Assessing Student Learning in [CAPS] Courses: 2015 UCORE Capstone [CAPS] Course Assessment Pilot Results

As reported in the 2015 [CAPS] Course Assessment Reporting Summary of Key Evidence for UCORE (PDF), pilot assessment results indicated that 79% of students met or exceeded expectations at the graduating undergraduate level for Critical & Creative Thinking, 79% for Communication, 81% for Information Literacy, and 81% for Depth, Breadth & Integration of Learning.

The UCORE Committee piloted the UCORE Capstone [CAPS] Course Assessment Report for spring 2015 and fall 2015 to gauge student learning on WSU’s Undergraduate Learning Goals at the near-graduation level. Established as part of WSU’s general education curriculum (UCORE) beginning in 2012, [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. “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 [CAPS] courses are designed for particular majors, these senior projects offer rich opportunities for useful assessment for both general education and undergraduate degrees.”

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. A total of 79 reports were submitted, which represented 2,877 undergraduate students. [CAPS] instructors estimated that 53% of students were taking a course in their major. Instructors were also asked to what extent students were prepared by their previous courses for the [CAPS] course. Overall, 68% of reports indicated that most students were prepared for the four learning goals.

“The Provost and the UCORE Committee join me in thanking the instructors who participated in the first assessment of capstones in our new general education curriculum. We greatly appreciate your efforts to offer quality senior experiences and to help gather outcomes data, which are of great interest to the WSU community as well as university accreditors,” said Vice Provost Wack.

For additional information, see UCORE Capstone [CAPS] Course Assessment or contact the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning.