Submitted Fall, 2003
The purpose of this report is to examine writing skills of students in the Management Department at the University of Nebraska at Kearney since one of the objectives of the Management Department is that students will be able to exhibit "competency in written communications." The course used for the assessment was BMGT 485-Seminar in Human Resource Management. The presiding professor was Dr. David Palmer. Students in this class were required to analyze and interpret relevant research in the area of human resources. Included in Appendix B are Dr. Palmer's hand-outs for the assignment. Twenty percent of the students were assessed; this included seven papers from the class. These papers were then evaluated by three management faculty members: Dr. Leslie Korb, Dr. Richard Lebsack, and Dr. Kay Hodge, none of whom were involved in teaching the course. The assessors used a rubric designed for the assessment.
To assess the learning objective, "competency in written communication," a rubric was designed and approved by management faculty members in the spring 2003 semester. Toward the end of the spring semester, the department secretary, Ms. Stacy Darveau, randomly selected the required number of papers before Dr. Palmer graded them. Ms. Darveau then removed the students' name from the documents so that the review by the faculty would be a blind review. After the spring semester was completed, the selected papers and evaluation rubrics were distributed to the faculty who were doing the evaluation process. The evaluators evaluated the works based on content, organization, analysis of information, writing conventions (grammar, punctuation, word choice, etc.), disciplinary characteristics, integration of the functional areas, and the appearance of the papers since these were the factors that were deemed important to competency in written communications.
Evaluation of the papers in the area of content indicated that the papers, generally, were above the "satisfactory" range. The evaluators used the number 3 to indicate that the work was "exemplary," 2 to indicate that the work was "good," 1 indicated that the work was "satisfactory," 0 indicated that the work "needs improvement," and NA was indicative that a particular area did not apply to the work being assessed. The following are the outcomes:
|Analysis of data
The outcomes of the assessment appear to indicate that the writing skills of management students are slightly above satisfactory except in the area of "writing conventions." There was no integration of the various disciplines discussed in these papers since the papers were directly associated with a topic in human resources. The reviewers all commented on the fact that the students did not follow the presiding professor's very clearly detailed instructions. Although that was not measured by the rubric, it is, in our minds, a problem that we need to address.
The faculty also must address the quality of writing. Student samples, in this assessment, indicate that students lack skills in the mechanics of writing-grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. This seems peculiar especially since prior to taking this class the students have completed nine hours of English-six of which are composition and six to nine hours of other writing intensive coursework.