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 express ideas clearly and coherently orally, in writing, and electronically to a diverse range of audiences and interact with others in large and small group settings.
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.
TAMU (incl. TAMUG & TAMUQ)
Graduating Senior Survey Data - Graduating students were asked to indicate the extent to which TAMU contributed to their ability to write and speak effectively (based on a 5-point scale from none to very much) as well as the importance of these skills to their future success (based on a 5-point scale from not at all important to very important). During AY 15-16, a total of 4,623 graduating students completed the survey, representing a 44% response rate.
PROFICIENT. Write effectively: 70% indicated that TAMU had contributed either very much or quite a bit to this ability. Of these, 64% saw this ability to be very important or important to their future success. Speak effectively: 73% indicated that TAMU had contributed either very much or quite a bit to this ability. Of these, 71% saw this ability to be very important or important to their future success
Based on these findings, the target was met for both speaking effectively and for writing effectively (target: >70% indicate TAMU contributed very much or quite a bit to each ability). With respect to perceived importance, both are seen as valuable, a trend that is demonstrated regardless of students' perception of how much the university contributed to their ability to communicate effectively (i.e., 87% of the graduating students indicated they recognized the importance of being able to write effectively for their future success; 95% recognized the importance of being able to speak effectively for their future success).
Results of the Senior Survey are made available to the deans and designees for their use in identifying noted strengths as well as potential areas for improvement. A number of colleges have recognized the need to give added attention to the ability to write and speak effectively within their respective programs. The colleges of Engineering, Geoscience, Science, Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dentistry, Nursing, and Public Health, along with both the Galveston and Qatar campuses, have embedded opportunities to strengthen oral and written communication skills within identified high impact practices in an effort to strengthen students' ability to communicate effectively. Direct measures of communication skill are being implemented during AY16-17 in an effort to assess the impact of these opportunities.
NOTE: As a result of changes in leadership, the pending SACSCOC 5th Year Interim Report and QEP Impact Report, and state requirements for assessing outcomes related to the mandated core curriculum, TAMU has prioritized the implementation of direct measures of student learning for the identified university and system-level learning outcomes. The results of the Senior Survey, an indirect measure of the identified learning outcomes, will be used in combination with the assessment of student artifacts to assess SLOs such as the ability to write and speak effectively moving forward. COMPARISON WITH 2013: The Writing Assessment Project (WAP) and the Speaking Assessment Project (SAP) were suspended following implementation in AY12-13. As such, there is no direct comparison information available between 2013 and 2016 with respect to the instruments previously reported. However, the Graduating Senior Survey was administered in AY12-13, thus allowing for a comparison of findings. The findings across the two years were consistent within an acceptable margin of error.
TAMU (incl. TAMUG & TAMUQ)
Program Assessment Reviews - Annually, programs submit assessment reports that summarize efforts to assess progress made on identified outcomes for each academic program offered at TAMU. In October, 2016, seventy eight (78) baccaluareate programs across the institutions reported having used direct measures to assess their students' ability to communicate effectively. Measures typically included scores on oral presentations or on papers submitted using rubrics designed, in part, to assess communication competency.
PROFICIENT. Approximately 86% of the targets set to demonstrate mastery of the ability to communicate effectively were met across the 78 programs using direct measures as a means of assessment for this particular outcome.
Based on these results, it appears that baccalaureate students across colleges and programs are able to demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively.
In instances where established targets are not met, programs are encouraged to develop specific action plans based on the findings and designed to strengthen the targeted learning outcome (i.e., communication effectively). Examples of Action Plans include: integration of more structured or additional writing or oral presentation assignments in targeted coursework, development of departmental opportunities for students to give presentations, and the development of a capstone course that is more writing intensive.
Given significant changes in program reporting and tracking of outcome assessments, there is no meaningful way of comparing results on this measure from 2013 to 2016. As noted above, the university-wide efforts to implement more uniform direct measures as of the current AY should provide more reliable and focused information.