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Prairie View A&M University Learning Outcomes

Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) will administer a host of direct and indirect assessments to measure student learning outcomes (SLOs) including:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Empirical and Quantitative Thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Social Responsibility
  • Globalization/Cultural Diversity
  • Integration of Broad Knowledge
  • Discipline-Specific Knowledge

In addition to national assessments, rubrics, certification/professional exams, and major field tests, PVAMU will utilize course-embedded assessments, senior portfilios, and the General Education Synthesis Assignment (GESA).  The GESA measures critical thinking and writing skills.  It is administered to graduating seniors across the University every other year.


Prairie View A&M University administered the ETS Proficiency Profile in 2010 - 2014.

Prairie View A&M University conducted a Value-added administration of the ETS Proficiency Profile in 2010 - 2014. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on PVAMU’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?

The ETS Proficiency Profile is a nationally benchmarked performance instrument with comparative data on more than 500 institutions. It assesses core skills areas in critical thinking, reading, writing, and mathematics and is one of the preferred measures of the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA). The report offers context subscores in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences and can be used in conjunction with student perceptions of their skills in these areas through the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). 

Which Prairie View A&M University students are assessed? When?

A nationally-normed reading, writing, critical thinking, and quantitative reasoning assessment helps to determine seniors’ level of achievement compared to that of in-coming freshmen. In-coming freshmen without transfer credit are identified for targeted assessment. Similarly, seniors with at least 115 semester credit hours and who have officially applied for graduation are identified. A sample from each of the University’s colleges and school is utilized so that approximately 20% of the identified graduating senior population is assessed. 

How are assessment data collected?

The data reported regarding skills areas are grouped into three proficiency levels each for writing, mathematics, and the combined skills of reading and critical thinking. Proficiency levels include proficient, marginal, and not proficient. The skills dimensions are further delineated into three levels. Scaled academic areas subscores are also reported in areas of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. 

How are data reported within Prairie View A&M University?

The Offices of Institutional Accreditation and Institutional Research and Effectiveness collect and distribute data to Academic Affairs, the Core Curriculum Advisory Committee, University Academic Council, Institutional Effectiveness Council, and various departments. Data are reported along with other externally-benchmarked and internally-established measures such as the Major Fields Test (MFT), National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), Global Perspectives Inventory (GPI) and the General Education Synthesis Assignment (GESA). 

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

The University examines the results and formulates recommendations for action. The chair of the Core Curriculum Advisory Council meets with units to best implement recommendations to improve achievement levels in respective component areas and reports yearly at the Faculty and Staff Conference. Many of the University assessment measures are used with both freshmen and seniors to determine value added by the University. Results of the NSSE, for example, are used globally to determine whether or not courses and the culture at the University are perceived as placing appropriate emphasis on the six core objectives. Prairie View outpaces its peer groups on most NSSE measures.

Of 421 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 160 (38%) were included in the tested sample at Prairie View A&M University.

Of 98 senior students eligible to be tested, 92 (94%) were included in the tested sample at Prairie View A&M 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 51% 51% 51% 51%
Male 49% 49% 49% 49%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
US Underrepresented Minority 99% 98% 98% 98%
White / Caucasian 1% 2% 2% 2%
International <1% <1% <1% <1%
Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) <1% <1% <1% <1%

With only 92 seniors tested in 2013, the sample size is small and may not fully represent the skill sets of seniors. A larger sample size will be collected in Spring 2015 that represents at least 20% of the graduating senior population. 

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

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