Assessing Student Learning in Scientific Inquiry Courses: Spring 2023 [BSCI]/[PSCI] Pilot Assessment Results

As reported in the Spring 2023 [BSCI]/[PSCI] Pilot Assessment Summary of Key Evidence for UCORE (PDF), pilot assessment results indicated that that 74% of students met or exceeded expectations on the designator learning outcomes associated with Scientific Literacy. Additionally, 67% of students met or exceeded expectations for Quantitative Reasoning, 66% for Critical Thinking, 75% for Information Literacy, 78% for Written Communication, and 74% for Breadth of Learning.

Inquiry in the Biological Sciences [BSCI] and Inquiry in the Physical Sciences [PSCI] are two of the Ways of Knowing designators for UCORE, WSU’s general education curriculum. [BSCI] and [PSCI] courses advance [BSCI] / [PSCI] designator student learning outcomes associated with six of the WSU Undergraduate Learning Goals (Scientific Literacy, Quantitative Reasoning, Critical Thinking, Information Literacy, Written Communication, and Breadth of Learning) by asking students to ask and answer questions about the biological or physical world in ways that value empirical observation as a key foundation for developing evidence-based theories.

In spring 2023, [BSCI] and [PSCI] course instructors were asked to complete pilot [BSCI]/[PSCI] Assessment Reports for UCORE, to help UCORE understand how well students (including students who do not complete majors that emphasize scientific inquiry) are achieving the [BSCI]/[PSCI] designator student learning outcomes and associated WSU Undergraduate Learning Goals. The report asked instructors to provide an assessment of student achievement of [BSCI]/[PSCI] designator learning outcomes (and associated WSU Undergraduate Learning Goals).

A total of 45 reports were submitted by 38 instructors, representing 62% of [BSCI] and [PSCI] classes and 71% of students enrolled in [BSCI] and [PSCI] courses in spring 2023. In 64% of reports, instructors indicated that the majority (>50%) of students in their course were non-STEM majors. (Approximately 48% of students enrolled in all [BSCI]/[PSCI] courses in spring 2023 were non-STEM majors, see the summary appendix for more information.)

For additional information, contact the Office of Assessment for Curricular Effectiveness.