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SUNY Purchase Learning Outcomes

Purchase has been a major player in SUNY’s Assessment Initiative from the beginning, assessing both the College’s general education program and all of its major programs. The College’s general education courses are assessed on a rotating basis every three years; general education assessment data are regularly used to improve teaching and learning. Major programs are on a five-to-seven-year assessment cycle. For each major, the faculty prepares a self-study, in preparation for a site visit by a team of external reviewers who evaluate the program. The reviewers’ report then serves as a basis for program changes and improvements.




SUNY Purchase administered the CLA+ in 2013 - 2014.

SUNY Purchase conducted a Value-added administration of the CLA+ in 2013 - 2014. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on Purchase College’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?

 

After much deliberation, Purchase College chose the CLA for several reasons.  Because a Purchase education combines the arts with the liberal arts and theory with practice, we wanted the most authentic assessment instrument we could get and were impressed with the CLA’s Performance Task.  The CLA also measures the skills we wanted to assess: critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving, and written communication skills. We already assess these skills in designated general education courses and most programs explicitly assess them in students’ required senior projects, but we needed an assessment that would give us a better idea of students’ learning growth over four years, of the value Purchase College adds to its students' education.


Which SUNY Purchase students are assessed? When?

Purchase College piloted the CLA in 2010-11.  Future administrations will be in 2013-14 and every three years thereafter. The recommended CLA sample size is 100 first-semester students in the fall and 100 second-semester students.  Purchase College did not reach this sample size in its 2010-11 administration, but showed major improvement in 2013-14.


How are assessment data collected?

Assessment results were aggregated and reported by the CLA in an extensive report.. The 2013-14 CLA data has already been shared in several venues and continues to be shared across campus.  The data and its analysis will also be important in preparing the institution’s 2017 Middle States Periodic Review Report.


How are data reported within SUNY Purchase?

The CLA is only one part of Purchase College’s assessment repertoire.  Every academic major is externally reviewed every five to seven years and results help drive curriculum revision and faculty hiring. All of the student learning outcomes measured by the CLA are also measured by the College’s core curriculum/general education assessment in which over thirty general education outcomes in twelve knowledge and skills areas are assessed at the rate of four areas annually on three-year cycle.  Finally, every graduating student completes a senior project, a year long intensive learning experience that may take many different forms. All programs are now required to assess their senior projects and use the assessment results to improve senior project pedagogy and student learning.


How are assessment data at Purchase College used to guide program improvements?

 

The CLA is only one part of Purchase College’s assessment repertoire.  Every academic major is externally reviewed every five to seven years and results help drive curriculum revision and faculty hiring. All of the student learning outcomes measured by the CLA are also measured by the College’s core curriculum/general education assessment: <http://www.purchase.edu/Departments/AcademicPrograms/CoreCurriculum/newgenedrequirements.aspx - slos>.

Over thirty general education outcomes in twelve knowledge and skills areas are assessed at the rate of four areas annually on three-year cycle.  Faculty actively use these results to make improvements, including a recent (2011) reshaping and streamlining of the core curriculum requirements, led by the Faculty Coordinator of Assessment.

Finally, every student completes a senior project, a year long intensive learning experience that may take many different forms. All programs are now required to assess their senior projects and use the assessment results to improve senior project pedagogy and student learning.

 


Of 773 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 92 (12%) were included in the tested sample at SUNY Purchase.


Of 873 senior students eligible to be tested, 78 (9%) were included in the tested sample at SUNY Purchase.


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 58% 65% 57% 62%
Male 42% 35% 43% 38%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 35% 34% 37% 40%
White / Caucasian 59% 60% 50% 54%
International 3% 3% 3% <1%
Unknown 3% 3% 10% 6%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 35% 29% 65% 19%

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.