Each department at YSU collects information about the success of its students and the effectiveness of its classes. This process is known as “assessment.” The purpose of this page is to outline our assessment procedures.
Assessment begins with defining end points. Where do we want our students to be at the end of their time with us? The mission of the English department is to provide students with engaging, challenging opportunities to develop their abilities as readers, writers, speakers, and critical thinkers and their understanding of literature and language. The English department has expressed its mission in four goals. By completing the program, students will develop the following abilities:
- Deploy varied strategies for engaging with literature on the levels of words, appropriate parts of texts, whole texts, contexts, and criticism.
- Situate texts in the appropriate literary, historical, and cultural contexts.
- Analyze how the production and reception of language and literature are influenced by differences of form, culture, and identity.
- Effectively present and discuss ideas about literature and language in a manner that is appropriate for the situation.
What do students do in the assessment process?
As students move through their English major, the department will ask them to share their perspectives and their work. Specifically, students will complete two online surveys and develop a portfolio of their writing.
The surveys are available online:
The portfolio will not only help the department evaluate the effectiveness of its work, it will also give students the opportunity to trace their progress through the major and produce a collection of some of their best work, which can be used in applications for jobs and/or to graduate school.
Over the course of the 2009-10 school year, the department will develop an online tool for creating and storing students’ portfolios, but this year we are asking students in English 3700 to begin creating a portfolio simply by saving and turning in copies of two assignments from the course: a personal essay and the final paper.
As students continue in the major, they will add a paper from one of their courses to the portfolio, along with some notes about why they chose that paper and what it shows about their learning.
Finally, as students near the end of their undergraduate experience, they will complete the second online survey and add to their portfolio a paper from English 4890, Senior Seminar. They will also submit an essay reflecting on their experiences in the program.
What will faculty do in the assessment process?
The Program Assessment Committee will review the anonymous survey data, and at least one faculty member other than the instructor will read and respond to student essays and portfolios. In reviewing student work, Committee members will look for patterns that reflect the strengths and weaknesses of our program. Individual students will not be identified when reporting assessment data. Furthermore, the purpose of the assessment is not to assess individual faculty members’ performances, but rather the focus is on the whole program and aggregate student achievement within it.
The Program Assessment Committee will report to the department as a whole, including students. After the department approves the committee’s report, it will be sent to the university. Ultimately, the report will be posted on this webpage, as well.
What will the university do with the assessment reports?
YSU is obligated to report the effectiveness of its programs to governmental and non-governmental bodies. A university committee receives departmental reports from across campus and looks for patterns in the data that show areas of strengths and weakness. The committee also reports the data to the public at large through its website.
For more information
English Department Assessment Plan
YSU Office of Assessment