Academic Year:    2013/14

              Department:    Liberal Studies

                Program(s):    Liberal Studies: All Options (Quaternity,

Environmental Studies, Global and Multicultural Studies

1. What Was Done

In FY2013/14 we evaluated learning outcomes 2 (Teamwork and Collaboration) and 3 (Written Communication) from our Assessment Plan.

Teamwork and Communication: Students will be able to offer constructive, specific, and accurate feedback on the work of another student.

Written Communication: Students will be able to write a paper with appropriate scope, strong argumentation, clear arguments, relevant and properly cited evidence, and strong mechanic s.

2. What Data Were Collected

Teamwork and Communication:  Data were collected from collaborative exercises completed in 2 of the 5 sections of the LS401 Senior Capstone Project course offered in FY13/Sp14.  The assessment data took the form of general summaries based on the attached rubric of how well the students in the class worked together to contribute to the success of the group and how well they provided accurate, constructive and specific feedback to one another.  Over 90% of students were rated excellent and the other 10% met expectations in their ability to work together. In addition, the majority of students (over 90%) met expectations or excelled at providing constructive feedback to their peers.

Written Communication: Data were collected from Final project papers in the 5 sections of LS401 Senior Capstone Project.  Each of the three instructors were asked to randomly select 1 A paper, 1 B paper, and 1 C paper from their sections.  This would allow us to assess work from our highest and lowest performing students.  The assessment committee used the attached rubric to assess how well students performed in four elements of written communication: scope, argument, reasoning and evidence, and mechanics. The results of the assessment indicated that most of our students are meeting expectations in all four areas, although 2 of the C papers were evaluated as below expectations by at least 2 reviewers in at least 2 of the four areas. 

3. What Was Learned

Teamwork and Communication: LS majors in all options do very well in terms of teamwork. However we did find that while most students meet expectations in terms of providing constructive feedback to one another on their research, there might be room to improve students’ abilities to provide high quality feedback to their peers. 

Written Communication: Based on our strategy of looking at A, B, and C students, we are confident that our higher performing students are meeting or exceeding expectations in written communication.  One problem area for our students does seem to be basic writing mechanics and making strong and clear arguments. And although most students met expectation in the area of providing evidence, few students excelled in this area.

4. How We Responded

Teamwork and Communication: Our assessment indicated that no changes are needed regarding learning outcome 2, but that it might be useful in any LS courses (LS101, LS301, LS topics courses, and LS401) to model examples of constructive feedback more often. 

Written Communication: Our assessment of written communication resulted in a productive discussion among the LS instructors.  All agreed that generally providing more opportunities to give students feedback on their projects throughout the semester and having higher expectations for their performance would help all students improve their written communication. 


Evaluation Rubrics



Meets Expectations

Below Expectations

Teamwork and collaboration (Group or class assessment):





Students provide accurate, constructive and specific feedback of the highest quality to one another

Students provide accurate, constructive and specific feedback to one another

Students are unable to provide effective feedback to one another


Student’s work well together, with all contributing to the success of the group

Student’s work well together, with almost everyone contributing to the success of the group

Students are unable to work together and unable to achieve the goals.





Written Communication




Scope given assignment

Scope shows a real appreciation for the content and coverage

Scope of assignment is appropriate in content and coverage

Scope is not sufficient to assignment.

Strong and clear argument made where appropriate

Arguments are well defined and complex.

Arguments are defendable and discernable

Arguments are not factual and overly simplistic


Evidence is relevant, logical, and appropriately cited. Evidence is provided from multiple sources appropriate to the assignment.

Evidence is relevant and for the most part logical.  There is minimal use of fallacious reasoning.

Little or irrelevant evidence provide and is only partially or minimally cited.  Reasoning is fallacious.

Strong mechanics (grammar, citation, followed directions, good revisions)

Mechanics are strong.

Mechanics are good and do not distract from the content.

Mechanics are problematic to the point of distracting from the content of the paper.