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Kent State University Learning Outcomes

Assessment of student learning is important because it provides opportunities for the academic community to engage in self-reflection of its learning goals, to determine the degree to which these goals correspond to student and societal needs, and to evaluate if students’ activities, products, or performances coincide with the academic community’s expectations.

Here at Kent State University, academic units undertake activities to clarify the needs of their students and faculty, relevant administrators, community persons, and others involved with the outcomes of student learning. By doing so, units are able to decide what academic goals they value and thus what they expect students to learn. They then can determine and implement the best approaches to methods and measures that will evaluate the degree to which student learning outcomes meet these expectations. Finally, academic units can agree on ways to use this evidence to support improved student learning as well as an improved process for its assessment.

Kent State University utilizes a six step approach to the assessment process:

  1. Identify in broad terms what mission and educational goals are valued
  2. Articulate multiple measurable objectives for each goal
  3. Select appropriate approaches to assess how well students are meeting the articulated objectives
  4. Select appropriate measures that can be administered, analyzed, and interpreted for evidence of student learning outcomes
  5. Communicate assessment findings to those involved in the process of assessment
  6. Use feedback to make changes and inform curricular decisions and reevaluate the assessment process with the intent to continuously improve the quality of student learning.

These six steps can be applied to different levels or areas of student learning such as that of a program (e.g. undergraduate or graduate program or a program designed for a learning community), a major field of study (e.g. music), or a course (e.g. English 10001). The steps are useful for programs in academic units that are degree granting as well as for the wide range of programs and processes that influence learning, such as distance learning, library resources or liberal education courses.




Kent State University administered the CLA+ in 2015 - 2016.

Kent State University conducted a Value-added administration of the CLA+ in 2015 - 2016. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on KSU’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 CLA+ was chosen because it provides measures of critical thinking and written communication skills, and also gauges overall student growth in these skills (e.g., analysis and problem solving, critical reading and evaluation, and writing mechanics and effectiveness).


Which Kent State University students are assessed? When?

First-year freshmen and graduating seniors are invited to complete the CLA+. The CLA+ is administered twice each academic year - to first-year students in the Fall, and to senior students in the Spring. First-year students take the CLA+ during the Fall semester of their first year, while graduating senior students take the CLA+ during the Spring semester prior to graduation.


How are assessment data collected?

Student participants choose from a range of scheduled dates and times to complete the online assessment in a designated computer lab on campus. All testing sessions are supervised by a trained proctor. 

 


How are data reported within Kent State University?

The Office of Accreditation, Assessment and Learning, located in the Provost’s Office, oversees the administration of the CLA+. Results are initially shared with an advisory committee and then disseminated to various divisions, departments and offices. 


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

Results of the CLA+ serve as a metric in the Academic Affairs Strategic Plan, implemented in the Spring of 2014. A baseline measure has been established, and targets have been set to track student performance. CLA+ results are analyzed and reviewed in conjunction with other institutional assessments to gauge a baseline for student learning performance and to establish strategies and targets for improvement.


Of 4274 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 171 (4%) were included in the tested sample at Kent State University.


Of 3335 senior students eligible to be tested, 292 (9%) were included in the tested sample at Kent 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 64% 72% 63% 72%
Male 36% 25% 37% 28%
Other or Unknown <1% 4% <1% <1%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 4% 16% 9% 18%
White / Caucasian 76% 42% 84% 76%
International 3% <1% 3% <1%
Unknown 2% 5% 3% 6%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 33% 820 67% <1%

Students from every college and school on the campus are invited to participate in the CLA+.

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) 542.0
Critical Reading & Evaluation (Range: 200 to 800) 532.0
Critique an Argument (Range: 200 to 800) 555.0
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) 528.0
Critical Reading & Evaluation (Range: 200 to 800) 524.0
Critique an Argument (Range: 200 to 800) 544.0