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 2013-2014
In 2013-2014, the English Department assessed Outcome # 6: “Demonstrate integrative and independent thinking, originality, imagination, experimentation, problem solving, or risk taking in thought, expression, or intellectual engagement,” and Outcome # 7: “Tailor writing for various audiences and purposes.” For Outcome 6, 95% of the total number of assessed students met minimum expectations. 76% met advanced expectations. 30 % met exemplary expectations. For Outcome #7, 87% of the total number of assessed students met minimum expectations. 72% met advanced expectations. 29% met exemplary expectations. Faculty who participated in the assessment process during 2013-14 for Outcome 6 noted that students need more exercises in class or more scaffolding leading up to major assignments, but they welcomed opportunities to help students think in innovative and imaginative ways about their assignments. For Outcome 7, faculty identified assignments that required students to consider real-world audiences other than the instructor. While students at times struggled to identify what these public or specialized audiences might know and need to understand, instructors found the process of teaching students to write for specific audiences valuable and worthwhile. The English Department faculty will consider revising Outcome # 7 to include specific reference to real-world learning: “Tailor writing for various audience and purposes, including writing that addresses real, responsive audiences beyond the professor.” The senior exit survey is undergoing revision in 2014-15. Additionally, for 2014-2015, the Department will complete its assessment of Outcome # 6 and commence assessment (for a three year term) of Outcome # 8: (“Participate in discussions by listening to others' perspectives, asking productive questions, and articulating original ideas”).