What We Have Learned
Each year, beginning in the summer of 2008, every major is required to report on the status of CTW in their area.
The Director of Academic Assessment and the Undergraduate Assessment Committee responded well to the 2009/2010 CTW reports at large. They were particularly pleased with the Ambassadors' incorporation of direct measure findings in the 2009/2010 report.
The CTW Assessment Report finds that CTW reports showed significant improvements in reporting measures and findings, tracking change, and discussing impact of findings. That said, the report illustrates that CTW reporters are not consistently reporting information in all of those areas and that the CTW directors, the Director of Academic Assessment, and the Chairs of UAC need to continue to work together to improve training for reporters and to build on the progress reporters made in 2009/2010.
The Assessment Report was able to document some important developments in the CTW Initiative. The following table, taken from the CTW Assessment Report, illustrate that the CTW reporters feel that CTW initiatives in their departments have made some significant improvements in student thinking and writing.
|Ideas Extend to Dept.||15||29%|
|Toos Soon To Tell||3||6%|
As this table illustrates, 39% of departments have evidence to suggest that CTW is helping to improve student thinking and writing. This data supports the CTW faculty perception, as represented in the CTW Faculty Survey in figure 4 above, that the CTW Assignments are helping to improve student, thinking, writing, and understanding of course material. Further, 33% of reporters have evidence to suggest that the CTW initiative has helped in faculty development. Of course, the CTW directors would like to see these percentages improve over the next couple of years, but the fact that 20 of the 51 reporters see student improvement as an impact of the CTW initiative is encouraging.
The first official year of the Critical Thinking through Writing graduation requirement ended successfully thanks to the continued dedication of the Ambassadors and the University community at large. Over 8000 students were enrolled in CTW courses in 2009/2010, more than 1/3 of the entire undergraduate student body at GSU. Departments across the university worked with the CTW office to ensure that courses were offered frequently, that they met the enrollment requirements, and that the courses offered were well taught and were the correct courses for their majors. Ambassadors did a wonderful job of continuing to train faculty and graduate students, and they were able to move, with little difficulty, to reporting in a new system. Additionally, Ambassadors continued to improve CTW in their departments by collaborating with their fellow ambassadors and by attending multiple CTW workshops offered by the CTW office.
Student and faculty response to the CTW survey shows that the community is starting to embrace the initiative, although there is still a great deal of work to be done. Further, the CTW Assessment report illustrates that the CTW directors, in conjunction with leaders in the assessment community at GSU, need to continue to work with Ambassadors on making connections between the data they are collecting for their classes and their larger programmatic goals.