Winter 2010-11, Number 1

Assessment Newsletter

This newsletter is intended to:

  • Share key assessment findings
  • Promote the use of assessment information
  • Provide updates on assessment-related efforts

Who are Our Fall 2010 Entering First-Year Cohort?

Compared with two groups of institutions (Group 1: very highly selective, non-sectarian, 4-year, private colleges, and Group 2: nonsectarian, 4-year, private colleges), Gettysburg first-year students

  • Are more likely to attend their current college because of a campus visit, the size of this college, its good social reputation, recruitment by its athletic department, and its Early Decision program.
  • Reported higher social self-concept (esp. leadership ability, popularity).
  • Are more likely to join a social fraternity/sorority and play intercollegiate athletics.
  • Put more importance on influencing the political structure and becoming a community leader.
  • Were more likely to come from a mostly or completely White neighborhood and high school, had less diverse peer interactions during high school, are less likely to value promoting racial understanding, expect less chances to socialize with someone of another racial/ethnic group during college.

Gettysburg also reported a higher percentage of Christian students, and politically conservative students.

Most popular probable majors: Biology (10%); Business (10%); History (9%); Political Science (9%); Psychology (7%). Read more

Rising Sophomore Survey

92% of students reported their expectations about the College's quality of education were matched by the reality of their first-year experience.  49% reported they adjusted to increased demands on their time.

The top three places where students spend the majority of their time studying: residence hall room or apartment (53%); library (35%); academic buildings (11%).

The most commonly reported reasons for withdrawal from the College: dissatisfaction with quality of campus social life, financial and academic reasons (coursework not challenging; desired program not available).

When asked "In your relationship with your assigned advisor, who is responsible for initiating contact": students responded :

          I am                              60%
          My advisor is               4%
          We both initiate           36%

Students whose advisor taught one of their courses during their first semester were more likely to be satisfied with the quality of academic advising offered by their assigned advisor.  Read more

Assessing Learning in the Capstone Experience

In December 2010, a COLA subcommittee conducted a study of student achievement of the Integrative Thinking Goal in the Capstone Experience. 12 faculty teaching a capstone course/seminar provided evaluations of student work based on a rubric developed by Jonelle Pool and David Powell. Findings from the study will be released soon.


Assessing Learning in an Multiple Inquiry Course

Multiple Inquiries is one of the four Goals of the Gettysburg Curriculum. How to translate this Goal into measurable learning outcomes? Jonelle Pool developed a rubric, articulating specific criteria and standards to evaluate a student paper written for an MI course.

Course Syllabi Assessment Project

COLA (Committee on Learning Assessment) recently reviewed a sample of course syllabi collected from departments, using a rubric (developed by Bruce Larson & Kevin Wilson) which contains the following 5 criteria:

  • Syllabus clearly and explicitly states student learning outcomes: 77% completely or partially met this criteria.
  • Syllabus makes expectations of students clear and explicit: 94% completely or partially met this criteria.
  • Course assignments serve as reasonable means of advancing course goals: 94% completely or partially met this criteria.
  • Syllabus explicitly links the course to department/major goals: 16% completely or partially met this criteria.
  • Syllabus explicitly links the course to College Curricular Goal(s) (if applicable): 25% completely or partially met this criteria.

In response to the findings, JCCT has been sharing exemplary syllabi as part of the new faculty orientations.

Did you know......

♦ 94% of alumni from the graduating class of 2009 reported being employed or attending graduate school within a year after graduating. (Source: One-Year Out Alumni Survey)

♦ You can find out more about the characteristics of Gettysburg students and faculty from the Assessment Website, which regularly publishes findings from surveys, and academic and co-curricular assessment resources.

Upcoming Surveys

The Office of Institutional Analysis will be conducting the following benchmark surveys in Spring 2011:

  • National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
  • HERI Faculty Survey
  • HEDS Senior Survey
  • AICUP Rising Sophomore Survey


Call for Submissions

How did your department use feedback collected from students or external reviews to make changes? Share your examples by submitting them to Suhua Dong (, Office of Institutional Analysis. 

HEDS Senior Survey

96% participated in the 2010 graduating senior survey. Gettysburg results are substantially more positive than those of the comparison group in& the following areas:

  • Frequency of collaborative and active learning (group project assignments, class presentations, and multimedia presentations).
  • Enhancement of ability to read or speak a foreign language, to understand process of science and experimentation, to use quantitative skills, and to use computers.
  • Satisfaction with the quality of course instruction in business.
  • Satisfaction with social life on campus, student government, and& student voice in policies.
  • Satisfaction with financial aid office, student union facilities and programs, student housing, counseling services, food services, student financial services, recreation/athletics programs and facilities.
  • When asked"If you had the chance to relive your college experience, would you choose to attend the same institution again?" Gettysburg seniors were more likely to respond they definitely would.

Gettysburg seniors reported a noticeably lower satisfaction level with ethnic/racial diversity and climate for minority students on campus, a lower degree of enhancement in their ability to relate to people of different races/nations/religions, and less artistic enrichment. Read More

This newsletter is compiled by the Office of Institutional Analysis.


300 North Washington St.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania