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University of Wisconsin - Parkside College Portrait

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University of Wisconsin - Parkside Learning Outcomes

UW-Parkside is dedicated to excellence in teaching and learning.  The goal of outcomes assessment is to look systematically at what students in a department or major are learning, across courses and over time, through their experiences in the UW-Parkside General Education program and continuing within the major.  Assessing what students are learning is essential to ensure we are achieving two of our core values, academic excellence and student success. By assessing student learning outcomes, we affirm our successes, identify areas for improvement, and have a basis for making systematic changes in the curriculum to improve learning.


University of Wisconsin - Parkside administered the ETS Proficiency Profile in 2013 - 2014.

University of Wisconsin - Parkside conducted a Value-added administration of the ETS Proficiency Profile in 2013 - 2014. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on UW-P’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?

In reviewing the available VSA assessment instruments, the ETS Proficiency Profile was considered attractive in that the abbreviated version could be administered during a typical class period. The University's Academic Achievement and Assessment Committee decided to do a classroom-based administration, and the 40-minute version allowed for adequate time to administer in nearly all class meetings. The ninety-minute instruments would have vastly reduced the number of class meetings in which the ETS Proficiency Profile could be offered.

Which University of Wisconsin - Parkside students are assessed? When?

New first year students were assessed primarily in English classes in Fall 2013. Since the vast majority of freshmen are enrolled in an English class in their first semester, targeting these courses would reach most first year students and have little chance of duplication.

Assessing seniors was a more challenging endeavor, as there are few common courses that could reach large number of seniors. As such, the administration to seniors spanned from Fall 2013 through Summer 2014. Capstone, senior seminar, and other classes with high-percentage senior enrollments were targeted, but the enrollment in these classes was typically smaller than the freshman English courses.

How are assessment data collected?

The majority of the ETS Proficiency Profile administrations were done in classrooms using the paper version of the instrument. These were proctored by members of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. A small number were collected using the ETS online, unproctored administration.

How are data reported within University of Wisconsin - Parkside?

In addition to reviewing the report provided by ETS, members of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness did further analysis by merging results with data from the Student Information System. This allowed for additional disaggregation of results and examination of factors related to student performance. Additionally, there were enough senior respondentsin to provide each college (and some larger departments) with results aggregated from students in each college (or major).

How are assessment data at UW-P used to guide program improvements?

The data collected through the ETS Proficiency Profile have resulted in discussions for changes to the General Education and program-level curricula.  In addition, the outcomes of program-level assessment have resulted in curriculum changes to support student success.  Student success has increased as a result of the assessment of student learning in the major.

Of 759 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 269 (35%) were included in the tested sample at University of Wisconsin - Parkside.

Of 1283 senior students eligible to be tested, 301 (23%) were included in the tested sample at University of Wisconsin - Parkside.

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 55% 46% 50% 51%
Male 45% 54% 50% 49%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
US Underrepresented Minority 28% 35% 25% 24%
White / Caucasian 71% 62% 73% 75%
International 2% 3% 1% 1%
Unknown <1% <1% 1% <1%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 40% 46% 45% 48%
Area of Study Business Economics and Computing 14% 17% 27% 27%
Natural and Health Sciences 14% 22% 28% 26%
Social Sciences and Professional Studies 0% 4% 19% 25%
Arts and Humanities 3% 6% 17% 22%
Undeclared 69% 51% 8% 0%

Overall our samples reflected our entering freshman and senior classes fairly closely. The greatest deviation we had was that our freshman sample had a mean ACT score about one point lower than the overall class. As we have seen that ACT and ETS Proficiency Profile scores are highly correlated, we would expect our ETS Proficiency Profile results to be slightly lower than we would see with the entire class.

For the senior sample, the only major deviation is that while 99% of our sample members were enrolled full-time, about 86% of our overall class was full-time. Based on our disaggregated analysis, however, we would not expect this to impact the ETS Proficiency Profile scores.

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.

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.