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Use of Assessment Results

Capital uses the information gained from assessment to improve student learning through changes in the curriculum, pedagogy, engagement experiences, and the assessment process. Faculty and staff outline proposed changes in their assessment reports (PDF). In subsequent assessment plans (PDF), programs summarize results from the previous year and highlight the impact changes have had on student learning.

As a result of the assessment process, faculty have made changes at the course-level, that include modifications to learning experiences, increased scaffolding of assignments, and revisions to course content. Changes at the program-level have focused on the curriculum or programming provided by student support areas. For example, after identifying a need to improve legal analysis skills in the second year, the Capital Law School implemented a new second-year orientation and an online program, increased emphasis on these skills in core courses, and embedded additional formative assessment.

Assessment in the first-year writing courses also has led to curricular changes. Prior to 2016, first-year students enrolled in UC 110 Reading and Writing in College (3 credit hours). Not satisfied by student performance in this course, Capital introduced a second first-year writing course, ENGL 111 Academic Composition (4 credit hours) to serve students with a greater need for instruction in grammar, mechanics, and style. Comparison of student performance on final papers for students in ENGL 111 and UC 110 over the last five years indicated that students in ENGL 111 on average outperformed students in UC 110. This led to a move to eliminate UC 110 in Fall 2022.

The implementation of the Anthology suite has facilitated gathering assessment information at the institutional level, which has led to changes at this level. For example, in 2020-2021, the Signature Learning Outcome of Data Use was assessed and reported by only six programs, prompting the institution to ask where else it is occurring in major courses, but not being delineated or distinctly assessed. As a result, the Signature Learning Committee endorsed making this an outcome of focus to answer this question. This strategy of targeting outcomes was successful in providing more reliable information with 555 students assessed on Data Use across 19 learning experiences in 2021-2022.

Other institutional initiatives that have utilized student success data (2016 and 2017 AAC&U Institute on General Education Assessment, John Gardner’s Foundations of Excellence - First-Year and Transfer Experience, Gateway to Completion) have led to revisions of the general education curriculum, a new first-year orientation course and associated co-curricular experiences, the development of the Advising and Student Success offices, more seamless and supported transfer experience, and changes in pedagogy and assignments in gateway courses that have impacted student learning.