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Winston-Salem State University Learning Outcomes

The expectation is that each program at Winston-Salem State University will assess student learning and report their assessment information to the university's assessment management system.  Faculty members are encouraged to discuss student learning outcomes, means of assessment and how results will be collected and used for program improvement.  Institutional Assessment and Research serves in a support role for student learning outcomes assessment.  Student learning outcomes for each program can be found in the University Catalog.

Additional information on the ongoing assessment activities occuring at WInston-Salem State, including links to survey results, available standardized assessments, assessment audits, and general education outcomes, can be found on the Institutional Assessment and Reserach website: http://www.wssu.edu/administration/assessment-and-research/assessment/default.aspx 

 




Winston-Salem State University administered the CLA+ in 2014 - 2015.

Winston-Salem State University conducted a Value-added administration of the CLA+ in 2014 - 2015. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on WSSU’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?

The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) tests the critical thinking, analytic reasoning, problem solving, and writing skills of college and university students using two types of tasks:Performance and Analytic Writing tasks. Winston-Salem State University selected the CLA to gauge how well its students, as a group, perform relative to the sample of all other schools administering the CLA and to a more select sample of schools admitting students of similar entering academic ability (as measured by the mean SAT or ACT scores of participating students). Additionally, the CLA was selected by WSSU because it  enabled us to determine if the average difference between our school’s freshmen and seniors is larger or smaller than it is at other schools with students of similar entering academic ability. In other words, are the students at Winston-Salem State University improving as much as students at other schools? This type of cross-sectional comparison provides an estimate of the results that would be obtained from a longitudinal analysis (i.e., an analysis in which schools test entering freshmen and then retest those same students four years later when most of them are graduating seniors).  Further, both written communication and critical thinking, which the CLA+ measures, are general education outcomes at WSSU.


Which Winston-Salem State University students are assessed? When?

First-time, full-time freshmen students are assessed in the fall semesters and graduating seniors are assessed in the spring semesters.


How are assessment data collected?

Students complete the CLA online.  Before students begin the actual assessment, they must first complete a student profile.  Responses made in the student profile provide demographic and contact information and general information pertaining to a student’s academic background.  Data pertaining to students’ SAT and ACT scores and transfer credits is submitted by the Institutional Assessment and Research office after each testing window is closed.  Several months after taking the CLA assessment, each student receives a results report via email from the Council for Aid to Education.  At approximately the same time, WSSU receives a results report in which the data was aggregated across all test takers.  Results are presented in a number of formats including means, standard deviations, and the percentage of students who performed at each performance level of the task completed.


How are data reported within Winston-Salem State University?

The aggregation and analysis of all collected data is completed at the Council for Aid to Education (CAE). When results reports are made available, they are reviewed by all key stakeholders at WSSU.  Aggregate reports are available on the WSSU assessment website.


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

Motivated by the results obtained through the CLA, Winston-Salem State University selected “Rams Write: Improving Writing in the Major” as the topic of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) designed to improve student learning.  The QEP is a five-year plan that targets juniors and seniors who are enrolled in designated junior and senior-level courses with an emphasis on writing. The main goal of the QEP is to improve students’ competence in written communication.


Of 772 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 56 (7%) were included in the tested sample at Winston-Salem State University.


Of 520 senior students eligible to be tested, 11 (2%) were included in the tested sample at Winston-Salem 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 73% 59% 71% 73%
Male 26% 38% 28% 18%
Other or Unknown <1% 4% <1% 9%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 92% 84% 95% 82%
White / Caucasian 3% 4% 3% <1%
International 1% <1% <1% <1%
Unknown 4% 13% 1% 18%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) <1% <1% <1% <1%

The recruitment of sufficient numbers of students to participate in the CLA has always been a challenging endeavor at WSSU.  Even with incentives being offered to participants, the sizes of the tested samples were often inadequate to make any meaningful comparisons with students’ results from other universities.  Unfortunately, this lack of participation also resulted in samples that were not truly representative of the two student cohorts (freshmen and graduating seniors) that were targeted.  The resulting samples consisted of those students who were willing to participate in the assessment.

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 selected-response questions is at or near what would be expected what would be epxected at an institution testing students of similar academic abilities.

Seniors Detail

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%.

Performance Task
Analysis & Problem Solving
Writing Effectiveness
Writing Mechanics

The table below shows students' mean scores on the three subscales that make up the Selected-Response Questions section of the CLA+. The students subscores are determined by the number of correct responses in each subsection, with those raw numbers adjusted based on the difficulty of the question set the students received. Individual student scores are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Subscale Mean Student Scores
Scientific & Quantitative Reasoning (Range: 200 to 800) 543.0
Critical Reading & Evaluation (Range: 200 to 800) 472.0
Critique an Argument (Range: 200 to 800) 513.0
Freshmen Detail

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%.

Performance Task
Analysis & Problem Solving
Writing Effectiveness
Writing Mechanics

The table below shows students' mean scores on the three subscales that make up the Selected-Response Questions section of the CLA+. The students subscores are determined by the number of correct responses in each subsection, with those raw numbers adjusted based on the difficulty of the question set the students received. Individual student scores are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Subscale Mean Student Scores
Scientific & Quantitative Reasoning (Range: 200 to 800) 483.0
Critical Reading & Evaluation (Range: 200 to 800) 460.0
Critique an Argument (Range: 200 to 800) 461.0