monitor the number of tutoring sessions that occur and determine the correlation between students who meet the two-visit tutoring requirement and pass their respective GE 102 or GE 103 course. Second, we use the tutoring session forms and surveys, which are completed during each session, to determine which skills were discussed during the session and the student’s overall level of satisfaction. The data collected from the tutoring session forms is largely reported by the tutor; the data collected from the surveys is reported by the student. Collecting data from both sources allows us to have both perspectives represented in the assessment process. This also helps us to determine which skills or assignments students are most frequently requesting help with.


ECSU surveys students regarding their opinion.  NSSE results were disaggregated and disseminated to Departments who use these results to inform their efforts to improve teaching and program effectiveness.

In conjunction with NSSE, Sophomore and Graduating Senior Surveys are administered and are used as another indirect measure for continuous assessment and improvement of educational and support programs.

Additionally, the university administers the ETS Proficiency test. Students who complete the general education (GE) core at Elizabeth City State University will demonstrate proficiency in the areas of critical thinking, reading, writing and mathematics. In order to gauge the value-add of the GE curriculum on students’ academic progress, ECSU uses the ETS Proficiency Profile to assess growth in these areas.  The assessment is administered to freshmen during the first week of class, and it is administered to a representative sampling of seniors during the spring semester.


How are data used at ECSU?

At the end of the academic year, academic program faculty meets to discuss assessment findings, as well as initial decisions on use of results.  Academic affairs hold an assessment retreat to hear reports on all program assessments in the division, discuss findings, and make initial decisions on use of results.  The following fall, those findings and decisions are revisited for final approvals and implementation in Continuous Improvement Plan for each academic program, the departments, and the division of academic affairs. The assessment of academic programs is designed to support the quality of academic programs, ensure mastery of knowledge, skills and dispositions for the major, ensuring that the curriculum aligns with national program standards, make recommendations for curricular changes, strengthen pedagogy, revise or initiate new policies and procedures, make budget requests, identify findings for continuous improvement, and document progress. Achievement targets are set by faculty in collaboration with appropriate advisory boards and the Provost.

All assessment data is placed in Taskstream database and shared with faculty and university leadership.  It is shared with the campus community through end of the year assessment retreats, departmental and division meetings. Departments and divisions review results and use those results to make continuous improvement designed to improve student learning based on student learning outcomes.

All stakeholders in this process work in collaboration with the Office of Assessment and Accreditation and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Planning.


Elizabeth City State University administered the ETS Proficiency Profile in 2011 - 2016.

Elizabeth City State University conducted a Value-added administration of the ETS Proficiency Profile in 2011 - 2016. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on ECSU’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?

After running pilots with the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) and ETS Proficiency Profile (formerly MAPP), the General Studies Advisory Board concluded the ETS Proficieny Profile was better suited to meet our assessment needs for the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and criticial thinking.

Which Elizabeth City State University students are assessed? When?

We administer the ETS PP to all incoming freshmen students within the first four weeks of the semester. We administer the assessment again to a sample group of seniors who have completed a minimum of 38 general education credit hours excluding physical education courses in the spring.

How are assessment data collected?

We use the online reporting tools which are provided by ETS to collect assessment data.

How are data reported within Elizabeth City State University?

The chairperson of the Department of General Studies runs the reports and submits them to the General Studies Advisory Board for analysis and review.

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

The collected data are shared with school deans, departmental chairpersons, and the faculty. This data are used in conjunction with other assessment measures such as course assessments to determine achievement gaps. Instructional interventions and student support services such as peer tutoring and supplemental instruction are used to make program improvements.

Of 387 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 273 (71%) were included in the tested sample at Elizabeth City State University.

Of 183 senior students eligible to be tested, 55 (30%) were included in the tested sample at Elizabeth City 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

  Freshmen Seniors
Eligible Students Tested Students Eligible Students Tested Students
Gender Female 57% 54% 57% 56%
Male 43% 40% 43% 44%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
US Underrepresented Minority 51% 49% 51% 51%
White / Caucasian 9% 8% 9% 9%
International <1% <1% <1% <1%
Unknown 40% 38% 39% 40%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 74% 70% 74% 75%

Our tested students in the freshmen cohort is representative of the freshmen class. We have tested 84% of the incoming freshmen students. Our  seniors population is a convenience sample which is taken from students enrolled in a core literature class.

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.