Student Learning Outcomes

We embrace a common set of student learning outcomes and we are accountable for sustained measurement of these outcomes

Tarleton State University: Critical Thinking

Texas A&M University System Student Learning Outcome–Critical Thinking

Bold statement:

The Texas A&M University System delivers a common set/embraces a common view of important outcomes and is accountable for sustained measurement.

Institutional Effectiveness:

For all TAMU System universities, the rationale for assessing student learning outcomes (SLOs) originates primarily from efforts to maintain institutional effectiveness, which is defined as a process of identifying outcomes, assessing the extent to which they are achieved, and providing evidence of improvement based on their analysis.

CRITICAL THINKING/PROBLEM SOLVING LEARNING OUTCOME:

Upon completion of their degree program, students will be able to demonstrate critical thinking, including the ability to explain issues; find, analyze, and select appropriate evidence; and construct a cogent argument that articulates conclusions and their consequences. Students will be able to utilize, qualitative and quantitative reasoning as a base for problem solving.

Generic Descriptions of Campus Assessment Results:

EXEMPLARY
All criteria met and results exceed expectations with little room for improvement.

PROFICIENT
Most criteria met and results indicate mastery of objective with some room for improvement.

SUFFICIENT
Acceptable number of criteria met and results meet expectations with room for improvement.

EMERGING
Some criteria met and results indicate need for improvement.

INSUFFICIENT
Few criteria met; results indicate need for significant improvement or no/insufficient results reported to measure performance of objective.

UNIVERSITY

TSU

ASSESSMENT METHOD

Every core curriculum course at Tarleton has critical thinking/problem solving as a key course based student learning outcome. Assessment of core curriculum student artifacts demonstrating the student learning outcomes related to critical thinking/problem solving (e.g. research projects, written assignments, examinations, presentations, etc.) is completed by core curriculum faculty members using a standardized rubric.

Tarleton also assesses critical thinking/problem solving at the program level. Most programs at Tarleton have discipline-specific student learning outcomes related to critical thinking/problem solving. Assessment of student artifacts demonstrating program student learning outcomes related to critical thinking/problem solving (e.g. research projects, written assignments, presentations, internship evaluations, portfolios, and other direct measures of student work) is completed by a panel of two or more faculty members within the discipline using program developed standardized rubrics or, in the case of internship reports, by a qualified outside evaluator.

RESULTS: 2016

This outcome was assessed at the core curriculum level through the association of core curriculum courses with the following two core curriculum student learning outcomes:
1.1.1 Students will evaluate evidence in analysis, interpretation or arguments
77% of core program assessments of subarea 1.1.1 met their targets.
1.1.2 Students will synthesize varied components of information to form a rational conclusion
60% of core program assessments of subarea 1.1.2 met their targets.
This outcome was assessed at the program level through the association of programs with the following four subareas of TSU's Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes:
2.3.2 Demonstrate critical thinking and reasoning
76% of academic program assessments of subarea 2.3.2 met their targets.
2.3.3 Derive and interpret qualitative and quantitative data
87% of academic program assessments of subarea 2.3.3 met their targets.
2.3.4 Synthesize new knowledge to solve problems
83% of academic program assessments of subarea 2.3.4 met their targets.
2.4.3 Identify and solve problems related to the discipline
75% of academic program assessments of subarea 2.4.3 met their targets.

ANALYSIS

Tarleton's core curriculum outcomes related to critical thinking/problem solving have demonstrated significant improvement since 2013:
1.1.1 Students will evaluate evidence in analysis, interpretation or arguments
2016: 77% of academic program met their targets.
2013: 45% of academic program met their targets.
1.1.2 Students will synthesize varied components of information to form a rational conclusion
2016: 60% of academic program met their targets.
2013: 45% of academic program met their targets.
Tarleton's program level outcomes related to critical thinking/problem solving have remained stable since 2013:
2.3.2 UG-Demonstrate critical thinking and reasoning
2016: 76% of academic program met their targets.
2013: 78% of academic program met their targets.
2.3.3 UG-Derive and interpret qualitative and quantitative data
2016: 87% of academic program met their targets.
2013: 84% of academic program met their targets.
2.3.2 UG-Demonstrate critical thinking and reasoning
2016: 83% of academic program met their targets.
2013: 84% of academic program met their targets.
2.3.3 UG-Derive and interpret qualitative and quantitative data
2016: 75% of academic program met their targets.
2013: 72% of academic program met their targets.

This would indicate that this is a Proficient area for Tarleton.

ACTION

1. Communicate results to all core curriculum instructors and Tarleton faculty in general.

2. Encourage inclusion of greater emphasis on developing synthetic analysis skills in core curriculum courses.

3. Develop a First-Year Faculty mentor group to model, share, and encourage best-practice curriculum approaches that are associated with student learning improvement.

4. Successfully implement an annual university-wide Great Debate program. This initiative is in development now for a Spring 2017 launch. One of the key goals of this program is to engage the broad university community in issues related to critical thinking/problem solving by creating an intensive series of public debates initiated around the students enrolled in Tarleton's core curriculum communication courses. The intent is for these students to peer model critical thinking/problem solving skills and practices to the broader university community and by doing so help to foster a culture of value around these skills and practices.

5. Develop more detailed and comprehensive standardized rubrics for assessing critical thinking/problem solving across the core curriculum.

COMMENTS

Since 2013, Tarleton has seen significant improvement in its critical thinking/problem solving core curriculum student learning outcomes.

This improvement stems directly out of the action plans Tarleton initiated in 2013. These action plans were designed to spur monitoring and development of critical thinking/problem solving curriculum in Tarleton's core courses.

The implementation of the new state mandated core curriculum standards in Fall 2014 provided Tarleton the opportunity to systematically and thoughtfully implement meaningful critical thinking/problem solving outcomes in each core curriculum course.

One of the key benefits of this was that Tarleton required each discipline's faculty to define how their core courses were engaging with the critical thinking/problem solving student learning outcomes. This increased the centrality of these student learning outcome across the core curriculum and led to heightened curricular focus on critical thinking/problem solving within these courses.

A key factor in this work is that it expanded the scope of the courses in the core curriculum that were aligning with the critical thinking/problem solving student learning outcomes to include all courses in the core curriculum. This more comprehensive, intentional engagement with the critical thinking/problem solving student learning outcome has contributed to the significant improvement in these student learning outcomes within the core curriculum.

Information by System Members
Texas A&M University
Prairie View A&M University
Tarleton State University
Texas A&M International University
Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
Texas A&M University Kingsville
West Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University Commerce
Texas A&M University Texarkana
Texas A&M University Central Texas
Texas A&M University San Antonio
Skip to toolbar