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Clarion University of Pennsylvania Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes Assessment

Fundamentally, Student Learning Outcomes Assessment at Clarion University is a systematic reflection on teaching and learning, which provides a foundation for our growth as a community of educators. In a time of ever‐increasing public accountability, doing what we love depends in large part on our ability to clearly and effectively demonstrate what we do, that we are continually striving to be better at what we do, and most importantly that our students benefit from our efforts.

Why we do it

Annual program assessment promotes regular engagement in evidence-based planning in support of the faculty's goals for student learning and success. Assessment is more than a matter of compliance, it is an intellectual endeavor in which we gather and analyze data, make informed and strategic adjustments to our practices, and thus, improve student learning on our campus. This process can also help us align programs with the University’s mission and strategic goals, further strengthening our educational community.

How we do it

In keeping with the faculty role in creating the curriculum, the particular measures and methods for assessing student learning are determined by the program's faculty. However, the overarching expectations, as recommended by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, are shared by all programs. In brief, these include:

  • Craft clear and measurable student learning outcomes and develop procedures that measure the extent to which those outcomes are achieved.
  • Collect evidence and produce results that yield actionable insights into student learning in relation to the expected program learning outcomes.
  • Develop explicit programmatic criteria and standards to evaluate the evidence.
  • Share results and engage as a faculty in discourse about teaching and learning. Identify and implement actions to improve student learning.


What we do with it

The faculty from each program assess student learning of at least one program learning outcome annually. Measures, methods, results, actions plans and related resource implications are summarized in a formal report.  This work is guided by the program's assessment coordinator, with support from the college-level assessment team leader. Each Program Assessment Report is then reviewed by a team of faculty and staff that use a structured, rubric-based process to provide each program with constructive and timely feedback. By engaging in this process of peer review, it is our goal for all programs to consistently practice an "exemplary" level of assessment. We are moving toward that goal, recognizing that each program learning outcome poses its own unique assessment challenges.

Clarion University of Pennsylvania administered the ETS Proficiency Profile in Fall 2014 - Spring 2015.

Clarion University of Pennsylvania conducted a Value-added administration of the ETS Proficiency Profile in Fall 2014 - Spring 2015. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on Clarion’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?

Clarion chose the ETS Proficiency Profile because it assesses four core skill areas — critical thinking, reading, writing and mathematics — in a single, convenient test that the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) has selected as a gauge of general education outcomes.


Which Clarion University of Pennsylvania students are assessed? When?

Clarion University administers the Proficiency Profile to at least 200 incoming freshmen students each Fall and to at least 200 graduating seniors each Spring term.

How are assessment data collected?

Tests are administered during the first term for incoming freshmen and during the last term for graduating seniors.  The exams are given in a proctored environment following strict guidelines set by ETS.

How are data reported within Clarion University of Pennsylvania?

ETS provides a variety of reporting tools to evaluate test results (see ETS Proficiency Profile Scores).  The results are shared with the University's Institutional and Student Learning Assessment Committee (ISLAC) which is dedicated to advancing the assessment of institutional effectiveness and student learning outcomes at Clarion University.

Results are used to:

  • Measure the effectiveness of Claron's general education program
  • Evaluate and inform teaching and learning
  • Evaluate program improvement efforts
  • Benchmark against peer and aspirational institutions

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

These data enable Clarion to use data driven decision making for any program modifications.

A thorough yet concise examinaton and interpretation of the results is conducted.  Based on analysis of results, an Action Plan to improve the program or assessment process is developed. Deadlines for completion and responsible parties for following through on actions are included.  The ETS PP results from the following year are then used to gauge progress in areas targeted for improvement.

Of 1817 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 360 (20%) were included in the tested sample at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Of 1213 senior students eligible to be tested, 306 (25%) were included in the tested sample at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

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 60% 54% 65% 64%
Male 40% 44% 35% 36%
Other or Unknown 1% 1% <1% <1%
US Underrepresented Minority 17% 17% 9% 5%
White / Caucasian 74% 78% 89% 93%
International 4% <1% <1% <1%
Unknown 5% 4% 2% 2%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 43% 42% 38% 34%

Clarion administers the ETS Proficiency Profile according to the recommendations set by ETS (a minimum of 200 freshmen and 200 seniors).  Exams are given to a cross-section of students.

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.