Sam Houston State University Core Curriculum Assessment
Sam Houston State University's Core Curriculum Assessment Plan was 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. These artifacts are selected from upper division courses (3000- and 4000-level) from all departments with undergraduate programs within each college. 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 of Arts and Media||AWC||AWC|
|College of Business Administration||AWC||AWC|
|College of Criminal Justice||AWC||AWC|
|College of Education||AWC||AWC|
|College of Health Sciences||AWC||AWC|
|College of Humanities and Social Sciences||AWC||AWC|
|College of Science and Engineering Technology||AWC||AWC|
Critical Thinking Assessment Test (CAT)
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 of Arts and Media||CAT||CAT|
|College of Business Administration||CAT||CAT|
|College of Criminal Justice||CAT||CAT|
|College of Education||CAT||CAT|
|College of Health Sciences||CAT||CAT|
|College of Humanities and Social Sciences||CAT||CAT|
|College of Science and Engineering Technology||CAT||CAT|
Teamwork Self-Reflection Instrument (TSRI)
The TSRI is a locally-developed instrument used to assess students' self-perceived actions and behaviors in a team setting. It is used to satisfy general education requirements, and could also provide valuable programmatic assessment data for various constituents. The TSRI 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 TSRI.
|College of Arts and Media||TSRI||TSRI|
|College of Business Administration||TSRI||TSRI|
|College of Criminal Justice||TSRI||TSRI|
|College of Education||TSRI||TSRI|
|College of Health Sciences||TSRI||TSRI|
|College of Humanities and Social Sciences||TSRI||TSRI|
|College of Science and Engineering Technology||TSRI||TSRI|
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 evaluate 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 evaluate social responsibility.
Course-Embedded Contemporary Moral Issues Assessment
Each fall and spring semester, a locally developed pre- to post-test is administered within sections of PHIL 2306: Contemporary Moral Issues. The instrument consists of 25 multiple-choice questions and is administered to students enrolled in those courses at the start and end of each semester. As the instrument was developed by Philosophy faculty with expertise in teaching and assessing these concepts, it is assumed that the instrument has content-related validity (Banta & Palomba, 2015). Additionally, as this test was embedded within normal sections of PHIL 2306, the student scores represent authentic student work (Banta & Polomba, 2015; Kuh et al., 2015). Student pre-to-post test scores will be analyzed using a dependent samples t-test to determine whether students are making significant learning gains.
National Survey of Student Engagement 2019 Topical Modules
As part of the 2019 NSSE administration, first-year and senior students participated in two Topical Modules: Civic Engagement Topical Module and Inclusiveness and Engagement with Diversity Topical Module. The Civic Engagement module was adapted from a pilot survey developed by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and asks students to assess their conflict resolution skills and examine how often they have engaged with local, campus, and state/national/global issues. The module complements questions from the main NSSE Survey about service-learning, community service, volunteer work, and becoming an informed and active citizen. The Inclusiveness and Engagement with Diversity module examines environments, processes, and activities that reflect the engagement and validation of cultural diversity and promotes greater understanding of societal differences. The questions explore students' exposure to inclusive teaching practices and intercultural learning, perceptions of institutional values and commitment regarding diversity, and participation in diversity-related programming and coursework. SHSU student responses will be compared to that of an identified comparison group.
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 third academic year, with the most recent administration taking place in Spring 2019. For more information on the NSSE please visit their homepage.