General Education Course Assessment

As a department, we strive to provide an excellent learning experience for our students.  In order to continue to improve our instruction, curriculum, and services, we regularly assess both our general studies students and all psychology majors.  Assessment data – in contrast to course grades – are not used to assess students, but the quality of our program.  The data allow us to note our strengths and improve upon our weaknesses so that our students are afforded a high quality psychology education.  In addition, we make our assessment data available so that prospective and current students, parents, and community members can see how we are performing.  For all of our assessments, our goal is to have 70% of our students receive a passing grade of 70% or better.

How are our students performing in general studies (Introductory Psychology and Lifespan) courses?

The university has developed a general education curriculum to ensure that students graduate with the skills they need to succeed in their chosen careers.  As they take their general education courses, students learn to think critically and read and write analytically about a broad range of topics.  The Psychology Department offers two general education courses – Introductory Psychology (PSY 1100) and Lifespan Psychology (2000). These courses are taken by Psychology majors as well as students from other departments.  Student performance in these courses is assessed by an examination given at the end of each semester that measures how well students are doing. Our assessment goal is for 70% of the students to correctly answer at least 70% of the test items.

In both courses, the outcomes were assessed using a multiple-choice exam, developed by faculty in the department. The current instrument was revised in Fall 2005. A 20-item exam was used to assess outcomes in Psychology 1100, Introductory Psychology.  A 15-item exam was used to assess outcomes in Lifespan and Development, Psychology 2000.  The exams were administered during the last week of the semester.

Student test data was received from 6 Gen ED classes offered in Spring of  2016, of which 3 sections of Intro to Psychology, and 3 sections of Lifespan Development..  In Intro Psych, 3 sections (from 3 different instructors) provided data for a total of 26 students. In LifeSpan, three sections provided data for a total of 60 students.

The primary criterion for success is a student correctly answering 70% of the items on the exam. For PSY 1100 70% success is met with 14 items.  For PSY 2100, 70% success is met when a student successfully answers 10 items. In addition, 70% of each class should correctly answer 70% of the questions on the exam.   This latter statistic is included because: 1) it is not skewed by extreme individual scores, as is the case with group means and 2) arguably, the goal of the assessment is to improve the performance of the greatest number of students rather than produce extremely high  scores in a few.

 

ASSESSMENT FINDINGS

 

Psychology 1100 – Introduction to Psychology

 

Assessment data were available for the three sections of PSY 1100 of one was on-line, and the other two were  face-to-face sections. This is a very unusual semester in terms of the number of students completing the assessment instrument. Two  sections met 60 %  of  the set criteria each , with the third  section met the set criterion with a very high performance of 90 %. It should be noted that this is not a typical  performance for Psyc 1100 in the last 10 semesters. It is interesting to note that , after several years of meeting the standard in a consistent manner , students scores really dropped to the lowest  level . But this is not the trend for  Intro to Psych which has been  showing a steady progress over the years.

 

Table 1. Final Assessment Scores, Spring 2016 - Psychology 1100

 

 

 

 Students completing end of semester assessment N  = 26

 

 

Professor

Section

Students completing Assessment

Mean Correct

Mean % Correct

(N) / % Students meeting criterion*

XXXXX

1100.01

10

14.10

71

06/60

XXXXX

1100.51

10

16.80

84

09/90

XXXXX

1100.61

6

12.67

63

03/60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Average

 

 

14.52

 

 

73

 

18/70

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Criterion = 70% or 14 of 20 items

 

 

 

 Table 2. Changes in Performance, Psych 1100 Spring 2010 – Spring 2016

 

Spring 2010

(N=161)

Fall 2010

(N=143)

Spring 2011

(N=106)

Fall 2011

(N=154

Spring

2012

(N=86)

Fall 2012

(N=92)

Spring 2013 (N=68)

Fall 2013

(N=143)

Spring 2014

(N =26)

Fall

2014

(N = 129)

% meeting criterion

 

68%

 

85%

 

83%

58%

38%

52%

60%

96%

81%

81%

 

Spring 2015 (N= 49)

Fall 2015

(N = 56)

Spring

2016

(N= 26)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80%

79%

70%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psychology 2000 – Lifespan Psychology

Assessment data are available for all the three  Lifespan classes for Spring 2016. Two sections did very well 100%  of the students meeting  the criterion. But the third section did not do very well with only 52 % of the students meeting the criterion. The Lifespan class has been doing very well over the  last four semesters. It will be interesting to know why a significant number of students in this section still did not do particularly well.       

                                      

Table 3. Final Assessment Scores, Psychology 2000 Spring 2016                             

                                              N=60

Professor

Section

Students completing Assessment

Mean Correct*

Mean % Correct

(N) / % Students meeting criterion*

XXXXX

2000.01

18

12.67

84

18/100

XXXXX

2000.51

15

12.80

85

15/100

XXXXX

2000.61

27

09.00

60

10/37

 

Average

 

11.85

84

43/72

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Criterion = 70% or 10 of 15 items   

 

Table 4.  Changes in Performance,  PSY 2000, Spring 2010 – Spring 2016

 

Spring 2010

(N=62)

Fall 2010

(N=79)

Spring 2011

(N=50)

Fall 2011

(N=154

Spring

2012

(N=86)

Fall 2012

(N=88)

Spring 2013 (N=44)

Fall 2013

(N=81)

Spring 2014

(N=52)

Fall

2014

(N=55)

% meeting criterion

47%

 

76%

 

94%

58%

100%

82%

88%

83 %

81%

84%

 

Spring 2015 (N= 69)

Fall 2015 (N= 69)

 

Spring

2016

(N=60)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

77%

86%

72%