Texas A&M University System Student Learning Outcome–Critical Thinking
The Texas A&M University System delivers a common set/embraces a common view of important outcomes and is accountable for sustained measurement.
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.
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.
All criteria met and results exceed expectations with little room for improvement.
Most criteria met and results indicate mastery of objective with some room for improvement.
Acceptable number of criteria met and results meet expectations with room for improvement.
Some criteria met and results indicate need for improvement.
Few criteria met; results indicate need for significant improvement or no/insufficient results reported to measure performance of objective.
In Fall 2015, 90 seniors took the CLA+. The total CLA+ score was 1068 which corresponds to a Mastery Level of Basic (the second of five levels).
The sample of students who took the exam was not representative of all seniors and primarily consisted of biology students. Therefore, a critical thinking exam will be administered in Spring 2016 to a random sample of students in capstone classes. The QEP committte is currently reassessing whether the CLA+ is the best instrument to measure critical thinking and is reviewing alternatives. The CLA+ is long and reading-intensive. Therefore, fatigue and language/reading skills may currently be conflated with critical thinking skills.
Results from Fall 2013 CLA+ administration were similar, with seniors performing at an overall Basic level.
Number of academic programs with at least one SLO related to critical thinking.
75% of academic programs assessed during 2015-2016 had an SLO related to critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Our new QEP emphasizes critical thinking through undergraduate research. Over the next couple of years, faculty will develop and implement required, 3000-level, Critical Thinking Enhanced (CTE) courses. A modified Inquiry and Analysis VALUE rubric has been developed to assess learning in these courses. Faculty will attend rubric calibration sessions to increase scoring reliability. The introduction of these rubrics will allow for a more consistent measurement of critical thinking across disciplines.
This is new measure and cannot be compared to 2013 data.
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
92% of seniors reported that their educational experience at TAMIU prepared them "very much" or "quite a bit" to think critically and analytically.
Results from the CLA+ and NSSE suggest that there is a gulf between students' perceptions of their critical thinking skills and their actual skills. We are currently investigating assessment software with a student-facing view in order to improve communication with students about their assessment results.
This represents an increase from 2013 when 85% of seniors responded in kind to the same question.