Assessing Student Learning at the Senior-level: Spring 2016 CAPS Course Assessment Reports (UCORE)

How are students doing on WSU’s Undergraduate Learning Goals? Are UCORE Capstone (CAPS) courses providing students an opportunity to integrate and apply what they have learned throughout the curriculum, bringing closure to their undergraduate experience? To answer these and other questions, UCORE CAPS Instructors completed UCORE CAPS Course Assessment Reports to gauge student learning at the near-graduation level. 

First piloted in 2015, the UCORE CAPS Course Assessment Reports are intended to gauge student learning on WSU’s Undergraduate Learning Goals at the near-graduation level. UCORE CAPS courses must be at the 400-level and require students to demonstrate at least four of the seven university learning goals: Critical & Creative Thinking, Communication, Information Literacy, and Depth, Breadth & Integration of Learning (with additional learning goals included as appropriate to the discipline). “As the culminating academic experience, CAPS courses provide the opportunity to assess student achievement near the end of their studies,” explains Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Mary Wack. “In addition, since many of the UCORE CAPS courses are designed for particular majors, these senior projects offer rich opportunities for useful assessment for both general education and undergraduate degrees.”

A total of 69 reports were submitted for Spring 2016, which represented an estimated 78% of undergraduate students enrolled in CAPS courses. Instructors indicated that 68% of the courses were comprised primarily of seniors (>90% seniors).

Instructors rated students on their ability in the four learning goals required in each CAPS course, with ratings based on students’ holistic performance in the course. As reported in the Spring 2016 Executive Summary, results indicated that in courses with primarily seniors, 83% of students met or exceeded expectations at the graduating undergraduate level for Critical & Creative Thinking, 88% for Information Literacy, 82% for Communication, and 83% for Depth, Breadth & Integration of Learning. (See the Spring 2016 Executive Summary for results of all CAPS students.)

Instructors were also asked to what extent students were prepared by their previous courses for the CAPS course. In courses with primarily seniors, instructors indicated that 56% of students were well prepared for Critical and Creative Thinking, 62% for Information Literacy, 60% for Written Communication, 58% for Oral Communication, and 55% for Depth, Breadth & Integration of Learning.

For additional information, see the UCORE Assessment Website or contact the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning.