Student Learning Outcomes for English Majors in the Bachelor of Arts Program at Kansas State University
[Approved 9/24/03, revision approved 12/08; revision approved 11/16/11]
The English Department at Kansas State University is an academic community of professors and students who are committed to creative and analytical work in English, and dedicated to the primary goals of a liberal education: the ability to reason well, to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to appreciate excellent writing and thinking.
Upon completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree, English majors should be able to do the following:
- Generate a close reading of a text: recognize, understand, and explain a text's elements—for example, word choice, imagery, form, and connotations.
- Draw on relevant cultural and historical information to analyze and interpret a literary text.
- Demonstrate familiarity with British/American literary traditions, including prominent authors, genres, literary movements, and styles, as well as the historical and cultural contexts important to those traditions.
- Interpret texts from diverse literary traditions such as those distinguished by race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, ideology, religion, or region, with reference to their specific literary, historical, and cultural contexts.
- Research and write focused, convincing analytical essays in clear, grammatical prose.
- Demonstrate integrative and independent thinking, originality, imagination, experimentation, problem solving, or risk taking in thought, expression, or intellectual engagement.
- Tailor writing for various audiences and purposes.
- Participate in discussions by listening to others' perspectives, asking productive questions, and articulating original ideas.
Assessment for Academic Year 2011-2012
In 2011-2012, the English Department revised and approved its list of outcomes. In addition to editing the outcomes to eliminate redundancy, faculty approved the following new outcome: "Demonstrate integrative and independent thinking, originality, imagination, experimentation, problem solving, or risk taking in thought, expression, or intellectual engagement." The Department has also inaugurated a new capstone course that will be required for all English majors entering the University as of Fall 2011. During this assessment period, faculty assessed two specific outcomes: "Research and write focused, convincing analytical essays in clear, grammatical prose"; and "Tailor writing for various audiences and purposes." Assessment results suggest that students who are attentive in class and pursue opportunities for conferencing and revision will excel in these areas. For Outcome 5, "Research and write focused, convincing analytical essays in clear, grammatical prose," 35% of the students assessed performed at an exemplary level; 49% performed at an advanced level; only 14% performed at the minimum level or below. For Outcome #7, "Writing with a sense of audience/purpose," 35% of the students assessed performed at an exemplary level; 42% performed at an advanced level; 22% performed at the minimum level or below. Several of the faculty involved with assessment, particularly of the outcome regarding audience and purpose, were pleased that their assignments for this outcome "ask [students] to think about their own future careers, connecting the work they do inside of the classroom quite explicitly with the work they will do after graduation."