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Clemson University Learning Outcomes

The goal of assessment at Clemson University is to improve student learning and program quality through an iterative process of planning, evidence collection, reporting, analysis and action.  Each academic program and administrative unit should conduct assessment on an ongoing basis, and should prepare an annual assessment report.  Programs and units should also establish an assessment committee to coordinate assessment activities, enhance assessment capacity, and ensure assessment continuity.




Clemson University administered the ETS Proficiency Profile in 2007 - 2015.

Clemson University conducted a Value-added administration of the ETS Proficiency Profile in 2007 - 2015. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on CU’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?

After an exhaustive investigation by the University Assessment Committee, the ETS Proficiency Profile (ETS PP) was chosen as the instrument most appropriate to the needs of Clemson University and its students. We prefer doing a paper administration conducted in class since we have found its encourages a serious attitude toward the test by the students.


Which Clemson University students are assessed? When?

All of the incoming freshmen are tested during Freshmen Orientation in August  (around 3000 students). In 2016-2017 we will begin testing all seniors. We will then be able to do a longitudinal analyis of the progress of individual students. Currently, we try to test 700-1000 seniors each Fal & Spring.


How are assessment data collected?

The data from the ETS Proficiency Profile is disaggregated into individual student scores. The students are matched up to their department and degree program and a report is given to each individual department on the performance of their students as freshmen and senior cohorts (not individual scores).


How are data reported within Clemson University?

In addition to the departmental reports, the Office for Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment prepares an institution-wide report on the ETS outcomes.


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

The data obtained from the administration of the ETS Proficiency Profile is used to identify problem areas in the individual degree programs and at the institutional level. ETS PP data was a strong base for the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that Clemson University created for our 2013 reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). 


Of 3494 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 3494 (100%) were included in the tested sample at Clemson University.


Of 5902 senior students eligible to be tested, 295 (5%) were included in the tested sample at Clemson 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 43% 43% 47% 67%
Male 45% 45% 53% 33%
Other or Unknown 12% 12% <1% <1%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 9% 9% 12% 7%
White / Caucasian 64% 64% 83% 65%
International <1% <1% <1% <1%
Unknown 27% 27% 5% 28%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 15% 15% 17% 15%

All incoming freshmen are tested with the ETS PP during orientation in August. In spring semester, a sampling of seniors: 700-1000 are tested from capstone courses in their major. We endeavor to have each major represented in this sample. When the 2012 freshman cohort achives senior status, we will begin to test all seniors and be able to do a longitudinal tracking of individual students through their undergraduate experience.

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 above what would be expected at an institution testing students of similar academic abilities.

The increase in learning on the analytic writing task is above what would be expected at an institution testing students of similar academic abilities.


Critical Thinking Detail

The chart below shows the distribution of student scores on the ETS Proficiency Profile Critical Thinking test. Students are scored as Not Proficient, Marginal, or Proficient.



Written Communication Detail

The charts below show the distribution of student scores on the three levels of the ETS Proficiency Profile Writing Test. Students are scored as Not Proficient, Marginal, or Proficient on each level. Writing 3 represents more advanced writing skill than Writing 2, which represents more advanced writing skill than Writing 1.