Analysis of Results for Written Communication

The Committee blind read 135 (n = 135) artifacts from eleven programs. Other departments opted to evaluate artifacts from their own upper-division courses (including capstones and others at the 300- or 400-level). This resulted in more than two hundred papers being evaluated across the campus.

Statistical Data:

ResultsLine of Reasoning
(Critical Thinking)
Organization and Structure
(Critical Thinking)
ContentLanguage Prose Syntax
Valid (n)232232232232
Std Deviation0.80810.7980.77470.7172

The data shows that students continue to have difficulty with Organization and Structure. Committee members observed that some students had difficulty with paragraph structure, including missing transitions, missing topic sentences, and repeated information in the same paragraph.

The data also suggests that students had difficulty with Content. There appeared to be a reliance on questionable sources such as Wikipedia, which affected support of the main argument. In the case where plagiarism was noted, scores of zero that were reported. Some papers copied extensively from sources and failed to provide original insight into the topic.

The Committee also observed that there were still some issues with Line of Reasoning (which is the skill tied to Critical Thinking). In some cases, papers lacked a clear thesis or purpose. On the other hand, one department found that assessing Line of Reasoning was difficult given the type of artifact they used because it was not a traditional research paper. The Committee also found this to be the case with some of the artifacts evaluated that required different formats.

Data and observations were sent to the programs for feedback. All programs that completed the evaluation submitted actions taken in response to the data. Actions reported include: requiring multiple drafts of papers, examining writing in courses throughout the major, improving problem areas identified by the evaluation, and reexamining assignments and assignment guidelines.

Submitted by Lari-Anne Au
December 2018
Chair of Assessment Support Committee (AY 2017-18)


Program Specific Reports: