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North Carolina Central University College Portrait

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North Carolina Central University Learning Outcomes

Assessment of student learning is outcomes-based driven and is a systematic process in which academic programs articulate the intended results of the collective contribution of their programs at North Carolina Central University. At the program-level, student learning is assessed to answer how well and in what ways students are meeting intended learning outcomes. Program faculty articulate the intended outcomes, implement assessment methods to systematically, over time, identify whether the end results have been achieved; use assessment results to plan enhancements, make recommendations for curricula changes, strengthen pedagogy strategies, and/or create policy and procedures for consideration. The systematic process of evaluation is then repeated at a later date to determine whether the program enhancements contribute to the intended learning outcomes. The general education program follows the same assessment process. At North Carolina Central University, learning outcomes at the program-level are referenced as program learning outcomes (PLOs), course-level outcomes as student learning outcomes (SLOs), and general education as general education outcomes (GLOs). The selected course-level SLOs are used to inform the PLOs.  Assessment of student learning takes place at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

The student learning outcomes (SLOs) are established at the course-level and provide a means for assessing student performance in individual courses. These cognitive abilities, as well as affective dimensions, help inform the desired educational programs’ outcomes. Distinctively, identified program learning outcomes are related to degree attainment. Both types of outcomes suggest what a student is able to do upon completion of a class or what a graduate is able to do upon completion of a degree program. The faculty are involved in aligning course-level student learning outcomes (SLOs) to inform the levels of achievement and gains on selected PLOs. In addition, each academic program has created curriculum maps to guide their assessment process. Assessment findings have resulted in curricular/course redesign, identification of effective pedagogies, and course improvements, as summarized. 

Since 2010, the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) has been administered to students completing 30 or more credit hours. At the end of the sophomore year, students in University College undergo a comprehensive assessment to determine their level of competence in specific areas related to academic readiness. These areas examine the core curricular course content, personal and social development skills, global learning, and vocabulary skills. University College distributes individual scores to each CAAP participant and the scores are recorded in GradesFirst, which provides an opportunity for academic advisors to discuss CAAP scores with their students. In addition, as needed, necessary academic interventions are put in place before a student transitions into their academic major and upper-level courses.

The General Education Curriculum (GEC) Assessment Committee and GEC Council review CAAP scores to monitor levels of achievement toward GEC’s seven learning outcomes. GEC has used CAAP scores to direct pedagogy improvements within selected GEC courses. In 2011 GEC established CAAP achievement targets for each CAAP content area - to be achieved by 2014. Action plans were created to increase performance level at or above the national norm average scores. In the Action Plan for Using CAAP Results to Improve Student Learning Report GEC outlined strategies to impact student readiness for the CAAP test and to further improve achievement of the seven GEC outcomes.


Learning Assessment Examples

North Carolina Central University administered the CLA in 2010 (CAAP Sophomores in 2010 and CLA Freshmen in Fall 2006) - 2014 (CAAP Sophomores in 2014 and CLA Seniors in Spring 2007).

North Carolina Central University conducted a Senior-only benchmarked administration of the CLA in 2010 (CAAP Sophomores in 2010 and CLA Freshmen in Fall 2006) - 2014 (CAAP Sophomores in 2014 and CLA Seniors in Spring 2007). The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on NCCU’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.

Why did you choose the CLA for your institutional assessment?

Along with the University of North Carolina system, North Carolina Central University participated in the 2007 Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) pilot project.

Since spring semester of 2010, North Carolina Central University has administered the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) five modules - writing, math, reading, critical thinking and science. The additional modules allow for more insight related to learning gains in the general education curriculum and understanding on student readiness for upper-level courses.  CAAP was selected to compliment students’ transition from University College to their selected academic majors. University College and the General Education Curriculum Council felt the CAAP data provided needed learning data to improve on learning gaps and to develop learning inventions. 

Which North Carolina Central University students are assessed? When?

All freshman and senior students were invited to participate in the CLA fall 2006 for the freshmen and spring 2007 for the seniors.

Since spring semester of 2010, all sophomores are required to take the CAAP before they move into their selected academic major. In spring 2010, 501 sophomores, 38% of the sophomore population, took the CAAP.  Sophomore students are tested both fall and spring semesters each year.


How are assessment data collected?

Assessments occurred at a specified time, which is outside of students’ scheduled class times (e.g., after 5:00pm and/or Saturday mornings).  

How are data reported within North Carolina Central University?

CAAP data are reported to each student, University College and the General Education Curriculum (GEC) Assessment Committee and GEC Council. In addition, stakeholders interested in specific student populations have also received CAAP data. For example, Communicating to Succeed (QEP) program has used CAAP data to examine levels of student learning performance in writing and critical thinking.

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

CLA data were not found useful due to low student participation (i.e., senior students).

CAAP results were presented to GEC Math and English teaching faculty, General Education Curriculum (GEC) Council and the Communicating to Succeed (QEP) director. In addition, selected colleges and schools have used CAAP at the program-level.  GEC Assessment Council developed action plans to address ways  to improve course content related to writing and math items presented in the CAAP. 


Since 2010 the results from the CAAP have indicated that our students were generally performing at levels we found to need improvement. In most areas, students score at or below the 65th percentile nationally. We noted that scores in Critical Thinking have improved slightly from our last administration (Spring 2013). We will continue to monitor the scores in Writing, Math, Reading, Science and Critical Thinking to see if trends develop that requires more structured actions.  

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

At NCCU, senior students who completed the CLA Performance Task (n=0) scored higher than 0% of seniors at all other CLA-participating institutions in Spring 2010 (CAAP Sophomores in 2010 and CLA Freshmen in Fall 2006) .

At NCCU, senior students who completed the CLA Analytic Writing Task (n=0) scored higher than 0% of seniors at all other CLA-participating institutions in Spring 2010 (CAAP Sophomores in 2010 and CLA Freshmen in Fall 2006) .

As NCCU did not participate in a value-added administration, scores are not adjusted to account for the incoming ability of NCCU students.