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.
A&M-SA is assessing critical thinking using the ETS-Proficiency Profile critical thinking skills subscore.
Students' mean scores on the ETS-PP Critical Thinking by academic year are broken down below:
13-14: 109.16 (n=1,796)
14-15: 108.44 (n=1,703)
15-16: 108.99 (n=1,991).
Scores on this section have remained relatively constant over time. These scores are also slightly below the national average for juniors enrolled at master's comprehensive universities (mean score= 110.4, n=13,438).
The ETS-PP is administered to incoming transfer students at A&M-SA, so it reflects the skills that students have developed prior to their transfer to A&M-SA. The University admitted its first cohort of freshmen students in Fall 2016 and it will be assessing critical thinking skills as part of its own general education core curriculum. This will provide more detailed information about A&M-SA's contributions to the development of students' critical thinking skills.
A&M-SA will continue to use the ETS-PP to gather information on transfer students' critical thinking skills, and it will also administer the ETS-PP to non-transfer students starting in Fall 2018 to allow for comparisons between transfer and native students.
A&M-SA has started entering ETS-PP scores into their student data system to allow for further study of the relation between ETS-PP scores and student performance at the University.
There are several limiatations to this assessment. First, the ETS-PP Is meant to be administered to both freshmen and senior students to measure the value added by students' experience at an institution. Because A&M-SA was still an upper-division institution during the assessment period in question, scores are only available from transfer students. These scores probably reflect critical thinking skills that have been gained at previous institutions.
At this time, the ETS-PP must be completed prior to registration, but there is no minimum score requirement, so students may not be motivated to provide their best effort on this assessment.