Sam Houston State University Core Curriculum Assessment


Sam Houston State University's Core Curriculum Assessment Plan has been approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and went into effect Fall 2014.  The plan outlines a variety of different assessment projects that will be utilized by SHSU to evaluate student attainment of the THECB's six Core Objectives.  It should be noted that this plan is a living document.  The measures and timeline outlined within it are subject to change and modification by the University as necessary.

SHSU is committed to providing a quality core curriculum that ensures that our students are gaining a foundation of knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world, developing principles of personal and social responsibility for living in a diverse world, and mastering advance intellectual and practical skills that are essential for all learning.  To ensure that our students are gaining this vital, and necessary, knowledge, our institution has designed and implemented a core curriculum from which our students gain a knowledge of six specific core learning objectives:

  • Critical Thinking Skills - to include creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information
  • Communication Skills - to include effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral and visual communication
  • Empirical and Quantitative Skills - to include the manipulation and analysis of numerical data or observable facts resulting in informed conclusions
  • Teamwork - to include the ability to consider different points of view and to work effectively with others to support a shared purpose or goal
  • Personal Responsibility - to include the ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to ethical decision-making
  • Social Responsibility: to include intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities.

Core Curriculum Assessment Projects


Assessment of Written Communication (AWC)

Each academic year approximately 500 student writing artifacts are collected and assessed using a locally-developed writing rubric.  Approximately 450 artifacts in each evaluation cycle are selected from upper division courses (3000- and 4000-level), with approximately 50 selected from lower division courses (1000-level) for baseline comparison purposes.  Over a three-year period (see the table below), each academic college at SHSU will participate in the AWC and submit artifacts for scoring. 

College

2014-2015

2015-2016

2016-2017

2017-2018

2018-2019

2019-2020

College of Business Administration

 

AWC

 

 

AWC

 

College of Criminal Justice

 

AWC

 

 

AWC

 

College of Education

AWC

 

 

AWC

 

 

College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication

 

 

AWC

 

 

AWC

College of Health Sciences

 

 

AWC

 

 

AWC

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

 

 

AWC

 

 

AWC

College of Sciences

AWC

 

 

AWC

 

 

English Course-Level Assessment

Each spring semester writing samples form freshman, sophomore, and senior English writing enhanced courses are collected, reviewed, and evaluated against a common, internally developed rubric by the faculty within the Department of English.  In addition to being used by the faculty within the Department of English as part of their on-going programmatic assessment, these data will be utilized by the members of the core curriculum committee to help evaluate student written communication.

Critical Thinking Assessment (CAT) Test

The CAT is a nationally normed, short-answer essay test designed to assess critical thinking and problem solving skills.  The CAT was developed at Tennessee Tech University, with support of the National Science Foundation.  The CAT is administered each academic year to approximately 500 students in upper division courses (3000- and 4000-level).  Over a three-year period (see the table below), each academic college at SHSU will participate in the CAT and submit tests for scoring.  For more information on the CAT please visit their homepage.

College

2015-2016

2016-2017

2017-2018

2018-2019

2019-2020

2020-2021

College of Business Administration

 

CAT

 

 

CAT

 

College of Criminal Justice

 

 

CAT

 

 

CAT

College of Education

 

CAT

 

 

CAT

 

College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication

 

 

CAT

 

 

CAT

College of Health Sciences

 

 

CAT

 

 

CAT

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

CAT

 

 

CAT

 

 

College of Sciences

CAT

 

 

CAT

 

 

Texas Assessment of Critical Thinking Skills (TACTS)

The TACTS is a locally-developed, proprietary instrument designed to measure critical thinking, empirical, and quantitative skills. This 45 minute, multiple choice exam is administered within PHIL 2303: Critical Thinking.  The exam is administered both fall and spring, in a pre-post fashion.  In addition to being used by the faculty within the Philosophy Program as part of their on-going programmatic assessment, these data will be utilized by the members of the core curriculum committee to help evaluate student critical thinking and quantitative reasoning. 

Course-Embedded American Government Assessment

Each fall semester, a locally developed pre-to-post test is administered in all sections of POLS 2305: American Government.  In addition to being used by the faculty within the Political Science department as part of their on-going programmatic assessment, these data will be utilized by the members of the core curriculum committee to help evaluation social responsibility.

Course-Embedded Texas Government Assessment

Each spring semester, a locally developed pre-to-post test is administered in all sections of POLS 2306: Texas Government.  In addition to being used by the faculty within the Political Science department as part of their on-going programmatic assessment, these data will be utilized by the members of the core curriculum committee to help evaluation social responsibility.

National Survey of Student Engagement

The NSSE is a student perceptions survey designed to assess student and institution behaviors related to good practices in undergraduate education. Through self-selected peer group and student population cohorts, institutions are able to compare student responses on individual questions or on the five NSSE Benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice on a national scale.  The NSSE will be administered to SHSU freshmen and seniors every other academic year, with the most recent administration taking place in Spring 2016.  For more information on the NSSE please visit their homepage.