The sun sets over campus behind the Tri Delt sundial

Assessment Brief #88 - UNV 101

Assessment Logo: assessment-revision-outcomes

February 2016

Developed in response to resolutions by the Associated Student Government as well as to the Miami 2020 Plan's first metric to "achieve a 6-year graduation rate of 85%," UNV 101: I am Miami is a first-year success course. Course outcomes focus on liberal education, goal-setting, campus resources, academic and co-curricular planning, and academic and personal integrity.

Due to its goal of promoting academic success, the percentage of students who are historically at risk of attrition or poor academic performance was higher among UNV 101 students than first-year students not enrolled in UNV 101.

Student Success Outcomes

Oxford Campus:
1434 Enrolled; Cumulative GPA 3.24
2534 Not enrolled; Cumulative GPA 3.03

Regionals:
524 Enrolled; Cumulative GPA 2.65; 90% Retained
463 Not enrolled; Cumulative GPA 2.23; 74% Retained

Student Survey on Learning Outcomes

All first-year students on the Oxford campus received a pre- and post-survey focusing on UNV 101 learning outcomes over the same period in early September 2015. Students were administered the post-test between mid-November and the first week of December.

Usable pre-surveys from UNV 101 students: 1,128
Usable pre-surveys from non-enrolled students: 475

Usable post-surveys from UNV 101 students: 875
Usable post-surveys from non-enrolled students: 1,050

A look at the statistically significant average differences in post-survey responses between enrolled and non-enrolled students shows that those enrolled in UNV 101 noted higher familiarity in the following areas:

  • I know how to access my DAR (.50 higher for students in UNV 101 )
  • I understand what information is included on the DAR (.47)
  • I know how to develop an academic action plan (.40)
  • I know which mental health services are available (.37)
  • I feel confident in intervening with my peers (.31)
  • I can calculate my GPA (.30)
  • I think that diversity and inclusion are essential components of the Miami community (.20)
  • I can identify one step I can take to further explore career options (.19)

Student Course Evaluations

The response rate for Oxford students was 61%, and 21% for regional students. The university mean on the quantitative items (0-4 scale, with 4 as highest mark) ranged from 3.5 (overall classroom climate, opportunities for participation) to 1.6 (challenging).

In terms of the qualitative comments, the most commonly cited benefits from students related to the quality of the instructor, the opportunity to build relationships, and the knowledge of campus resources and tools. Concerns related to the high number of assignments, time of day, and lack of intellectual challenge and reduced student in-class engagement.

Instructor Surveys

Feedback from instructors on all campuses was collected in a face-to-face meeting or via an online survey conducted in December 2015. General comments related to the need convey the relevance of the course to particular groups of students, the day and time of the class offering, numerous and repetitious assignments, and lack of academic challenge.

Conclusion

The data indicate that the course has significant benefits for students, including their understanding of the campus resources and sense of belonging as well as their overall academic performance. The data also reveal possible areas for course improvement, including: grouping students in sections based upon common factors (major, residence hall), customizing the course for particular populations of students, eliminating redundant or less important assignments, and offering the course at varied times and in full-semester and sprint formats.