Assessment Results

At Gustavus, we believe that the purpose of assessment is to improve student learning. As a college committed to offering "a liberal arts education of recognized excellence," we constantly ask if our methods and practices are effective and how we might make them more so. We encourage all community members to use assessment data as we pursue excellence in teaching and learning.

Recent Assessment Results:

First Term Seminar Peer Mentor, Academic Leader, and Teacher (Peer MALT) Pilot Results

An assessment of the Peer MALT model for First Term Seminars. In this model, peer mentors deliver the FTS advising curriculum one day per week and also enroll in a .5 credit course focused on teaching and mentoring activities. The full report is available here.

Significant Findings:

  • The Peer MALT was as effective at advising curriculum content delivery as FTS faculty.
  • FTS students reported strong rapport with the Peer MALT.
  • FTS students in the Peer MALT section required less faculty advising related to registration.
Study Away Programs Class of 2018 Grad Stats

Information about who studied away from the Class of 2018.The full report is available here.

Significant Findings:

  • 45% of graduates in the Class of 2018 studied away at least once.
  • 51.8% of women in the Class of 2018 studied away; 36.9% of men in the Class of 208 studied away.
  • 58.96% of students who studied away did so during January Term.
First Term Seminar/WRIT Assessment and Program Improvement (2017-2018)

In January 2018, WAC Director Becky Fremo and FTS Director Kate Knutson led a team of faculty in assessing FTS papers in order to learn how well students incorporated "other voices" into their arguments. The team also analyzed prompts in order to learn more about the kinds of tasks students perform in FTS.

Significant Findings:

  • A majority of students articulated a thesis, but many theses were either overly broad or were specific with insufficient support.
  • A majority of students brought in "other voices" to support their arguments.
  • A majority of students wrote well-organized papers with sentence-level clarity, but many paper lacked individual voice and deep engagement with "other voices."
  • There is little uniformity among the final writing tasks in FTS sections, although most faculty do scaffold their assignments.

An executive summary including key findings and recommendations from WAC Director Becky Fremo is available here

Responding to Findings:

  • In Summer 2018, a group of faculty worked with WAC Director Becky Fremo and Writing Center Director Eric Vrooman to
    • Revise the FTS writing outcomes;
    • Create a series of scaffolded, model assignments focused on teaching rhetorical situation and argument (available at FTS Teaching Commons)
  • Faculty participants in the Summer 2018 working group will pilot the Writing Commons assignments in their FTS courses. Results of those pilots will be assessed in January 2019.
WRIT Faculty Survey (2018)

In Spring 2018, WRIT faculty completed a survey regarding student preparation for writing tasks after the First Term Seminar. 

Significant Findings:

  • A majority of faculty indicate that students are at least "somewhat prepared" for post-FTS writing tasks.
  • Faculty indicate that students need to strengthen skills related to argumentation.

An executive summary including key findings and recommendations from WAC Director Becky Fremo is available here..

Ethical Reflection (2016-2017)

Gustavus Adolphus College commits "our time and resources to helping students attain their full potential as persons, developing in them a capacity and passion for lifelong learning, ethical reflection, civic engagement, and global concern that prepares them for lives of leadership and service while maintaining their personal wellbeing" (Institutional Student Learning Outcomes). To assesess Ethical Reflection the College implemented the Defining Issues Test (DIT-2), a nationally-recognized quantitative instrument used at many other colleges and universities. The College also conducted focus groups with upper-class students to collect qualitative data on ethical reflection.

Significant Findings:
  • Gustavus students fit within national norms on ethical reflection, both during first and senior year.
  • Focus group data suggest that both curricular and co-curricular experiences contribute to ethical reflection.
  • Students recommend additional training opportunities regarding how to initiate and participate in respectful dialogue with those who might hold different perspectives from their own.

A detailed analysis of the data is available here.