Office of Educational Assessment

Special Programs


2009 Arts and Sciences Academic Learning Links Assessment. C. Beyer, J. Peterson, E. Copeland, OEA Report 10-06, 2010. (1,974K PDF)

The College of Arts and Sciences piloted its Arts and Sciences Learning Link (ALL) program in autumn 2009 and asked OEA to assess the program. Working in collaboration with the ALL coordinator, OEA researchers conducted a survey of the ALL participants, conducted demographic and academic analyses of participants, and created pre- and post-quarter reflective assignments that students were asked to complete as part of their regular seminar requirements for the program. The study showed that ALL students were strongly positive about their experience in the program and positive about their first-quarter experience at the UW, particularly students enrolled in the two Arts ALLs. Students in the ALL program felt strongly connected to each other by the end of the program, and connections were both social and based in shared academic interests. The ALL students also valued the peer leaders of their ALL seminars and the chance to meet advanced undergraduates working in their fields of interest. Both survey and reflective essay results showed that the ALL students made significant gains in their knowledge about the disciplinary practices, values, cultures, and research focuses of the areas in which their ALLs were situated – the primary goal of the ALL program. Finally, students in the ALL program recommended that the content of the ALL seminar be revised to eliminate the joint sessions across groups.

2009 Freshman Interest Group Assessment Report. C. Beyer, J. Peterson, N. Lowell and A. Giesbrecht, OEA Report 10-05, 2010. (4,700K PDF)

The University of Washington’s Freshman Interest Group (FIG) Program Assessment Study used multiple methods to assess the experience of freshmen participating in the program in autumn quarter 2009. A series of surveys allowed OEA researchers to track changes between FIG students’ attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors upon entry into the UW and at the end of the first quarter, as well as to compare students’ responses with those of entering freshmen who were not enrolled in the FIG program. In addition, the study included demographic and academic analyses of FIG participants, as well as examination of survey responses of four FIG subtypes and nine demographic subgroups. The assessment process also included focus groups with key faculty, administrators, and staff about goals for the FIG program and for freshmen, in general. The study found that the FIG program was quite diverse; it included the participation of two-thirds of the under-represented minority, EOP, and first-generation students who entered the UW. The study also found that FIG students were more satisfied with their fall quarter experience and felt a greater sense of belonging at the UW than did most students who were not in FIGs. In addition, FIG students were satisfied with their overall FIG experience particularly valuing the opportunity to forge new social bonds that gave them “automatic” access to strategies for academic success. In addition, FIG students greatly valued the help of their FIG leaders. Furthermore, the study found that under-represented minority, EOP, and first-generation students and students in FIGs that included Interdisciplinary Writing Program classes were the most satisfied with their experience. Students in the FIG program recommended that the content of the FIG seminar be revised to give students a stronger academic orientation to the UW and greater interaction with the courses in their FIG clusters, a recommendation that faculty, staff, and administrators also gave the program.

UWired Community Technology Partnerships: Seattle School District Program. S.L. Balanko and L. Collins, OEA Report 03-08, 2003. (66K PDF)

The University of Washington (UW) Office of Educational Partnerships placed University students in the Seattle School District (SSD) to provide K-12 schools with network support and computer consulting at an affordable cost; to create opportunities for undergraduates to develop computing, networking, and consulting skills through practical experience; and to help teachers incorporate technology into curricula for all K-12 students. During the 2002-2003 academic year, 43 UW students were assigned to 46 schools in the Seattle School District. The Partnership received positive feedback from both school representatives and UW student participants.

Review and Resources: Online Education Implementation and Evaluation. S.L. Balanko, OEA Report 02-11, 2002. (121K PDF)

This paper presents a review of the practice of online distance education with regard to implementation and evaluation. It summarizes good practices in pedagogy, design, and evaluation. Further, it provides resources for additional information on these topics. The alignment of student-centered pedagogy, interactive educational activities, desired learning outcomes, and evaluation activities appears essential to developing and continuously improving effective learning experiences. The promise and power of online education is highlighted, and attention is drawn to issues of caution such as quality and appropriateness.

University of Washington Computer Classroom Program: Interviews with Program Clients. G. Garson, L.J. Collins, K. Woody, and C. Stimmel, OEA Report 02-06, 2002. (65K PDF)

The Student Access & Computing Group (SACG) was formed in 1999 to help meet the computing needs of students at the University of Washington (UW). One of the many services provided by SACG is the administration of five computer classrooms which include two rooms in Odegaard Undergraduate Library (OUGL) and three rooms in Mary Gates Hall (MGH). These computer classrooms are designed for hands-on, computer-based instruction, experimental education, and student collaboration. Clients who use the computer classrooms were asked about their experiences with scheduling and using the facilities in an effort to gather information that will help with future programming and planning.

University of Washington General-Access Computing Labs: Client Preferences – 2001. G. Garson, L.J. Collins, J. Harris, K. Woody, and A. Sievanen, OEA Report 02-02, 2002. (109K PDF)

Through the management of two general-access computing labs, the Student Access & Computing Group dynamically supports and enhances the effective use of student computing resources on the University of Washington (UW)-Seattle campus. Workstations in the Odegaard Undergraduate Library (OUGL) Computing Commons and the Mary Gates Hall (MGH) Computing Resource Center (CRC) are available to anyone with a UW NetID. To better serve the student population, the SACG conducts an annual lab survey to evaluate its services in the OUGL Computing Commons and the MGH CRC. Survey responses guide decisions for hardware/software purchases and service improvements.

UW General-Access Computing Labs: Client Preferences. G. Garson and M. Marks, OEA Report 01-09, 2001. (117K PDF)

During the autumn 2000 quarter, an on-line survey was conducted at the general-access computing labs on the University of Washington Seattle campus to identify preferred hardware and software configurations. The majority of users responding to the survey were either juniors or seniors. Computing labs on campus were utilized most often for e-mail and word processing. Users wanted access to Matlab and Flash among other software titles. Hardware requests included CD burners and faster, more reliable computers.

UWired Community Technology Center Partnership. L. Collins and T.A. Sannicandro, OEA Report 01-08, 2001. (52K PDF)

The University of Washington (UW) Office of Educational Partnerships placed University students in Seattle Community Technology Centers (CTC) to provide network support and to create opportunities for University students to develop their technology and consulting skills. The OEA surveyed CTC representatives and UWired students concerning program outcomes. This report describes survey methodology and provides information on program outcomes. The CTC representatives were satisfied with the program and felt UW students were a valuable asset. Suggestions included increasing the length of the partnerships and providing training for students in the program.

UWired Seattle Schools Partnership. L. Collins and J. Harris, OEA Report 01-07, 2001. (53K PDF)

The University of Washington (UW) Office of Educational Partnerships placed University students in Seattle Public Schools to provide network support and consulting, to create opportunities for University students to develop their technology and consulting skills, and to help teachers incorporate technology into curricula. The OEA surveyed school district representatives and Uwired students concerning program outcomes. This report describes survey methodology and provides response frequency tables. Overall, the Seattle Schools Partnership was received positively. School representatives and UW student participants provided useful suggestions to improve the program.

Information Research Strategies (IMT 220) and Fluency with Information Technology (CSE 100): Two approaches to teaching use of technology . N. Lowell, A. Zald and Z. Clelland , OEA Report 99-17, 1999. (276K PDF)

The University of Washington has recently initiated two approaches to teaching technology and information resources via the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) and Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). The courses developed by the respective departments, IMT 200 and CSE 100, offered specialized instruction, regarding computer use and the availability of information resources. These courses were offered during Winter 1999 and Spring 2000 quarters, allowing for the evaluation of their success over time, and comparison to courses that were unaccompanied by this type of information resource instruction. Questionnaires were administered to students in IMT 220 and CSE 100 both at the beginning and end of the course, and included questions tapping ability, confidence and performance with respect to information resources and technology. Analysis revealed that the incorporation of information resource and technology instruction resulted in significantly improved ratings given by the students concerning their computer skills, as well as increased computer literacy. A detailed account of student responses, as well as conclusions and recommendations for future courses are discussed.

Fluency with Information Technology (CSE 100): Student Response. N. Lowell and L. Snyder, OEA Report 99-15, 1999. (279K PDF)

In 1999, the National Research Council published a report titled Being Fluent with Information Technology (FIT) that defined the level of understanding of information technology sufficient for lifelong self-education. In contrast to traditional computer literacy classes which teach computing skills of short-lived currency, a FITness course would teach skills, concepts and capabilities to enable students to continuously adapt to the rapid changes in information technology. This report describes student reaction to a pilot course based on the FITness model, taught in spring quarter, 1999 at the University of Washington. Findings are based on student responses to pre- and post-course questionnaires, as well as post-course evaluation forms.

1998 FIG/Freshman Survey. N. Lowell, M. Jundt and J. Johnson, OEA Report 99-03, 1999. (142K PDF)

In autumn 1998, a survey was conducted of all students enrolled in the Freshman Interest Group (FIG) Program, and a random sample of 1000 freshman student not enrolled in a FIG. The purpose of the study was to identify program outcomes and to suggest ways in which the program might be improved. Both FIG and non-FIG students tended to feel comfortable using different information technologies, and approaching and talking with UW academic advisers, faculty and staff. Both groups knew where to find information about academic departments and classes, and would choose UW if they had to make their college choice over again. FIG students seemed to make more personal connections with their peers than did non-FIG students and felt more a part of the UW community. FIG students were also more familiar with a variety of campus resources. Based on the results of this study, program staff made recommendations regarding program content and direction, and identified areas in which additional information would be useful.

UW General Access Computer Labs: Client Preferences. K. Woody and N. Lowell, OEA Report 99-02, 1999. (88K PDF)

A user survey was conducted at the general access computer labs on the University of Washington Seattle campus in November, 1998 to identify preferred hardware and software configurations. Information from the survey will be used to direct services in the existing general access labs as well as in the new lab to be opened in Mary Gates Hall later this year. The majority of users were upper-division and graduate students, and were enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences. About half used the labs fewer than three hours per week suggesting that these services supplemented computer use elsewhere. Users wanted access to computers that could accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously, and particularly wanted storage media beyond that provided by zip drives. These results should be confirmed by another survey in the fall as the time approaches to purchase equipment for Mary Gates Hall.

Information Literacy (Gen St 391) Winter and Spring, 1998. N. Lowell, G. Bunker, J. McKinstry and D.E. McGhee, OEA Report 98-10, 1998. (66K PDF)

Information Literacy as a Liberal Art was offered as a two-credit course (GenSt 391) in Winter and Spring quarters, 1998. The course provided an introduction to information resources “in an electronic environment,” and enrolled primarily student athletes and EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) students. Short pre- and post-tests assessed student experience, skill level and knowledge, and a post-course instructor debriefing yielded a set of recommendations based on the test results and experiences over the course of the quarter. Students showed increases from pre- to post-test in both self-reported and objectively assessed knowledge. Recommendations centered around integrating information and technology literacy into undergraduate education campus-wide.

Information Resources in Interdisciplinary Writing Program (IWP) Courses: Winter and Spring, 1998. N. Lowell and A. Zald, OEA Report 98-09, 1998. (143K PDF)

The University of Washington (UW) Interdisciplinary Writing Program (IWP) provides five-credit expository writing courses each of which is linked to a discipline-based lecture course. Students enroll in both the writing and discipline-based courses, and complementary assignments allow them to improve their writing skills within a subject area of their own particular interest. In Winter and Spring of 1998, the UW UWired program sponsored a pilot program adding librarian-taught class sessions to existing IWP courses. These sessions focused on the use of information resources in the context of student research for writing assignments. On post-course questionnaires, students indicated that they had gained skills that were transferable to other research activities and that they were using, and evaluating, a wider variety of information resources than previously. IWP instructors discussed effective instructional approaches in the context of the UWired/IWP collaboration. Specific next steps might be the development of 1) a set of common topics of instruction to be used in UWired/IWP sections, and 2) a range of class learning activities for each topic.

Athlete Exit Survey: 1996. L. Carlin and N. Lowell, OEA Report 97-08, l997.

This report summarizes responses to the Exit Survey administered to student athletes who left the University athletics program during the 1995-96 academic year, and compares responses to surveys conducted in 1993-94 and 1994-95. Respondents gave very positive ratings to their overall experience as student athletes at the UW, and most felt that their expectations on entering the athletic program had been exceeded. They felt they had been prepared well at the UW for a career and that their participation in athletics had made a positive contribution. Student athletes were varied in the degree to which they took advantage of academic support services and in their assessment of the impact of athletics on their academic performance, but most felt that their coaches were supportive of their academic career. Very few differences in response were found across years or between responses of male and female student athletes. Women tended to rate their professors more positively than did men, and they also reported better academic work habits.

Parent Orientation Evaluations: Summer 1996. L. Basson, OEA Research Note 97-N1, 1997.

In addition to orientation sessions for entering students, the Office of New Student Programs conducted four orientation sessions for the parents of entering students during the summer of 1996. These one-day sessions were designed to introduce parents to the University of Washington and to address issues of particular concern to them. At the conclusion of Orientation, a total of 120 participants completed a brief questionnaire evaluating their session. Respondents generally agreed that the parent orientations were very successful and their major concerns were addressed. They appreciated the well-organized, informative and varied nature of the orientation program and especially liked the participation of students in many leadership roles.

Freshman and Transfer Orientation Evaluations: Summer 1996. L. Basson, S. Slavich and T. Hill, OEA Report 96-08, 1996.

Over 3,000 freshmen and more than 1,000 transfer students participated in 1996 summer orientation sessions designed to prepare them for entry into the UW. As part of these sessions, the participants completed both a preliminary survey and a post-survey containing open-ended questions relating to the orientation. The preliminary survey asked students about their concerns in making the transition to the UW and about what they hoped to get out of the orientation session. The post-survey asked what were the most valuable aspects of the orientation that would help students feel more comfortable at the UW and what aspects of orientation needed improvement. This report, prepared jointly by members of the Office of Educational Assessment and the Office of New Student Programs, summarizes and analyzes the results of these surveys. Overall, the results suggest that many of the participants’ major concerns were well addressed by the orientation sessions.

Native American Science Outreach Network (NASON) Summer Institute, 1996 – An Evaluation. T. Taggart, OEA Report 96-06, 1996.

The Native American Science Outreach Network (NASON) hosted its third annual Summer Institute during which educators and Native American middle and high school students came to the UW campus to participate in four weeks of enrichment in science teaching and Native American background. The Institute included classes, labs, field trips, cultural and entertainment activities, and a science fair. This report summarizes an evaluation of the NASON Institute conducted using three survey instruments. Results of this evaluation showed that the 1996 Institute emphasized academic components more than previous NASON Institutes, with teachers indicating a stronger sense of accomplishment and appreciation of basic science. Students also demonstrated stronger agreement with the understanding of scientific principles conveyed by the Institute.

Athlete Exit Survey – 1995. N. Lowell, OEA Report 96-03, 1996.

This report summarizes responses to the Exit Survey administered to student athletes who graduated from the UW during the 1994-95 academic year. Fifty-two student athletes completed the survey: 27 participants in the men’s athletic program and 25 participants in the women’s program. Questions focused on the athletes’ experience in the athletic program at the UW as well as their academic experience. Among the results reported, respondents rated their overall experience as student athletes at UW quite positively and most felt that the expectations they had before entering the UW were exceeded. Student athletes rated their preparation for a career as good, and felt that their participation in the athletic program had enhanced their preparation at least somewhat.

Assessment of Foreign Language Trailer Sections. L. Basson, OEA Report 96-02, 1996.

Seven foreign language trailer sections were offered in conjunction with undergraduate lecture courses in the fields of history, political science, and international studies during Autumn quarter, 1995. These sections provided undergraduates with the opportunity to use their foreign language skills in conjunction with study in other disciplines. This report provides an assessment of these sections based on student evaluations, interviews with the section instructors, and notes from a meeting held with the professors, TAs, and administrators involved in the program. Nearly all of those who participated in teaching, administering, or attending the foreign language trailer sections responded enthusiastically to this experimental program and many suggested that it be continued and expanded.

Athlete and Educational Opportunity Student “Hopes” Essays: 1996 University of Washington Summer Bridge Program. L. Basson, OEA Research Note 96-N5, 1996.

The UW conducted its second Bridge Program in September 1996. The program is designed to help student athletes and Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Bridge students make the transition from high school to college. Student athletes attended morning sessions for four weeks while EOP students attended full day sessions for three weeks. As part of an evaluation of the Bridge program, all participants were asked to write an initial essay about their hopes for their first year at UW. This report identifies the major themes that emerged in the student essays and compares the responses of student athletes to those of EOP students. Some of the themes mentioned include academic success, athletic success, meeting new people and making friends, balancing activities, making family proud, happiness, homesickness, growing up and becoming responsible, and personal growth.

Electronic Textbook Constitutional Law – Spring 1996. T. Taggart, OEA Research Note 96-N4, 1996.

Students enrolled in a Constitutional Law class offered by Professor William Andersen through the UW Law School were given the option of using an electronic version of the textbook for the course. The electronic textbook had built-in links to on-line databases and permitted the reader to link different parts of the text together, highlight significant passages, and record marginal notes. This research note presents the results of an evaluation of the use of the electronic textbook in this course, including a “computer literacy” survey distributed at the beginning of the quarter, a concluding survey of both e-book users and non-users, and a comparison of pre- and post-class grades for significance controlling for pre-class GPA. One result from this evaluation was that although a few student users felt that the e-book contributed to their accomplishment in the class, a majority of students felt that the e-book offered no advantage for those who used it.

An Assessment of General Studies 350: Independent Fieldwork 1994-95. C. Beyer, OEA Report 95-09, 1995.

General Studies 350, the Internship Program, allows students to link practical experience gained as interns with academic studies. This report reviews the Internship Program, noting its many accomplishments as well as potential problem areas. The author found that the Internship Program provides varied and challenging opportunities for UW undergraduates to combine experiential and academic learning. GS 350 is currently doing a good job of linking the world of work with the world of academia. If changes are to be made, however, the academic link in the three-way partnership could be profitably strengthened.

Native American Science Outreach Network (NASON) Summer Institute, 1995 – An Evaluation. L. Basson and T. Taggart, OEA Report 95-07, 1995.

NASON is a program sponsored by the University of Washington’s Department of Chemistry which seeks to engage Native Americans in the fields of science. The 1995 Summer Institute, held at the UW campus, included middle school and high school science teachers, Native American paraprofessionals, and Native American high school students. This report provides the results of an evaluation of the Institute based on a series of surveys administered to the participants. Both teachers and paraprofessionals indicated that as a result of NASON, they intended to change their teaching styles in order to encourage the participation of Native American students. They also ended the Institute with greater confidence in their ability to teach science. For students, the Institute seemed to increase their interest and their belief that they could succeed in science. It also prompted them to develop more focused and realistic educational goals.

Fall Quarter 1994 Evaluation of UWired FIGs. T. Taggart, OEA Report 95-01, 1994.

In Autumn quarter, 1994 a pilot program was launched in which technology instruction and mobile computing were introduced as the unifying theme of courses taken by three freshman interest groups (FIGs). To determine the learning outcomes of this program, a number of assessment strategies were employed, including pre and post testing, e-mail monitoring, and surveys. Generally, student participants valued the experience, made significant gains in their ability to identify computer-related terms and library skills, and rated the FIG program more highly than did control group FIGs.

Fall Quarter 1994 Evaluation of UWired FIGs. T. Taggart, OEA Research Note 95-N1, 1995.

Instructors (faculty, librarians, teaching assistants and peer advisors) involved in the UWired program were interviewed subsequent to the first quarter of the program. Based on these interviews, it was concluded that the training, though successful, should be extended to several weeks and continued through the quarter, with more practical, hands-on experiences. Faculty also viewed greater collaboration and integration among courses as desirable. Almost all instructors felt that the program’s impact on students was substantial and positive, with the use of e-mail as being particularly successful.

Athlete Exit Survey: 1994. N. Lowell, OEA Report 94-11, l994.

Student athletes who graduated during the 1993-94 academic year were surveyed regarding their experiences at the University of Washington, and the preparation they received for their subsequent careers. Most respondents had positive feelings about their experiences as a student athlete, and slightly more than half stated that their expectations had been exceeded. Athlete tutorial services and academic advising were rated as of high quality, while career guidance, personal counseling and scholarship information received lower ratings. Very few differences were found between responses of male and female student athletes.

Freshman Seminars at the University of Washington: An Evaluation of the First Quarter of Course Offerings. G. Gillmore, OEA Report 94-01, 1994.

Freshman seminars were offered for the first time at UW, Autumn quarter, 1993. Questionnaires were administered to both faculty and students in thirteen of the twenty-three seminars. Generally, students found the seminars worthwhile and would enroll again. They indicated that as a result of the seminar they would feel comfortable seeking advice from the instructor in the future and would find it easier to talk to other faculty outside of class. Students found the academic aspects of the seminars to be the most worthwhile and enjoyed the seminar’s relaxed atmosphere and within-class interactions. The report concluded that the most successful seminars tended to be those in which interesting subject matter is used to engage students.

ASUW Ethnic Studies Requirement Survey. G. Gillmore, OEA Report 93-06, 1993.

One of the major issues on the UW campus is whether there should be an ethnic studies or cultural pluralism requirement and, if so, what shape it should take. Student government solicited a survey of student opinion on these two questions. The majority of students were in favor of a requirement if it did not add to the total number of general education hours required, and overall, more students preferred study of world groups than preferred other alternatives.

The Entry-Level Initiative (ELI) at the University of Washington: What Have We Learned? G. Gillmore and L. Basson, OEA Report 93-02, 1993.

In 1989, the legislature allocated $3.8 million in permanent funds for the express purpose of enhancing UW undergraduate education. The ELI was the UW’s response to this allocation. This report presented the results of an evaluation of the effects of ELI. Generally, the results of ELI were found to be consistent with its purposes: to increase students’ involvement in learning, to provide greater assistance to students outside of the classroom, to promote effective use of technology, to enhance the quality of TA teaching, and to more effectively manage large classes. Several areas of needed improvement were also found, most of which were spawned directly by ELI success (e. g., greater numbers of students demanding to be serviced by writing centers). Finally, several unanticipated benefits were highlighted.