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 firstname.lastname@example.org.