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; revision approved 5/7/14; revision approved 1/29/15]
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 literary traditions pre- and post-1800, including prominent authors, genres, literary movements, and styles.
- Analyze underrepresented experiences and cultural diversity, including issues of race, gender, class, sexuality, and ethnicity, through the study of ethnic minority or non-Western texts.
- 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 2015-16
In 2015-2016, the English Department assessed Outcome # 1: “Generate a close reading of a text: Recognize, understand, and explain a text's elements—for example, word choice, imagery, form, and connotations,” and Outcome # 8: “Participate in discussions by listening to others’ perspectives, asking productive questions, and articulating original ideas.” For Outcome 1, 93% of the total number of assessed students met minimum expectations. 28% met exemplary expectations. For Outcome #8, 92% of the total number of assessed students met minimum expectations. 85% met advanced expectations. 48% met exemplary expectations. Faculty who participated in the assessment process for Outcome #1 crafted assignments that assessed students’ close reading skills in Engl 310, the introductory course for the major, and at the 600 level in a course on 19th century American Literature. For Outcome 8, faculty experimented with different techniques for assessing student discussion and listening skills, including group oral and written projects, pair/large group assignments, and online message boards. While faculty identify strategies for improving their assignments and enhancing student learning, they generally do not feel that the outcomes need to be changed. The revised exit survey, including questions specifically aligned with department outcomes, was administered for the first time in Spring 2016. For 2016-2017, the Department will conclude its three-year assessment of Outcome # 8: (“Participate in discussions by listening to others' perspectives, asking productive questions, and articulating original ideas”) and continue for a second year with assessment of Outcome # 1: “Generate a close reading of a text: recognize, understand, and explain a text's elements—for example, word choice, imagery, form, and connotations.”