Writing Program Assessment Report
Fall 2002 through Spring 2004
Laurence Musgrove
Writing Program Director
Department of English and Foreign Languages
Saint Xavier University
This report provides analysis of assessment data
in the following six categories.
1. Grade distributions
2. Grade comparisons to other SXU programs
3. Student evaluation summaries
4. Student perceptions of learning
5. Faculty perceptions of student learning
6. Changes in dependence upon part-time faculty
1. Writing Program Grade Distributions
A summary statement for each semester follows with links to
online supporting evidence.
These reports are also useful to the degree that they
demonstrate that individual faculty may be giving too
many As, Ds, or Fs, or the degree to which students are
failing or withdrawing from a particular course.
Writing Program Grade Distributions
Fall 2002
80% of all students passed with a C or better, while 20%
failed to receive credit or withdrew.
There were no Ds given in English 100, even though about
11% failed or withdrew.
See report at Fall 2002
Writing Program Grade Distributions
Spring 2003
Approximately 86% of all students passed with C or better.
About 8.5% withdrew, and almost 5% failed.
In English 150, all students received As.
See report at Spring 2003
Writing Program Grade Distributions
Fall 2003
84% of all students passed with a C or better, while 16%
failed to receive credit or withdrew.
Approximately the same number of English 100 students
passed as those in fall 2002. Fewer English 100 students
withdrew, but more received Ds and Fs.
6% more students passed English 101, and approximately
10% more students passed English 102 than in fall 2002.
Overall, grade distributions are relatively consistent between
the two fall semesters.
See report at Fall 2003
Writing Program Grade Distributions
Spring 2004
As in the Fall of 2003, 84% of all students passed with a C
or better. 3.64% withdrew, while 11.41% failed. These
latter figures reflect the 19.39% of 101 students who
failed English 101 and the 8.16% who withdrew.
In contrast to Spring 2003, the failure rate is 10 points
greater, and the withdrawal rate is about 5% greater.
Nevertheless, the success rate in English 101 was almost
75%.
See report at Spring 2004.
2. Grade Comparisons to Other SXU Programs
Writing Program grade distributions were compared to
distributions for Communications 101 and Philosophy
150 for these same semesters.
In general, there appears to be no significant difference in
grade distributions, even though students on average in
the Writing Program receive fewer As and Bs and more
Cs.
See reports for Fall 2002, Spring 2003, Fall 2003, and
Spring 2004.
3. Student Evaluation Summaries
These reports are also useful when they reveal scores less
than 3 for individual faculty members because they
highlight specific concern areas for the director to
investigate further and perhaps prompt faculty
development in those areas.
The supporting documents list student evaluations by
section, by part-time faculty, by full-time faculty, and by
program.
Student Evaluation Summaries
Even though Writing Program faculty score on average very
well, overall Writing Program generally faculty score
lowest on prompts 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, and 15, and generally
highest on prompts 2, 3, and 5.
6. Presented material in an interesting and challenging manner
7. Contributed to my understanding of course material
9. Returned assignments and exams within a reasonable time frame
10. Provided clear statement of the basis of grading
13. Increased my knowledge and expertise in the subject matter
15. Instructional materials were helpful in meeting course objectives
2. Appeared knowledgeable about the course subject matter.
3. Was well prepared for class.
5. Was open to student questions and encouraged participation.
Student Evaluation Summaries
Of special interest is student perception of per course
faculty.
From semester to semester (with the exception of Spring
2004), these reports reveal that students generally value
full-time instructors and their courses over part-time
faculty and their courses.
For reports by semesters see: Fall 2002, Spring 2003, Fall
2003, and Spring 2004.
For copy of student evaluation form, see SXU Scantron
evaluation form.
4. Student Perceptions of Learning
At the end of each of the last four semesters, students were
asked to evaluate the degree to which they believed they
had achieved the learning objectives of the Writing
Program that specifically related to their classes.
These reports, as indirect measures of student learning,
reveal that a very large percentage of students believed
that they had fulfilled each of these objectives.
Student Perceptions of Learning
However, these percentages may be so high that they may
not have any real value at all, except to the degree that
they reveal that students may feel they have learned
more than they actually have.
Detailed reports by semester can be accessed at Fall 2002,
Spring 2003, Fall 2003, and Spring 2004.
Student Perceptions of Learning
The chart on the next slide shows the percentage of students
who believed they had achieved the learning objectives
of the Writing Program, as well as the percentage of
students who actually passed Writing Program courses in
that semester.
Of all of the learning objectives, students on average
believed they were least successful in fulfilling learning
objective 2, “I have learned the meaning and usefulness
of rhetoric,” and learning objective 3, “I have learned to
read more actively, critically, and responsibly.
Student Perceptions of Learning
Prompt #
Fall
2002
Spring
2003
Fall
2003
Spring
2004
Average
1
90.49
93.77
96.74
96.73
94.43
2
84.82
84.61
87.87
92.49
87.45
3
86.72
87.91
90.53
87.54
88.18
4
89.16
93.04
91.16
96.07
92.36
5
89.43
94.51
97.93
94.11
94.00
6
90.24
91.95
90.24
94.77
91.80
7
83.19
87.91
93.49
89.52
88.53
8
88.08
93.02
95.86
93.79
92.69
9
91.33
80.4
95.54
93.45
90.18
10
85
90.86
97.14
94.65
91.91
11
93.75
93.62
100
96.31
95.92
88.38
90.15
94.23
93.58
91.59
80
86.54
84
84
83.64
Average
% Passed
5. Faculty Perceptions of Learning
Also at the end of the last four semesters, faculty were asked
to estimate how many students in their classes had
achieved the learning objectives of the Writing Program
that specifically related to their classes.
These reports, as indirect measures of student learning,
reveal the degree to which faculty believed students
fulfilled the learning objectives of their courses.
Detailed reports by semester can be accessed at Fall 2002,
Spring 2003, Fall 2003, and Spring 2004.
Faculty Perceptions of Learning
The chart below shows the percentage of faculty who
believed that at least 75% of their students had achieved
the learning objectives of the Writing Program, as well
as the percentage of students who actually passed
Writing Program courses in the for that semester.
This chart also shows a clearer correspondence between the
percentage of students who passed and faculty
perceptions of learning.
Faculty Perceptions of Learning
Prompt #
Fall
2002
Spring
2003
Fall
2003
Spring
2004
Average
1
89.48
100.00
95.00
90.00
93.62
2
78.94
72.23
78.95
70.00
75.03
3
73.68
94.44
80.00
80.00
82.03
4
89.47
94.44
95.00
95.00
93.48
5
73.68
83.34
90.00
90.00
84.26
6
84.21
94.44
80.00
85.00
85.91
7
84.21
88.89
95.00
75.00
85.78
8
78.94
88.89
80.00
75.00
80.71
9
78.94
61.11
70.00
75.00
71.26
10
80.00
84.62
100.00
86.67
87.82
11
80.00
100.00
100.00
93.33
93.33
Average
81.05
87.49
87.63
83.18
84.84
% Passed
80.00
86.54
84.00
84.00
83.64
Faculty Perceptions of Learning
A couple areas of concern are evident in the chart,
specifically learning goals 2 (“My students have learned
the meaning and usefulness of rhetoric.”) and 9 (“My
students have developed a better awareness of how
writers make meaning in language through word choice,
definition, and metaphor.”).
These areas will be addressed in Writing Program Faculty
meetings, faculty development, and new sections of the
Writing Program Faculty Handbook.
6. Dependence upon Part-Time Faculty
This final report reveals the Writing Program’s dependence
upon part-time faculty to teach its courses.
For the last five years, Fall 1999-Spring 2004, there has
been a decline in the number of Writing Program courses
being taught by part-time faculty, yet more than 50% of
these courses are still being taught by per course faculty.
In the Fall 2004 schedule, 61% of courses predicted to be
taught by part-time faculty.
In response, the Department will continue to request limited
term Post-Doctoral Fellowships to teach in the Writing
Program.
See report at Part-time Dependence.
Future Assessment Plans
Future assessment plans include data that would show how
students who took 100 faired in 101 and 102.
In addition, during the summer of 2004, members of the
SXU faculty will participate in a writing assessment
project that examines the degree to which a sample of
English 102 papers from spring 2004 adhere to the
Writing Program shared grading criteria.
This project is co-sponsored by the University Writing
Council, Assessment Committee, and Department of
English and Foreign Languages.
Summary
Given the limited resources available, especially in terms of
faculty and instructional facilities, the Writing Program
is generally successful in achieving its mission and
goals.
The most significant barrier to coherent and consistent
instruction in introductory writing and research, as well
as improved student performance, is our continued
dependence upon a large number of underpaid and
under-supported part-time faculty.
If you have any questions or comments about this report,
please contact Dr. Musgrove at [email protected]
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