Delta state university

Educational Program Learning Outcome Assessment Plan

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Educational Program Learning Outcome Assessment Plan for Communication Studies and Theatre Arts, 2009-10

Student Learning Outcomes

A. Learning Outcome

What should a graduate with a BA in

Communication Studies and Theatre Arts

major know, value, or be able to do at graduation and beyond?

B. Data Collection and Analysis

1. What assessment tools and/or methods will you use to determine achievement of the learning outcome? 2. Describe how the data from these tools and/or methods will be/have been collected.

3. Explain the procedure to analyze the data.

C. Results of Evaluation

What were the findings of the analysis?

D. Use of Evaluation Results

1. List any specific recommendations.

2. Describe changes in curriculum, courses, or procedures that are proposed or were made/ are being made as a result of the program learning outcome assessment process.


Display effective oral communication skills.
Display effective stage movement skills.
Demonstrate ability to use vocal skills in character portrayal on stage.
Exhibit ability to analyze character.

Exhibit knowledge of vocabulary, concerning staging areas equipment, positions, and business.

GE 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10

Communication: During the Fall 2009 semester, Dr. King completed a short course on speech evaluation at the National Communication Association. He adopted new rubrics (created by communication professors at Illinois State University w/ slight modification by King) to evaluate introductory, informative, persuasive, and ceremonial speeches in the COM 101: Public Speaking course (See Appendix F); areas targeted in these rubrics include content, organizational techniques, and delivery skills. Students are expected to receive a C or higher on various speech assignments.
Theatre: In THE 225: Introduction to Theatre, tests will be used to evaluate a student’s knowledge of various genres, styles and staging terminology, character development, and biographical information about the playwrights. Selected material for the course includes plays from the Greek and Roman times to more recent modern productions presented on Broadway. In an effort to enable them to understand the time and commitment required for a theatrical production, students in this course are given the option of working on one of the stage crews of a campus production. Students who cannot give the time to this project will instead write in-depth research papers, incorporating aspects of three of the works addressed in the course. The paper must incorporate aspects of three of the works covered in the course.

In theatre courses 339 and 224, Dramatic Performance and Production and Theatre Activities, respectively, the campus production is the focus. Interpretation of the material and creative staging techniques are emphasized and practiced. Expertise is requested from faculty and students from other disciplines as well. For example, some of the departments offering assistance for the theatre are Art, Fashion Merchandizing, and Delta Music Institute. Students are graded on a pass/fail method. Members of the cast and crew understand their specific importance to the overall product. If a student is committed to the tasks during the rehearsal period and follows through by performing those tasks from opening night to the closing of the show, the student receives an “A” for participation in either of these courses. In addition to the assessment of the work ethic of the student involved in onstage or offstage tasks, another crucial assessment of a successful performance is the audience response. Actors, technical crew members, and the director all want to hone skills to make campus productions more effective, interesting, and enjoyable for those who attend the performances. To gain specific insight into that perspective, responses from students and faculty are sought after each performance. Those responses are made known to the cast and crew immediately; concerning legitimate criticisms, if corrections can be made before the next performance, they are addressed. If some aspects cannot be changed, the feedback received often helps in succeeding productions of the future. In an effort to improve our program, we will continue to seek feedback from our spectators.

Quantitative and qualitative responses, from both faculty and students, will be encouraged in several areas: acting acuity, technical effectiveness, and/ or directorial decisions. Because the campus production may be the first live theatre performance some students have seen, there are those students who may prefer more guidance in the evaluation process. In this case a rubric with a quantitative rating scale from 1 to 5, with one indicating the poorest level of performance to five indicating excellent skill, can be provided. This evaluation form will focus on such acting skills as: projection, enunciation, stage movement, and character motivation; lighting, set design, and costuming in the technical areas; and material selection and interpretation in the directorial area. The evaluation form will also include the option of responding to qualitative questions as well.
Although budget cuts have prevented our participation in the American College Theatre Festival in the last two years, this competition is another means of performance assessment available to us in the past. Adjudication at the American College Theatre Festival is done by judges who either serve as chairs or tenured professors of theatre departments from various universities in the U.S…If funds are unavailable, an alternative to ACTF assessment is that of asking a theatre chair from a nearby university to evaluate one of our performances; a nominal fee for travel expenses and time would be required for such services.

Communication: After adopting a new rubric to evaluate speeches, the number of students receiving C or higher on required speeches increased. Table XV below provides sample data from grades earned on the informative speech assignment. Despite the increase, some students still lack basic organizational, outlining, and research skills as well as effective delivery skills, particularly in the areas of voice, gestures, and movement.
Theatre: Students enrolled in THE 225 receiving a “C” or higher on tests, writing assignments, and projects amounted to 69.2% of the class. (See Table XVI).
Our fall production, Pulitzer Prize-winning play Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire, and our spring production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest enabled our theatre program to flourish. The diversity of the two plays enabled students to work on two different genres, which required them to perfect different strategies for presentation of each. Actors had to approach character development for a modern tragedy in Rabbit Hole and a Victorian aged satire in “Earnest”. Students, enrolled in THE 224, who attended rehearsals, worked diligently on characterization, and performed onstage throughout the schedule shows all receive an “A” in the course. The percentage of students receiving “A’s” was 100. (See Table XVII).Technical aspects of each production were challenging from the standpoint of the appearance of a functional kitchen and family setting in “Rabbit” to that of a period lay,“Earnest,”depicting exquisite amenities of the upper classes living one hundred years ago. Students enrolled in THE 339 all received “A’s” for their diligent work on set painting and accessorizing, lighting, sound, and costumes. (See Table XVIII). Multi-disciplinary collaboration among several sources on campus, as well as cooperation from the community at large, took place. Art students designed and built the sets. Rabbit Hole required a most realistic looking kitchen, living room, and dining space. The Importance of Being Earnest, a play set in the Victorian era, required research and adaptation of furniture and accessories appropriate for that period. A Delta Music Institute student did an excellent job of designing the sound for both productions. A local artist, Bruce Levingston, who now lives and performs in New York, gave us permission to use some of his original compositions for our sound design of Rabbit Hole. Local furniture store owners and individual members of the community theatre group loaned us set pieces for staging scenes in these productions.

Audience response was most favorable, either in written responses or oral feedback following the performances.

Communication: Add more mini-speech assignments (non-graded speech exercises). Ask students to evaluate a poorly written outline and/or unscramble a “scrambled” outline; continue to establish a day devoted to research (library tour); add or revise a research assignment to help students research for either informative or persuasive speech; set aside one class period to evaluate rough outline; use more student and professional videos to demonstrate the proper use of voice and physical gestures; develop exercises and handouts and other innovative exercises to encourage students to employ more vocal variety in speech as well as gestures and movement; add facilitation assignments to upper-division courses.
Theatre: Give students more varied opportunities to develop their creative talents and interest for acting in and/or staging productions. Provide those students, with beginning interests in theatre, opportunities to realize those performance-related aspirations. Although we have state-of-the-art equipment in our facilities, more in-depth training for students operating this equipment is a need that we should address in the future.

Display excellent written communication skills in all areas, including theatre.
GE 1, 2, 5

Communication: A writing rubric is used to evaluate research papers (See Appendix H). In addition, tips on how to research and write a research paper, along with examples of well-written essays, are given to the students. An hour of class time is devoted to discussing these issues. Students are expected to receive a C or higher on various speech assignments.

Communication: Students still display poor writing skills (organization of information, development of arguments, use of evidence, grammar, paragraph formation, etc.). In the intercultural communication course, the percentage of students who received a C or higher on the 8-12 page research paper was 66% (See Table XIX). In the interpersonal communication course, 71% of students received a grade of C or higher (See Table XX).

Communication: The recommendation is that students turn in sections of a research paper throughout the semester. Paper deadlines are mandatory rather than suggested. In the end, students will be required to draft their research papers 5-6 times before submitting a final draft. This method will decrease the chances that a student will turn in a paper that is plagiarized. This method will also increase the likelihood that the quality of the paper will increase. Encourage students to meet with instructor or with staff in Writing Center.
Theatre: A writing rubric was disseminated in most courses that linked level of writing proficiency to grades; students were required to submit multiple drafts of a paper assignment for review by the instructor.

Use technology effectively in public speaking situations and theatrical performances.
GE 1, 2, 4

Communication: Oral presentations w/ PowerPoint (PP). Students are evaluated on their ability to use the technology effectively in public settings (the criteria include: clarity of information, relevance of PP to topic, proper sequencing of slides, correct information on slides, visually appealing).
Theatre: Theatre lends itself to both basic and creative venues in technology. Allowing students to implement effective use of design techniques in set, sound, and lighting techniques is a vital part of the program.

Communication: While students still have problems with organization of material, proper display of items on slides, the Power Point presentations have improved in quality and content.

Theatre: Other than fundamental techniques, students have inadequate knowledge of lighting .and sound design. These inequities exist because there are no personnel available with training in these design areas in our program. Training for students is dependent on our financial ability to hire designers outside the university for some specifically more technically challenging productions.

Communication: Continue the practice of approving student PP before use in class; limit the number of slides per presentation; instructor presents two PP presentations—one effective, the other ineffective to draw out the elements that make up an effective PP presentation; ask a guest speaker to discuss the differences between an effective and ineffective PP presentations. Cite studies that indicate problems audiences encounter with professional PP presentations.
Theatre: Experts in these technical areas will be contacted to give students more dynamic options in design. For example, contact the Delta Music Institute Director to establish training workshops conducted by DMI for students for training of theatre students enrolled in THE 339: Dramatic Performance and Production Techniques. Arrange lighting workshops to be conducted by Mark Wise, lighting consultant, and/or by students trained by lighting consultants.

Scores for Informative Speech Assignment (COM 101: Public Speaking)


Number of Sections

Number of Speeches

Number of Speeches that Received a C or Higher

Fall 2009



22 (73%)

Spring 2010



32 (84%)

Note: Students who did not get their topics approved by a specific deadline (and, thus, were not allowed to present their speeches) and/or were absent on the day of a scheduled speech (and did not have a verifiable and documented excuse) were not counted as part of the aggregate.

Scores for Theatre Production Project (THE 225: Introduction to Theatre)


Number of Sections

Number of Students

mber o Number of Participants in Theatre Production Receiving a C or Higher in Class

Fall 2009



9 (69.2%)

Scores for Performance in Campus Theatre Production (THE 224: Theatre Activities)


Number of Sections

Number of Students

Number of Students Receiving an A in Performance

Fall 2009



8 (100%)

Scores for Backstage Crew Performance on Campus Theatre Production (THE 339: Dramatic Performance and Production)


Number of Sections

Number of Students

Number of Students Receiving an A in Backstage Crew Performance

Fall 2009



11 (100%)


Scores for Research Paper (COM 325: Intercultural Communication)


Number of Sections

Number of Papers

Number of Papers that Received a C or Higher

Spring 2010



4 (66%)

Note: Students who did not submit a paper by the deadline (and did not have a verifiable and documented excuse) were not counted as part of the aggregate.
Scores for Relationship Analysis Paper (COM 202: Interpersonal Communication)


Number of Sections

Number of Papers Received

Number of Papers that Received a C or Higher

Fall 2009



10 (71%)

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