As reported in the AY 2018-19 [ROOT] Final Papers Assessment Summary of Key Evidence for UCORE, assessment results indicated that, on average, 67% of first-year students met or exceeded expectations at the first-year undergraduate level at the end of their UCORE first-year experience [ROOT] course on rubric outcomes related to Information Literacy. Additionally, on average, 66% met or exceeded expectations for outcomes related to Depth, Breadth, & Integration of Learning

Roots of Contemporary Issues [ROOT] courses are foundational first-year experience courses for UCORE. The courses introduce students to five of WSU’s Seven Learning Goals of the Undergraduate Education (Critical & Creative Thinking, Information Literacy, Communication, Diversity, and Depth, Breadth & Integration of Learning) by asking students to explore and understand the historical and global roots of various issues facing the world today.

The Roots of Contemporary Issues Final Papers Assessment Project is intended to provide [ROOT] faculty with information for program improvement, as well as gauge student learning on WSU’s Learning Goals at the first-year level. Each academic year since AY 2012-13, [ROOT] faculty have evaluated a random sample of students’ papers from all campuses using a faculty-developed rubric. [ROOT] Assessment includes the Final Papers Assessment Project (aligned with WSU’s Critical & Creative Thinking, Information Literacy, Communication, and Depth, Breadth, & Integration of Learning goals) and the Diversity Assessment Project (aligned with WSU’s Diversity and Communication goals), conducted biennially in alternating years starting in AY 2016-17. 

The AY 2018-19 Final Papers Assessment Project focused on assessing WSU’s Information Literacy and Depth, Breadth, & Integration of Learning goals. In AY 2018-19, the rubric asked whether in these final papers students demonstrated the following skills:


  • selecting sources appropriate to a research paper
  • using sources in a way that suggests they understood the relationship between the nature of the source and the kinds of conclusions they could draw from it
  • using a citation system that suggests they accurately referenced their evidence


  • providing evidence beyond own contemporary or cultural context
  • situating an issue, problem, or debate in relevant and accurate historical context
  • identifying or reflecting on significance of conclusions

For additional information, see Roots of Contemporary Issues [ROOT] Assessment or contact the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning.