Business Program Assessment




Program-Level Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs)


This assessment addresses programs Accounting, Management and Supervision, Office Administration, Retail Management, and Small Business Operations.


At the completion of one of these Business Programs, a student will:


  1. Be academically prepared to obtain an entry-level position in business.

  2. Use critical thinking to research, analyze and synthesize information to solve common business problems.

  3. Demonstrate strong oral and written skills necessary to effectively collaborate and communicate from a global perspective with diverse groups of people.

  4. Apply business communication skills (written and/or oral) by appropriately using terminology and the business language.

  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the technological skills required to succeed in the modern office and/or business environments.

PSLO Assessment Report Summary


What we looked at:


We focused on PSLO 2. For this project we wanted to assess the degree to which our students could use critical thinking to research, analyze, and synthesize information to solve a common business problem. The case study that we used for this project was at a level that might be expected of a sophomore or junior in college or at a mid-management level in the workplace. We decided to focus on the BUS 18-Microsoft Excel course for this assessment project. The expectation of the Business Program is that all students in our program are preparing for careers, and all students will also pursue more advanced studies. Most students in our program, whether they’re transfer students or heading straight into the workforce, are required to take the BUS 18-Microsoft Excel course.  We used a direct measure of student learning through an assessment of student work. Students in the Business Program need to demonstrate their ability to use critical thinking skills to analyze and synthesize information to solve a common business problem. The case study that we used is attached to this document as is the rubric that was used for assessing the results. Each faculty member was given the case study, a sample solution, a rubric, and five student projects to assess.

What we found: 


2/25 students or 8% solved the problem with unacceptable evidence of critical thinking ability and performance at the college.


6/25 students or 24% solved the problem with a minimally acceptable, inconsistent level of critical thinking ability and performance at the college level.


13/25 students or 52% solved the problem with demonstrable, competent, expected evidence of critical thinking ability and performance at the college level.


4/25 students or 16% solved the problem with a high level of excellence in evidence of critical thinking ability and performance at the college level.



The results of this research project indicate that we do an excellent job of teaching our students how to use the software tool, MS Excel, which is what this course is currently designed to do. We also learned that the more math skills and/or work/business experience the students brought to the table, the better equipped they were to appropriately solve this problem. The students’ work was quite impressive given the diversity of their backgrounds and preparation. Most students (13/25) in the sample demonstrated expected, competent college level critical thinking ability with excellent MS Excel skills. Four students solved the problem at a 90-100% accuracy level. 19/25 students fell short of the 90-100% level of accuracy not because they lacked Excel skills, but because they did not have the math skills and/or business expertise to do so. The four students that achieved 90-100% accuracy were more advanced students with excellent math skills and a good business background. Only 2/25 showed an unacceptable college level of critical thinking skills but demonstrated adequate MS Excel skills.


What are planning to work on: 


We plan to use the results of this project to revise the COOR for BUS 18 and to make it more of a capstone transfer-level course rather than an introductory course. We will add appropriate advisories (pre-algebra level math or above, Introduction to Business, and an introductory course in MS Excel). We will add an additional hour of lecture. We will rewrite the course/schedule description to make it very clear to the reader that the course is not an introductory course but an intermediate to advanced level course. The class will stress critical thinking and problem-solving skills along with technical MS Excel software skills from the beginning to the end of the course rather than just at the end of the course as we do now. The person responsible for implementing this action plan is Theodora Adkins during the spring 2009 semester.