MAJOR: BA - English Section One: Describe all department activities with respect to improving student learning in the major. This may include new faculty hires, course revisions, assignment creation, rubric revisions, goal evaluations, etc.
Activity Statement: This year was a busy one for the English department. We focused on evaluating and revising our placement procedures for freshman English courses.
During the 08/09 academic year, the English dept. accomplished the following:
Housed the English Language and American Culture (ELAC) in the English Department to improve writing instruction for international students
Hired both a new ELAC director (Dr. Gene Crutsinger, Fall 2008) and a new ESL instructor (Mrs. Sally Kloepfer, Fall 2009)
Restructured ENG 140 as a 15-week rather than a 10-week course to improve student learning and retention
Began revising our placement procedures for incoming freshmen to improve student learning and retention; planned diagnostic essays for the first day of all sections of ENG 140 and 141 in order to identify students who may have been placed in the wrong course
Revised Minimum Course Content Guides for ENG 141 to improve grammar coverage and to shift focus from strategy (rhetorical modes) to central critical thinking and writing skills
Revised Minimum Course Content Guide for ENG 142 to clarify coverage of literary theory
Awarded the first annual English Department Essay Prizes to students who wrote the best essays in upper-level courses (Kimberly Prenzlin and Jaime Rhoades)
Focused Outcomes Assessment on Senior Seminar students
Began an Assessment initiative involving the “Literature in English” Major Field Exam (ETS); four students (one English and three English Education majors) took the exam this spring
Conducted four Senior Seminars
Offered summer electives in both the undergrad and grad programs
Section Two: Describe which program goal(s) in the Major Program Plan was assessed during the academic year.
Intended Outcome #1: Students will demonstrate familiarity with the literary canon by scoring at the national average or better on the Major Field Exam in Literature in English (ETS)
Literary Canon: Students will demonstrate familiarity with and knowledge of the literary canon.
Assessment Criteria: Because the English Department recently revised the English and English Education curriculum, our assessment criterion in this area is modest. Our goal is for 75% of Majors to achieve scores of at least the national average or better on the Major Field Exam in Literature in English (ETS). Note that this criterion will be revised once it has been met for three years in a row (see analysis).
Results of Outcomes Activity:
1 out of 4 students met the goal.
4 Students took the exam. Scores were 123, 141, 143, and 163. Mean score was 142.5. The mean score for all students who took the exam between August 2005 and June 2008 was 155.2.
Intended Outcome #2: In addition to the literary theory discussed when analyzing the literary canon, students will learn the basics of critical theory. Students will develop and demonstrate competency in literary analysis.
Literary Theory: Students will understand and apply critical theory. In addition to the literary theory discussed when analyzing the literary canon, students will learn the basics of critical theory through ENG 142 (Introduction to Literature and Criticism), further their knowledge in ENG 462 (Literary Theory), and apply those skills in a range of assignments in upper-division literature courses. Majors are expected to achieve 80% or better in the application of critical theory in written work according to the departmentally developed grading rubric.
Assessment Criteria: 80% Majors are expected to achieve 80% or better in the application of critical theory in written work according to the departmentally developed grading rubrics in literature courses.
Results of Outcomes Activity:
82.6% of assignments (19 out of 23) by English and English Education majors received scores of 3 (80%) or higher on the Literary Theory component of the literature rubric.
Note that a number of students in ENG 291 received a score of N/A because the paper assignment did not require students to employ the vocabulary of theory.
7 English majors; 1 score of 3 (paper grade 93%); 1 score of 1 (paper grade 70%); 5 N/A
5 English majors; 4 scores of 4 (paper grades 87%, 94%, 98%, and 100%); 1 score of 3 (paper grade 79%)
1 English major; score of 4 (paper grade 90%)
5 English majors; 2 scores of 4 (paper grades 86.5% and 100%);
2 scores of 3 (paper grades 74.5% and 85.5%); 1 score of 2.5 (paper grade 77%)
1 English major; score of 3 (paper grade 88%)
2 English majors; 1 score of 4 (paper grade 100%); 1 score of 3 (paper grade 80%)
3 English majors; 1 score of 3.4 (paper grade 90%); 2 scores of 2.5 (paper grades 80% and 70%)
2 English majors; 1 score of 4 (paper grade 84%); 1 score of 1 (paper grade 50%)
Intended Outcome #4: Senior Seminar
Assessment Criteria: 90% of majors are expected to achieve a score of 90% on their senior seminars for written interpretation and research for the final project in ENG 499.
Results of Outcomes Activity:
3 students achieved A grades 1 student was awarded an Incomplete.
100% of majors who have completed their senior seminar projects have achieved scores of 90% or above.
Section Three: Describe analysis of assessment data and action plans for upcoming academic year.
Analysis and Action Plans: Literary Canon:
One English and three English Education majors took the ETS Major Field Exam, Literature in English, at the end of the Spring 2009 term. Only one student (the English major) scored above the mean score (+3.9%) for students who took the test between August 2005 and June 2008, and three students (English Education majors) scored below that mean (-6.1%, -7.1%, -16.1%). While this result is disappointing, it is not surprising. Three of the four students began work on their degrees before a number of major changes were made to the English and English Education curriculum, the most important of which was the requirement that English and English Education majors complete all four of our survey courses (ENG 291 Brit Lit I, ENG 292 Brit Lit II, ENG 293 American Lit I, and ENG 294 American Lit II). Three of the four students who took the test this year were “grandfathered” under the old curriculum and were only required to take two of our survey courses. Significantly, the student who scored the highest was the student who completed the new curriculum. The department anticipated that the old curriculum would not prepare students very well for the Major Field Exam, and this appears to be the case. Nevertheless, we agreed to begin collecting data from the exam this year in order to track scores over the next several years as a way of evaluating the effectiveness of the new curriculum. Our modest goal at this point is for 75% of our English and English Education majors to achieve scores that match or exceed the national average. Once we have achieved that goal for three years, we will raise our target criterion.
The department is pleased overall with the results achieved by English and English Education majors in the area of Literary Theory, and now that we have met our targets for three years, we will raise the bar for AY 09/10. Our new goal will be for 85% of the majors to achieve scores of 80% or better in the application of critical theory. It should be noted that we did not consistently require part-time faculty to submit data this year, so we did not get scores from all freshman English majors who took ENG 142. We did get some data on freshmen, however, because two of the first-year English majors took ENG 290 (Honors Literature) in place of ENG 142. During the 2009-2010 school year, all adjuncts teaching ENG 142 will be asked to meet with the Humanities Program Chair to discuss the Literature Rubric and the data that they will be required to submit. In addition, the department has decided to begin tracking literary theory scores by student name in order to identify larger trends related to individual students’ overall academic success and improvement.
Three out of four students who took Senior Seminar this year were the first students at TU to face a special challenge, which was to take the course during the same semester in which they did their Student Teaching (EDA 450). As a result, their schedules were quite busy, and it was not feasible for them to meet together on a regular basis to discuss their Senior Seminar work (pursuant to the 07/08 plan). In addition, faculty in both the English and the Education departments (Lourdes College) were concerned about the workloads of the English Education students, so it was decided that instead of requiring these students to write the lengthy research papers typical in Senior Seminars, faculty would work with students to develop projects and activities that would complement and supplement the work that they were doing in their classrooms. One student was teaching a College Composition Preparatory course for EDA 450, and he read through most of Donovan and McClelland’s Eight Approaches to Teaching Composition (NCTE), wrote response papers to several chapters, and completed half of the ENG 262 (Editing) syllabus from Fall 2007 (the last time the course was taught). Similarly, a second English Education student worked on editing issues with his supervising professor and brought papers from his class to that professor to discuss and critique. The third English Education student wrote a research paper on satire in preparation for a unit in her classroom and submitted lesson plans on satire, grammar, and poetry to her supervising professor. All three students received grades of A for their work. One student did, however, express a concern about workload equity, so the department will work on developing minimum standards for English Education students taking Senior Seminar during the 09/10 academic year. In addition, when there is more than one English major taking Senior Seminar in a given semester, students will be asked to meet with each other and with all supervising professors on a regular basis to share resources and ideas and to discuss their progress (per the 07/08 plan).