Summary of CAAP Results 2001-2005

Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) tests have been given at Sauk Valley Community College for the last five years. Scores from the College have been compared to 2-year college national means supplied by ACT. The scores received by examinees at Sauk are compared overall as well as a subgroup of (adjusted) Sauk students (those students who have not completed coursework at another institution as indicated by transfer hours). Data are validated for demographic items in lieu of using student reported data.

The Assessment Committee in place at Sauk during the 2001 academic year reviewed the findings and selected the criteria by which to do the analysis. Mathematics, Reading, Writing, Critical Thinking, Science, and Essay were chosen as the most pertinent and meaningful scores and therefore were used in the study. The format of the study was changed slightly in 2002 through suggestions from the committee and remained intact through 2004. That format change did not affect the comparability of the data.

Fall 2005 marked a change in the annual CAAP testing. In the Spring of 2005 we retested students who had previously taken the CAAP exam to try to examine the “value added” by the College. Two issues with the results of the Spring testing were number of exam takers being very low and the fact that the previous CAAP exam had been administered at various places in their education at Sauk. The faculty lead by the Core Assessment Team decided that a better way of testing might be to test entry level students and the retest when students had 45 or more hours. Institutionally it was felt that the best way to capture these students for that first exam was to do the testing in PSY 100, our orientation class that should contain first time freshmen students. Fall 2005 is first semester of such testing. The exam results of these students will be compared to the CAAP exam result of other college freshmen. The students that remain at the College will be tested again after receiving at least 45 college credit hours and compared both to sophomore CAAP norms and their exam scores as freshmen.

The report, completed annually, compares scores of the adjusted group to the national averages in the six noted areas. A correlation analysis between Sauk averages and national averages is completed with tests of significance. The report further breaks down those students into freshman and sophomore groups and again compares them to the national results.

The report summaries from the last three years indicate:

  • 2003
    Sauk sophomores scored better in reading, math, essay, and critical thinking than did their Sauk freshmen counterparts but scored lower in writing and science reasoning. Full-time students scored better than part-time students in all categories. Reading skills did have a significant positive correlation at the with hours completed. Freshmen and sophomores alike had no significant difference with their peers from other 2-year colleges.
  • 2004
    First year in which Sauk sophomores scored higher in every category than their freshmen counterparts. Full-time students scored better than part-time students in all categories. Reading and critical thinking skills had a significant positive correlation with the number of semesters completed. Reading, critical thinking, and math showed a significant correlation to credit hours completed. Sauk sophomores did significantly better than their 2-year college peers on the critical thinking component with no significant differences in any other area.
  • Spring 2005
    A total of 58 exams were completed by students. A summary of those results are as follows:
    1. Only two students completed the Spring Essay test therefore the sample size is too small to make any inferences.
    2. On the remaining exams, at least 46% of Sauk students retaking the exam scored higher. Critical Thinking and Science exams showed that over 60% of the students’ attained higher scores. Math was the lowest at 46%.
    3. The rate of change on all exams was positive in all instances except the statistically insignificant sample Essay exam.
    4. There were significant positive differences in scores on both the Reading and Critical Thinking exams as evidenced by statistical analysis.
There is room for some concern regarding the validity of the results this year due to the small number of student testing. The General Education sub committee as well as the Assessment Committee have discussed this concern and are in the process of developing an alternative plan.
  • Fall 2005
    The average test scores for entering freshmen at Sauk Valley Community College is less than the national norm in every category of the CAAP exam except reading. These lower scores are statistically significantly different in the areas of critical thinking, science reasoning, and essay.


Submitted by the Gen Ed Subcommittee - March 27, 2006