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WSU Undergraduate Education WSU Common Reading

Assessment Reports


About Assessment of the WSU Common Reading Program

Two kinds of assessment data are routinely gathered to evaluate the impact of the WSU Common Reading Program.

Quick snapshot evaluations are gathered from attendees at each faculty lecture or campus event sponsored by the Common Reading program. These provide both demographic data about the attendees (year in college, motivation for attending, and class attending for) as well as some basic feedback about the event itself (interest in the event, desire to learn more about the topic, and contribution to understanding a topic in the book). Response rates typically average 60%. (Click here for a sample.)

At the end of Spring semester, first-year students receive an email invitation to a survey about their first-year experience. About 10% of students respond. This anonymous survey asks for some basic demographic information and has students rate first-year outcomes that relate to WSU’s Common Reading Program. After students have rated their experiences, they report on how involved they were with the common reading program: did they read the book? Did they attend programming? How often? Did they have classes that used the book? How was it used? We then look to see if there are differences between how involved students were in Common Reading, and how well they rated their experiences.

Because of a lack of assessment of Common Reading programs, WSU’s basic survey has been used at other institutions in a cooperative research effort. These include Graceland University (IA); Amarillo College (TX); California State University, Sacramento (CA); and the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Institutions interested in using the assessment instrument can find a sample here. Contact Leslie Jo Sena with questions and assistance in setting up the survey for program specific outcomes.


List of Common Reading Assessment Reports


2015-2016: Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption


2014-2015: Edward Humes’ Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash


2013-2014: Kathryn Schulz’s Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error


2012-2013: Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


2011-2012: Richard A. Muller’s Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines


2010-2011: Greg Mortenson’s Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan


2009-2010: Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals