3. The SLO5 Success Story
In response to a faculty complaint about his students' inability to manage large code libraries, Horstmann (who was the acting chair of the Assessment Committee) decided to initiate a special assessment of SLO5 using specific tasks (see ). He identified four tasks:
Task 1: Compiling and running multi-class programs
Task 2: Running the debugger
Task 3: Generating and browsing javadocs
Task 4: Testing a class
Horstmann designed two tests, one that tested students' abilities to perform these tasks at the beginning level (test 1) and another that tested students' abilities to perform these tasks at the intermediate level (test 2). He gave test 1 to CS151 students at the beginning of the Spring 2009 semester, and to CS46B students at the end of the semester. (CS46B is a prerequisite for CS151, although many students don't take CS151 immediately after CS46B.) He gave test 2 to CS160 students at the beginning of the semester and to CS151 students at the end of the semester. (CS151 is a prerequisite for CS160.) He then observed that, among other things, CS151 students did well on test 1 but poorly on test 2, indicating that CS151 was doing an inadequate job teaching students how to use tools at an intermediate level.