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 Activities Outcome 1:  Knowledge of Applied Linguistics Outcome 2:  Think critically and independently Outcome 3: Define and design a Research Plan Outcome 4:  Conduct independent research Outcome 5: Communicate research findings
First Year Qualifying Exam X X
Written and Oral Comps Exam X X X
Dissertation Proposal Presentation and Defense X X X X X
Written Dissertation and Oral Defense X X X X X
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 2017-2018
1. Knowledge of Applied LinguisticsFirst Year Qualifying Review#1173.76104.3594.67
Written/Oral Comps#1254.64354.36554.51
#2254.76364.40554.53
#3264.54354.38554.58
Dissertation Proposal Presentation/Defense#1284.79264.27384.32
#2284.71264.31384.29
Written Dissertation/Oral Defense#2344.47334.55174.59
#7354.49334.67174.35
SLAT Student Exit Survey#1114.55124.67114.36
2. Think critically and independentlyWritten/Oral Comps#4264.58364.31554.51
#5264.58364.38554.47
#6264.54364.08554.29
Dissertation Proposal Presentation/Defense#2284.71264.31384.29
#3284.57263.96384.00
#4284.71264.38374.43
#5284.79264.35384.45
Written Dissertation/Oral Defense#2344.47334.55174.59
#3354.57334.58174.41
#4354.42334.39174.24
#5354.31334.42174.29
#7354.89334.67174.35
SLAT Student Exit Survey#2114.82124.83114.27
3. Define and design a Research PlanDissertation Proposal Presentation/Defense#3284.57263.96384.00
#5284.79264.35384.45
Written Dissertation/Oral Defense#3354.57334.58174.41
#5354.31334.42174.29
#6354.54334.45174.24
SLAT Student Exit Survey#3114.64124.58114.09
4. Conduct independent researchDissertation Proposal Presentation/Defense#5284.79264.35384.45
Written Dissertation/Oral Defense#4354.43334.39174.24
#6354.54334.45174.24
SLAT Student Exit Survey#4114.82124.50114.20
5. Communicate Research FindingsFirst Year Qualifying Review#2174.59104.4094.44
#3174.41104.3094.44
Written/Oral Comps#4264.58364.31554.51
#5264.58364.38554.47
#6264.54364.08554.29
Dissertation Proposal Presentation/Defense#1284.79264.27384.32
#2284.71264.31384.29
#4284.71264.38374.43
#5284.79264.35384.45
Written Dissertation/Oral Defense#1354.23334.33174.12
#2344.47334.55174.59
#7354.49334.67174.35
SLAT Student Exit Survey#5114.82124.75114.45

Changes in Response to Findings

It will require at least 5 years of data collection to adequately determine what changes are required in response to our findings.  In the Student Exit Survey, students were offered the opportunity to add any additional comments.  While most of the students did not offer comments, some students did respond.  One student said, “Thank you to our SLAT program! I think that it was an overall great experience and education!”.  Two other students indicated that they liked the overall SLAT experience.

Upon evaluation of the available data (one academic year, 2015-2016) at the October 2016 Executive Council Meeting, the SLAT Executive Council made the following observations:

1.       They see nothing in the data that is worrisome at this point in time.

2.       We clearly see some jumps in the knowledge of applied linguistics as they progress through the program.  This observation is not unexpected.

3.       We see a clear dip in all expected outcomes following comps, and 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.

The SLAT Executive Council will meet and discuss the most recent data from each academic year during the Fall semester.

We look forward to collecting additional data to help us determine the answers to some of these questions.

Year over year comparisons

Year over year comparisons

Year over year comparisons

Year over year comparisons

Year over year comparisons