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Marshall University Learning Outcomes

Marshall University uses multiple measures to assess student learning. Based on a critical examination of assessment results, we make appropriate revisions to our curriculum and to student services, ensuring the best learning outcomes and collegiate experiences for our students. A sampling of measures used to assess student learning include standardized measures such as the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), licensure exams, authentic assessments, and student satisfaction surveys. Additionally, all programs on campus, both graduate and undergraduate, measure their programs’ student learning outcomes annually to ensure continuous improvement of their respective curricula.  Information concerning assessment of the general education core can be found at www.marshall.edu/assessment/GenEdAssessment.aspx, information regarding assessment of academic degree programs can be found at www.marshall.edu/assessment/AssessmentPlanArchive.aspx,  and information regarding student satisfaction can be found at www.marshall.edu/assessment/SurveyReports.aspx.  As part of its quality initiative for the Higher Learning Commission, Marshall University adopted a baccalaureate degree profile in January 2013.  The Marshall University Degree Profile and learning outcomes can be found at www.marshall.edu/assessment/LearningOutcomes.aspx.  Clicking on the hyperlink for each Domain of Critical Thinking will bring the reader to the traits/performance indicators for each domain/outcome.

 




Marshall University administered the CLA+ in 2016.

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

For additional information on MU’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?

Administering the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) began as a statewide initiative for all public four-year institutions in the state of West Virginia several years ago.  Although no longer supported statewide, Marshall University has chosen to continue giving the CLA+.  The reason for this is that, in conjunction with results of other assessments, we have used the results to inform changes in our curriculum which we are continuing to monitor.  Additionally, we have taken advantage of the CLA Performance Academies to help a core group of faculty write CLA-Type Performance Tasks, which we give to the majority of our freshmen as a baseline measure and our seniors as an Assessment Day measure.  Beginning in academic year 2012 – 2013 this allowed us to draw random samples of freshmen and seniors to take the CLA.  Having both CLA+ results and our institutional CLA-Type Performance Task results helps to give us a richer picture of student achievement at baseline and upon graduation.  Results of CLA+ and other general education assessment results can be found at www.marshall.edu/assessment/GenEdAssessment.aspx.

 


Which Marshall University students are assessed? When?

We use the CLA+ in a cross-sectional, value-added administration.  To do this, we test a randomly selected sample of our freshmen during the University’s Week of Welcome (WOW).  All freshmen who are not randomly selected to complete the CLA+ complete a Marshall developed CLA-type performance task, from which we pull a random sample for assessment.  Both assessments require students to analyze and evaluate information, solve problems, and write effectively.  In the spring, we seek volunteers from among faculty who teach senior capstone courses to either require or encourage their students to complete the senior assessment, which is either the CLA+ or the University’s CLA-type performance task.  This administration procedure has helped us to achieve freshman and senior CLA+ samples that are more representative of the populations than they were in the past.  CLA+ Sample/Population comparisons for academic year 2015-2016 can be viewed at www.marshall.edu/assessment/GenEdReports/2016CLAPopulationSampleComparisons.pdf.  Reports for other years are available at links on this website www.marshall.edu/assessment/GenEdAssessment.aspx


How are assessment data collected?

Matriculating freshmen attend a Week of Welcome (WOW) each August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.  During WOW, students attend sessions that are social, informational, and academic in nature.  Academic sessions are part of a one-credit hour course (UNI 100) that begins during WOW, but lasts through the first eight weeks of the semester.  Each UNI 100 section is led by a faculty or staff facilitator and a peer mentor.  Students in four UNI 100 sections are randomly selected to complete the CLA+; students in the other sections complete the Marshall developed CLA-like performance task.  UNI 100 facilitators receive instruction and then administer either the CLA+ or the Marshall developed performance task.  During the spring semester, the Office of Assessment schedules and administers both the CLA+ and the Marshall developed performance task to seniors from senior capstone courses whose instructors either require or encourage it.


How are data reported within Marshall University?

We review the results of the CLA+ report we receive from the Council for Aid to Education each spring and compare those results to those from our assessment of the Marshall developed performance task.  Our CLA+ results (value-added at the near expected level and average senior performance at the proficient level) have been consistent for several years.  These results correlate with the growth we seen between baseline and senior assessments using our Marshall developed performance task.  All of these reports can be found at this website www.marshall.edu/assessment/GenEdAssessment.aspx.  Our goal is to supplement these assessments with a university-wide assessment of students’ capstone projects. 


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

The results of the CLA+ are used in conjunction with other assessments, including indirect data from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and from graduation surveys, to inform improvement.  As mentioned previously, results of early CLA administrations and early NSSE results were used, in part, to inform development of the Core Curriculum, which launched in 2010.  More recent NSSE results have been used, in part, to inform a currently running High Impact Practice Learning Community project and an intrusive advising project, both of which are designed to improve student learning and persistence.


Of 1850 freshmen students eligible to be tested, 59 (3%) were included in the tested sample at Marshall University.


Of 1502 senior students eligible to be tested, 106 (7%) were included in the tested sample at Marshall 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 59% 47% 61% 74%
Male 41% 53% 39% 26%
Other or Unknown <1% <1% <1% <1%
Race/
Ethnicity
US Underrepresented Minority 10% 12% 7% 5%
White / Caucasian 69% 69% 77% 84%
International <1% <1% 1% <1%
Unknown 20% 19% 16% 11%
Low-income (Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant) 44% 42% 38% 36%

For academic year 2015 – 2016, the proportions of females in our freshman population was 59% as compared to 47% for the sample, while the percentage of females from the senior population was 61% as compared to 74% for the sample.  Race did not differ between the sample and population for freshmen or seniors.  Students enrolled in the University’s Honors College were represented both the freshmen and senior samples in approximately the same proportion as their representation in each population (10% for the freshman sample as compared to 13% for the population and 15% for senior sample and 16% of the population).  Mean entering academic ability (on an ACT scale) did not differ significantly between sample and population for either freshmen (23 [sample] 22.21 [population]) or seniors (22.55 [sample]; 23.05 [population]).  High school GPA (for freshmen) did not differ significantly between the sample (3.38) and population (3.5), but college GPA did differ significantly between the sample (3.42) and population (3.21).  For the full comparison, visit www.marshall.edu/assessment/GenEdReports/2016CLAPopulationSampleComparisons.pdf

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) 515.0
Critical Reading & Evaluation (Range: 200 to 800) 522.0
Critique an Argument (Range: 200 to 800) 551.0
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) 487.0
Critical Reading & Evaluation (Range: 200 to 800) 491.0
Critique an Argument (Range: 200 to 800) 514.0