M.A. in English-TESOL Program

Assessment Plan

Academic Year(s)

Assessment Tasks


1. Use new PLOS to develop an analytic rubric for departmental thesis assessment

2. Pilot new PLO rubric with spring 2014 students enrolled in departmental thesis units

3. Align PLOs with new ILOs

4. Continue assessment of information literacy in first-year introductory classes

5. Make changes to the program as needed

6. Include PLOs in university catalog and post them on the departmental website


1. Include PLOs in syllabi for M.A. TESOL courses starting this year and in all subsequent years

2.Revise departmental thesis rubric based on 2013-2014 pilot

3. Assess departmental theses using revised PLO rubric

4. Continue assessment of information literacy in first-year introductory classes

5. Assess one ILO (critical thinking) for students entering and finishing the program

6. Make changes to the program as needed


1. Assess departmental theses with PLO rubric

2. Continue assessment of information literacy in first-year introductory classes

3. Assess one ILO (communication) for students entering and finishing the program

4. Make changes to the program as needed

2016-2017 and beyond

Continue with plan established in 2015-2016 until all ILOs have been assessed once and then begin the cycle again.

Closing the Loop

From 2004-2012, student learning in the M.A. TESOL program was assessed in the following ways: course grades and capstone evaluation using a 4-point rubric developed by the departmental thesis committee in 2003. 

Since 2008 with the implementation of the information literacy curriculum, assessment of this part of the program has been done through reflective essays written at the end of each of the first-year core classes. Over this period, 124 reflective essays have been collected and analyzed. Reflective essays are read quarterly, often resulting in immediate changes to the curriculum. Some of these changes have been minor, such as clarifying an assignment or relocating student-generated web reviews on the TESOL website to make them easier to find. Other changes have been more substantive. For example, reflective essays from the pilot year of the curriculum revealed that a majority of students had difficulty using library databases as required for research assignments in their other M.A. classes, a finding that led to the re-sequencing of information literacy assignments in the first and second core courses in the program to better meet the immediate needs of new M.A. students.

The 124 reflective essays were also re-analyzed as a group after the third year of implementation of the information literacy curriculum. Forty-nine essays (40%) in this group contained highly positive comments about the curriculum and multiple examples of concepts learned. Fifty-two essays (42%) contained largely positive comments about the curriculum and at least one example of a concept learned. Seventeen essays (14%) contained largely negative comments about the curriculum with few or no examples of concepts learned. Six essays (5%) revealed significant confusion about the curriculum or were too vague to assess. In these reflective course essays, the three most commonly reported learning gains were increased awareness of TESOL resources, a better understanding of how to track and manage searches, and improvement in the ability to locate and evaluate appropriate sources of information for research assignments.

In 2011-2012, the M.A. TESOL coordinator received additional training in assessment through funding from Academic Programs and Graduate Studies (APGS). Based on this training, she collaborated with second-year students in her English 6507, Testing and Evaluation in ESOL, on a class project to develop program learning outcomes, a curriculum map and an assessment plan using Bachman and Palmer’s approach detailed in Language Assessment in Practice. As students in the program, their input was invaluable in this process. As new TESOL professionals, participating in the development of a programmatic approach to assessment is a type of experience that employers in TESOL fields are looking for. The final learning outcomes, curriculum map, assessment plan are provided above. In 2012-2013, PLOs were submitted for publication in the university catalog and posted on the English department website. In winter 2014, alignment of PLOs and ILOs and an assessment plan revision were completed. In spring 2014, the PLO rubric will be developed and piloted on thesis projects submitted in spring or summer 2014.

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