B.A. Political Science – Written Communication (2017-2018)

Have formal Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) or Student Learning Outcomes (SLOS) been developed?


Published where? (website)

Political Science webpage

Do PLOs include or imply link to Core Competency? (AY 2017-2018: Written Communication)?


Process of Core Competency Assessment:

Course (400- level)



Critical analysis of the Articles of Confederation vs. the Constitution and Research Question of Students’ own choosing.

Type of Student Artifact

Term Papers

Rubric or other instrument

GE Rubric for Written Communication

Data (measurement of the competency)

See “Action Taken in Response…” section below

Evaluator Tabular Data

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

For Political Science majors, the department collects essays from POLS 101 (Introduction to American Politics) and POLS 470S (Capstone Seminar in Political Science) in order to perform pretest/posttest written communication assessment.  We analyzed all POLS 470 papers available (22) and selected a similarly sized random sample (22) of POLS 101 papers.

Three members of the department (Drs. Belt, Lee and Wang) divided the task of performing the assessment using the university’s written communication guidelines.  The members met to calibrate assessment scoring, and were pleased to find unanimity in their assessment.  The members then scored each of the papers with a score from 1-4 for each element of written communication: Line of Reasoning, Organization & Structure, Content, and Language/Prose/Syntax.  The results for the 2018 assessment are in the table below.

In every category of written communication, students in POLS 470S (the capstone seminar) scored significantly higher than the students in POLS 101.  The assessment demonstrates the effectiveness of the department’s curriculum in developing the quality of student writing.

A comparison to the 2014 written communication assessment reveals increased performance across all four categories among the POLS 470S Capstone Seminar students from 2014 to 2018.  Of the increases in performance, Organization and Structure showed the greatest increase (see table below).  This comparison to the 2014 assessment indicates that not only does the Political Science curriculum assist student writing from beginning to end of the major curriculum, but also that the curriculum has improved over time in delivering written communication skills to majors.  The department is committed to performing assessments on an ongoing basis and maintains artifacts for future assessments.  Lack of statistical significance across all four dimensions of written communication seems attributable to a ceiling effect.

Date of Last Program Review


Political Science External Program Review MOA