Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Agriculture

Degree Type

Master of Science


Outcomes assessment is the process of determining student progress in a class or academic program. Students, (n = 306), from six freshman-level introductory animal science classes at Western Kentucky University (WKU) were given subjective and objective evaluation instruments on the first and last day of class. Students self evaluated competencies on each of forty-nine course outcomes using a scale of 1-100. Twenty-one demographic questions were also answered. Students were given the same 50-question examination following completion of the subjective assessment on the first and last day of class. Student high school performance measures including the American College Test scores (ACT), percentile rank within class (HSPILE), and high school grade point average (HSGPA) were collected. Dependant variables were average beginning assessment (ABA), average ending assessment (AEA), average improvement (AI), initial test score (ITS), last day test score (LDTS), test improvement (TI), final test score (FTS) and final average (FA). Section, semester, and year effects were also statistically evaluated. Independent variables included hours completed at WKU, student type, gender, lab enrollment, community size, and activities. ACT English score (ENG), ACT math score (MATH), ACT reading score (READ), ACT science score (SCI), composite ACT score (COMP), HSPILE, and HSGPA were included as linear covariates in the analyses of variables. Year had a significant effect on ITS (P = .0002) and TI (P = .03). Accumulated Western Kentucky University hours significantly affected AEA (P = .06), TI (P = .09), and FTS (P = .08) and also approached significance for ITS (P = .12) and LDTS (P = .13). Student type approached significance for ABA (P = .12). Gender significantly affected AEA (P = .07). Lab enrollment had significant effects on AI (P = .07), ITS (P = .008), FT (P = .09), and FA (P = .01). Community size significantly affected AEA (P = .10) and LDTS (P = .10). The degree of activity in 4-H or FFA (none, 4-H or FFA, or 4-H and FFA) significantly affected ITS (P = .09) and TI (P = .02). Coefficients of correlation between subjective and objective measures in the study show that there was little relationship between subjective and objective measures (r < .34). ABA and AI were negatively correlated (r = -.84) indicating that students perceived they had gained knowledge in the subjects presented upon their completion of the class. Coefficients of correlation between pre-college performance measures and student perceptions of knowledge were low (r < .14). ITS, LDTS, and TI were moderately correlated with pre-college performance measures (r = .02 to .36). Results of this study conclude that there is need for developing an assessment tool that implements both subjective and objective measures in order to be more accountable for the material students learn and their opinions of the class.


Agriculture | Education