About HACC

Spring 2015 Assessment



Critical Thinking
Courses Selected: BUSI 209, COMM 203, ECON 201, ENGL 207, ENGR 102, ENVS 201, HIST 103,HLTH 101, HUM 101, MATH 110, MATH 111, NURS 140, PHIL 102, PHIL 200, PHIL 225, PHYS 212, PSYC 212, SOCI 203

Methods: The 17 courses comprised 184 individual classes, from each of which two students were randomly selected for assessment. This selection resulted in a sample of 368 students. Instructors from the assessed courses were sent an email with the names of the selected students and instructions to submit samples of work from these students that demonstrated critical thinking, with the option to submit work electronically or through paper mail.  A reminder email was sent out approximately two weeks before the due date. All collected artifacts were anonymized and uploaded into the Tk20 assessment software program. A group of seven volunteers assessed the artifacts using the rubric. The analytic rubric consisted of five dimensions: identification; method(s); alternate points of view; integration; conclusions, solution(s); and creativity, innovation. The dimensions were rated on a 4-point scale, ranging from 4, advanced proficiency, to 1, no/limited proficiency. Each artifact was assessed twice, by two different volunteers. 

Results: Artifacts were submitted for 175 students (47.6%). Sixty-one students (16.6%) were reported as having dropped the course or did not turn in the selected assignment. In addition, two of the selected courses (ECON 201 and NURS 140) did not require completion of any assignments suitable for assessment and were dropped from the assessment. The mean for Identification was 2.73.  The mean for Method(s) was 2.94. The mean for Alternate Points of View was 2.13. The mean for Integration was 2.57. The mean for Conclusions, Solution(s) was 2.62, and the mean for Creativity, Innovation was 2.42. Students selected for assessment were categorized based upon total credits earned as of the semester of assessment. Artifacts were submitted for 103 students with zero to 30 credits, and 72 students with over 30 credits. Based upon independent samples t-tests, no significant differences were found between the groups’ scores in any of the six rubric dimensions.

Based on the results of the assessment, several changes were proposed to improve curricula and the assessment. Instructors discussed incorporating aspects of creativity and alternate points of view into more assignments in order to increase opportunities for gaining critical thinking skills. In order to refine the assessment, suggestions included adding an assessment of plagiarism to the critical thinking rubric, and making the rubric more applicable to science and technology courses. Instructors also encouraged revisiting course outcomes in order to emphasize critical thinking aspects. [Critical Thinking results table] pdf

Oral Communication
Courses Selected: ARCH202, ART 105, ART 121, ART 122, ART 131, ART 132, ART 144, ART 146, CIS 110, COMM 290, HLTH 101,
MUS 104, MUS 110, PE 201, PLGL 101, SOCI 201, WEB 268

Methods: The five competencies that comprise the Oral Communication outcome were assessed through an online survey sent to instructors for the 17 selected courses. The competencies were Focus, Organization, Style, Physical Behaviors,and Language Delivery. Instructors were sent an email containing a link to a survey and the names of three students randomly selected from their course section. The survey consisted of three rubrics (one for each selected student) to be completed by the instructor based upon the students’ performance on an oral assignment completed for the course. The assignment could be any course requirement containing an oral component, such as a speech, oral examination, or peer critique. The rubric assessed the five Oral Communication competencies on a scale of 0 (no proficiency) through 4 (advanced proficiency).

Results: Surveys were completed for 64 students (18.2%). An additional 21 students (6.0%) were indicated as dropped or as not having completed the assignment. Finally, 89 students (25.3%) were not assessed for “other reasons” which were noted in a write-in field in the survey, most commonly that the class did not require an oral assignment. The remaining students (178, 50.6%) were not accounted for in the survey. Many of these students were in classes which no longer require an oral assignment, and assessors were contacted by alternative means regarding instructors’ desires to be excluded from the assessment. The mean for Focus was 3.48. The mean for Organization was 3.30. The mean for Style was 3.15. The mean for Physical Behaviors was 3.27, and the mean for Language Delivery was 3.25. Students selected for assessment were categorized based upon total credits earned as of the semester of assessment. Surveys were completed for 44 zero to 30 credit students and 20 over 30 credit students. Based upon independent samplest-tests, no significant differences were found between the groups’ scores in any of the five rubric dimensions.

Changes to pedagogy, curricula, and the assessment itself were suggested based upon the findings from the Oral Communication assessment.  Faculty discussed the inclusion of other aspects of communication in the assessment of Oral Communication, including interpersonal communication and the recognition of one’s audience and the ability to tailor information to the audience. For pedagogical changes, faculty encouraged good practices of oral communication in their own teaching and presenting in order to act as models for students. Faculty also intended to raise general awareness of communication styles among all instructors and place greater recognition of the connections between style and content in student speeches. Other changes included providing Communications tutors in tutoring centers, and having advisors encourage students to take Communications courses earlier in their course sequences in order to improve communications skills for later courses. Based upon the large number of classes that were included in the assessment but were unable to provide work to assess, faculty were asked to revisit course mapping to the Oral Communication General Education Outcome to ensure mapping is appropriate. [Oral Communication results table] pdf