# B.A. Mathematics – Written Communication (2022-2023)

Yes.

## Published where? (website)

See Math’s  SLOs, Curriculum Matrix, and Rubrics. SLOs are also published in the UH Hilo Student Catalog for Mathematics.

## Do PLOs include or imply link to Core Competency? (AY 2022-2023: Written Communication)?

Yes for both degree programs

## Process of Core Competency Assessment:

### Course (300- or 400- level)

For the academic year of AY 2022-2023, no upper division course met the parameters for this assessment.  So MATH 271 Applied Statistics was utilized.

### Type of Student Artifact

Multi-author analysis of a data set.

### Assignment

A multi-student 5- to 10-paragraph report (analysis) of a data set. Students must identify a publicly available data set and a simple statistical hypothesis that they would like to test using the data. The report required the following:

• a data set table on a public webpage (research)
• a short narrative about the source of the data and what’s in it (descriptive writing)
• rendering of the data into usable shape (coding)
• a short methods narrative about the wrangling process (descriptive writing)
• an appropriate visualization of some aspect of the data (coding)
• a short narrative about the visualization (interpretive writing)
• Each “short narrative” should be about one or two paragraphs. As long as needed, but not longer.

### Rubric or other instrument

GE Rubric for Written Communication

### Data (measurement of the competency)

Two readers from the department served as evaluators and read seven (n = 7) papers using the Written Communication Rubric. Of the 7 submissions on this assignment, 3 had an average score between 1–2 across all 4 categories, 2 had an average score between 2-3, and 2 had an average score between 3–4. In all cases readers were in relatively close agreement with each other, with no paper’s scores in any category varying by more than one point across the different readers.

The reviewers noted that the different submissions varied widely in the writing portion of the assignment. While submissions generally completed the programming portions of the assignment satisfactorily, compliance with the instructions to give written explanations of the code and output was often lacking or perfunctory. Only two of the seven submissions for this assignment were rated as competent or better across all written communication rubric items, but as mentioned previously, most of the students are still in relatively early stages of their programs and have not had extensive exposure to technical writing tasks yet.

Evaluator Tabular Data

### Action Taken in Response to the Data (What will you do in response to the Findings?)

The reviewers identify two important components that should be added to the course curriculum in future offerings to increase the focus on written communications: 1. Provide more examples of the type of narrative summaries that should be included in data reports. 2. Include assignments that focus entirely on the writing component, with the R programming components of the analysis already completed in the assignment template.

The instructor of the course agrees that both of these suggestions are important steps to take to increase the focus on written communication in this course. The suggestion to include writing assignments that do not also include programming tasks is particularly insightful, as this will increase the variety of assignment types in the class, which is always helpful for student engagement, as well as discourage the CS students from devoting all of their effort to coding tasks. The instructor also noted that an interesting complementary assignment type would be to have students read the statistical methods sections of real papers, and attempt to write the code that recreates the results of the paper from the written descriptions. Including a few examples with poorly written methods sections should serve to drive home the importance of clear writing.

The instructor intends to begin implementing these new assignment types in upcoming offerings of the course, and continue to look for additional ways to increase the focus on written communication in this course.

2020-2021