Year of Publication

2017

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chair

Dr. Eugenia Toma

Executive Summary

University of Kentucky assessment findings reveal that UK undergraduate students are not meeting expectations in the area of written communication. More specifically, compared to other four-year institutions, UK students are not achieving expected levels of value-added from their junior to senior year in analytic writing tasks. In response to these findings, UK launched the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), Presentation U – a multimodal communication training initiative. One of the initiative’s core components is the Faculty Fellows Program. Faculty members who choose to participate in the program receive training in oral, written, and visual communication instruction. UK has invested a great deal of time and resources into this program in the hope that it will increase student performance in written communication.

This study evaluates the effectiveness of Presentation U, asking whether students taught by Presentation U Faculty Fellows are more likely to perform higher in the area of written communication compared to similar students whose instructors did not participate in the training program. Additionally, I examine whether the impact of Presentation U varies across key demographics related to the university, course, professor, and student.

Presentation U is assessed against another university assessment initiative – the Multi-State Collaborative (MSC). Student work from both initiatives are scored according to the same Written Communication VALUE rubric and results are compared, controlling for key explanatory variables using a modified production function model with repeated cross-sectional analysis. Results show that Presentation U has no effect on a student’s overall average score; however, the initiative has a negative effect on the rubric criterion “Sources and Evidence” and a positive effect on the rubric criterion “Control of Syntax and Mechanics.”

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