and Assessment Center (TLAC)
West Chester, PA 19383
The following are the main types of assessment performed at West Chester University:
West Chester University is committed to providing a full, liberal education for our students. We have identified six qualities we want students to exhibit when they graduate:
We assess General Education in three ways: by analyzing student work, syllabi review, and analysis by departments who teach the courses. We currently assess two goals every two years.
SUMMARY: Since the 2006-2007 academic year, available assessment has shown that West Chester University is effectively meeting the primary goals of general education and that students are receiving a collegiate level education in general education classes. However, assessment is still being finalized for some of the goals but should be available for review in the next few years. We will update our results as more assessment data arrives.
Assessment has shown that students at West Chester University are communicating effectively. An analysis of student portfolios in writing courses has shown that well over 70 percent of students are meeting and even exceeding expectations.
A majority of students are also thinking critically and analytically, with around 25 percent showing high proficiency in the following areas:
General assessment has also shown that students are responding more positively to diversity. An analysis of student papers in diversity-designated courses has shown that students have improved year by year in:
While West Chester University is pleased with the results, we must continually reassess general education every few years in order to confirm that we are making true progress.
Part of West Chester University’s mission is to provide an environment of multicultural awareness and tolerance. This also relates to the general education goal for students to “respond thoughtfully to diversity.” We believe that every student, faculty member, and employee has the right to feel comfortable on campus, so we must assess how diverse and safe each of the above feels West Chester University is. The Campus Climate Advisory Committee was tasked with creating a survey that would quantitatively and qualitatively assess how members of West Chester University felt about the campus. In 2010, the survey was implemented.
In April 2010, over 4800 respondents took the Campus Climate Survey, a vast majority being undergraduate students. Students were asked over a hundred questions on how they felt about the university, including whether or not they had been a victim of prejudice.
In terms of how West Chester University involves students, most of the respondents agreed that the university provides many opportunities to engage students.
Diversity is an issue that West Chester University takes seriously, and the Campus Climate Survey illuminated issues that must be addressed. Compared to other higher education institutions, West Chester University showed a more tolerant campus climate as reported on the survey. Of course, the university seeks to improve its campus climate by offering a number of workshops and meetings designed to increase tolerance and understanding between all members of the institution.
The purpose of the CLA is to track intellectual growth of our students as they transition from freshmen to seniors. On the CLA, students either analyze a series of texts, or they respond to a writing prompt by making or critiquing an argument. In this way the CLA measures critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem-solving, and writing skills in both first-year students and seniors. These all relate to the general education goals for students at West Chester University.
The CLA was created by the Council for Aid to Education, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the quality of higher education through performance based assessment. For more information about the CLA, visit http://www.collegiatelearningassessment.org/.
The CLA of 2009-2010 has shown that West Chester University has helped strengthen students academically over four years at the institution.
Seniors have improved significantly over first-year students in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and problem-solving. In fact, West Chester University is in the 81 percentile for learning gains compared to all other institutions participating in the CLA.
The CLA results for critical thinking show that seniors’ critical thinking skills were above what was expected based on incoming first-year students’ SAT scores.
Students excelled at performing tasks pertaining to information literacy skills. West Chester University scored in the 92 percentile for information literacy gains compared to other institutions.
A third of first-year students used Google to find sources for their academic papers, compared to only 4 percent of seniors, which shows how West Chester University has improved information literacy for students.
The results of the CLA have shown that while West Chester University does indeed help a student grow academically, academic departments continually support students in their intellectual growth.
Related to the NSSE, the BCSSE is designed for incoming students who are entering college for the first time. The survey aims to capture incoming students’ academic experience and extracurricular involvement in high school, as well as determining how the students expect to participate in learning during their first year. The results of the survey are used to improve orientation programs for first-year students to help them adjust to the new academic setting, as well as implementing changes in curriculum when necessary.
The BCSSE is typically done either during orienteering programs before the fall semester or during the first few weeks of the fall semester. West Chester University last performed the BCSSE for the fall semester of 2010. To learn more about the BCSSE, visit http://bcsse.iub.edu/.
Developed by Indiana University, the NSSE measures two important factors in undergraduate education. First, the survey measures how much time and effort a student expends in study and other educational activities. Second, the survey determines how effectively the academic institution uses resources to get students to participate in activities linked to student learning. The results are then used by institutions to modify policies to improve learning and also by students, parents, and administrators to view how much students are involved in active learning at each respective institution.
The NSSE uses the College Student Report as its survey instrument, and over 1400 colleges and universities have participated since 2000. West Chester University last conducted the survey in the 2009-2010 academic year. To learn more, visit http://nsse.iub.edu/.
Implemented at the start of the Fall 2010 semester, over 1700 first time students at West Chester University responded to the BCSSE, which asks new students about their high school academic experience and their expectations for college. For the 2009-2010 academic year, the NSSE has shown that West Chester University has helped students grow intellectually and personally between the time they are first-year students to when they become seniors.