B.A & B.S. Biology – Written Communication (2013-2014)

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

YES, “Goals for Student Learning in the Major”

Published where? (website)

Biology webpage

Do PLOs include or imply link to Core Competency? (AY 2013-2014: Written Communication)?

“They [students] will also develop skill in oral and written presentation of scientific information.”

Process of Core Competency Assessment:

Course (400- level)

BIOL 495 Senior Seminar


Students will identify a specific biological topic, formulate hypotheses, undertake research to address their hypotheses, and communicate their results in a proper research paper.

Type of Student Artifact

8-10 page research paper in CSE format with proper bibliography

Rubric or other instrument

GE Rubric for Written Communication

Data (measurement of the competency)

Seventeen (n = 17) papers were blind read by two readers from the Assessment Support Committee, which is made up of eight faculty/librarians. The readings indicate that 5 of 17 (or 29%) of student were approaching or near competency, with the rest (>70%) exhibiting competency or advanced skill in writing. However, readers noticed that in a number of papers, the section called “Discussion” was rather weak. Readers also noticed that in some instances, grammar and prose errors contributed to some problems with readability. Of concern was the lack of consistency in citation formatting.

Evaluator Tabular Data

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

Faculty will highlight the importance of improving the Discussion section of student papers. To improve grammar, faculty will increase the use of peer-proof reading. Also, we will expand the practice of having students turn in multiple drafts for editing. To improve the Citations section, students will be directed to follow a single citation style.

Date of Last Program Review


Link to report: Biology Department