Learning Outcomes Assessment

Expected Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the Ph.D. Program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, students will be able to:

1. demonstrate broad knowledge of applied linguistics as related to Second Language (L2) teaching and learning.
2. think critically and independently about topics in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching in all areas of SLAT which are: Sociocultural Dimensions of L2 learning (L2 use), Linguistic Dimensions of L2 learning (L2 analysis), Cognitive Dimensions of L2 learning (L2 processes), and Instructional Dimensions of L2 learning (L2 pedagogy and program administration).
3. define and design a research area and plan.
4. conduct independent research using all acceptable and ethical considerations including adherence to all human subjects regulations.
5. communicate research findings orally and in writing.

Assessment Activities
Assessment Activities were developed by the SLAT Director and Staff, with approval by the Executive Council.  SLAT requires that students complete a first year qualifying exam, comprehensive examinations, Dissertation Proposal, and a defense of their Ph.D. dissertation.  Assessment data will be collected as outlined in the matrix below:

Assessment ActivitiesOutcome 1:  Knowledge of Applied LinguisticsOutcome 2:  Think critically and independentlyOutcome 3: Define and design a Research PlanOutcome 4:  Conduct independent researchOutcome 5: Communicate research findings
First Year Qualifying ExamXX
Written and Oral Comps ExamXXX
Dissertation Proposal Presentation and DefenseXXXXX
Written Dissertation and Oral DefenseXXXXX
Assessment Findings
While we do not yet have enough data, we have completed the following matrix to assess the data obtained in the rubrics, and we have collected data for 3 academic years:  2015-2016 cycle, 2016-2017 cycle, and 2017-2018 cycle

Faculty were asked a series of questions at each milestone:  Qualifying Review, Comprehensive Exams, Proposal Defense, and Ph.D. Defense.  The students were asked to complete an exit survey at the completion of their degree.  The participants gave a score of 1 to 5 based on the following criteria:

1-Needs improvement
2-Developing
3-Progressing
4-Achieving
5-Excellent

Assessment Data

Outcome measuredName of AssessmentQuestions from RubricsNAverage score for 2015-2016NAverage score for 2016-2017NAverage score for 2017-2018NAverage score for 2018-2019
1. Knowledge of Applied LinguisticsFirst Year Qualifying Review#1173.76104.3594.6784
Written/Oral Comps#1254.64354.36554.51334.52
#2254.76364.40554.53334.42
#3264.54354.38554.58334.52
Dissertation Proposal Presentation/Defense#1284.79264.27384.32404.55
#2284.71264.31384.29404.5
Written Dissertation/Oral Defense#2344.47334.55174.59344.26
#7354.49334.67174.35344.38
SLAT Student Exit Survey#1114.55124.67114.36124.83
2. Think critically and independentlyWritten/Oral Comps#4264.58364.31554.51334.48
#5264.58364.38554.47334.33
#6264.54364.08554.29334.21
Dissertation Proposal Presentation/Defense#2284.71264.31384.29404.5
#3284.57263.96384.00404.3
#4284.71264.38374.43404.4
#5284.79264.35384.45404.68
Written Dissertation/Oral Defense#2344.47334.55174.59344.26
#3354.57334.58174.41344.5
#4354.42334.39174.24344.24
#5354.31334.42174.29344.12
#7354.89334.67174.35344.38
SLAT Student Exit Survey#2114.82124.83114.27125
3. Define and design a Research PlanDissertation Proposal Presentation/Defense#3284.57263.96384.00404.3
#5284.79264.35384.45404.68
Written Dissertation/Oral Defense#3354.57334.58174.41344.5
#5354.31334.42174.29344.12
#6354.54334.45174.24344.32
SLAT Student Exit Survey#3114.64124.58114.094.92
4. Conduct independent researchDissertation Proposal Presentation/Defense#5284.79264.35384.45404.68
Written Dissertation/Oral Defense#4354.43334.39174.24344.24
#6354.54334.45174.24344.32
SLAT Student Exit Survey#4114.82124.50114.20125
5. Communicate Research FindingsFirst Year Qualifying Review#2174.59104.4094.4484
#3174.41104.3094.4484
Written/Oral Comps#4264.58364.31554.51334.48
#5264.58364.38554.47334.33
#6264.54364.08554.29334.21
Dissertation Proposal Presentation/Defense#1284.79264.27384.32404.55
#2284.71264.31384.29404.5
#4284.71264.38374.43404.4
#5284.79264.35384.45404.68
Written Dissertation/Oral Defense#1354.23334.33174.12344.32
#2344.47334.55174.59344.26
#7354.49334.67174.35344.38
SLAT Student Exit Survey#5114.82124.75114.45125

Changes in Response to Findings

Our first year of assessment data collection took place during the 2015-2016 academic year.  At the end of that cycle, it was determined that our results were too preliminary, and that It would require at least 5 years of data collection to adequately determine what changes are required in response to our findings.  Now, at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year, we have completed a full four years of data collection and can begin to see some trends.  We also can see some areas where we may want to pinpoint specific questions or fine-tune our data collection methods.  

After the first year of collecting data, during the October 2016 Executive Council Meeting, the SLAT Executive Council made the following observations:

1.       They saw nothing in the data that was worrisome at that point in time.

2.       They saw increases in the knowledge of applied linguistics as they progress through the program.  This observation is expected and desired.

3.       They saw a dip in all expected outcomes following the comprehensive exams, trending downward to the defense stage.  We find this very interesting and suspect that the students peak during their comprehensive exams as they have the most breadth of knowledge at this point in their Ph.D. program.  Alternatively, the expectations rise as the student progresses through the program.  Another possibility is that our dissertations in the academic year 2015-2016 are not up to the standards that we would like.  We ask what might cause these dissertations to receive lower ratings.  One potential explanation might be that in previous years SLAT admitted a high number of students whose writing abilities were not accurately assessed. Another potential explanation might be that the admitted applicants who actually matriculated were not the top tier students. With the 2016-2017 admission cycle, we chose not to admit students who were self-funded, whose GRE Analytical writing score fell below a 4.0, and committed SLAT to admitting 10 students or fewer.

Although this data was preliminary, SLAT implemented changes to its student support model based on these and other indicators. The program increased the number of workshops it held for students to guide them toward each milestone, increased communication with students approaching important milestones and deadlines, and implemented additional professional development workshops for advanced students.  In the 2017-2018 Academic Year, SLAT reorganized and streamlined its curriculum to provide students with greater flexibility, faster completion rates, and greater focus during their coursework.  The program implemented these workshops while continuing to collect data each year.

SLAT finished collecting the raw data from 2018-2019 in September, 2019.  It has now been compiled, and the numbers from the past four years of data collection is now available on this page. The SLAT Executive Council will meet and discuss these numbers in October, 2019.  The results of the discussion and any changes implemented as a result will be posted shortly after the October meeting.

We look forward to our fifth year of data collection and looking for ways to continue to improve the SLAT program.

Fourth-Year Data, Responses Per Academic Year

Fourth-year Data, Average Responses over Four Years

Fourth-Year Data, Responses Per Academic Year

Fourth-Year Data, Average Responses over Four Years

Fourth-Year Data, Responses Per Academic Year

Fourth-Year Data, Average Responses over Four Years

Fourth-year Data, Responses Per Academic Year

Fourth-Year Data, Average Responses over Four Years

Fourth-year Data, Responses Per Academic Year

Fourth-Year Data, Average Responses over Four Years