The English Graduate program has made significant strides in the collection and analysis of assessment data, but much more needs to be done. Of the four areas now being assessed, the weakest is definitely the Portfolio Assistant Portfolio Assessment. Many students did not turn in portfolios for assessment, and some of those turned in were incomplete. The Graduate Committee has decided to give direct feedback to students about the portfolios after the first year in an attempt to encourage and foster higher quality portfolios by the end of the second year. In addition, non-GA's will also be required to submit a portfolio containing a more limited set of documents (since teaching-related items would not be appropriate to those not teaching). We believe that these steps will allow this assessment to be much more effective at measuring student outcomes in the future.
The other assessment means, including the writing samples, surveys, and exit interviews, have provided significant information on the quality of our program, its strengths and weaknesses, and have pointed to particular areas that will need to be addressed as we continue to build the program. Course availability, sufficient support for new graduate assistants in teaching, and insufficient emphasis on writing and language all seem to be indicated by the data.
One clear need is more organized and efficient data collection. The last few years have focused on clarifying the mission of the program and establishing more effective means of measuring student outcomes. The next stage should shift focus toward the careful and consistent gathering of data and its analysis. No other major changes in the program (except as noted above in regard to the portfolios) appear to be warranted.