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Assessment Plan

Learning Goals



Assessment Data on Entering Majors

Portrait of Entering Majors

What is the age and ethnicity of entering majors and the education of their parents?

First semester sociology majors range in age from 17 to 53, with the average age 25.5. Sixty-one percent of majors are women, 39 percent are men. Nearly a third have fathers whose highest level of education was high school or less (28.2%), while a third (33.4%) have fathers who have graduated from college, have some graduate or professional education, or have a graduate degree. Nearly half of the new majors have mothers who have no college education (43.5%). Forty-three percent of new majors are non-white, 10 percent are African American, 18% Asian, and 15% Hispanic/Latino. Consequently, a significant number of new majors are women, nonwhite, and first generation with college education.

Where are they from?

Almost all new majors graduated from a high school in Northern California (90%); the majority are from the immediate Sacramento area. Thirty percent of new majors graduated in the top 30 percent of their high school class, while a fifth graduated in the bottom 60 percent. Over three-fourths (76.9%) had not attended CSUS previously. Most transferred to CSUS from Northern California community colleges and about half from American River, Cosumnes, Folsom, Sierra, and Sacramento City College. Hence, our majors tend to be from the Sacramento area and performed fairly modestly while in high school.

How many units do they plan on taking and what is their GPA?

The average number of units new majors are planning on taking during their first semester as a sociology major is 13, with about a third planning on enrolling for 12 or fewer units. Fifteen percent of new majors have not taken any college level sociology courses. Among new majors who have taken previous college courses, most had taken introductory sociology, with a range of other courses-- social problems, marriage and the family, race and ethnic relations. Interestingly, a few new majors had taken sociology courses here at CSUS, such as statistics, criminology, courts and prisons, and race and ethnicity suggesting that the department does recruit a few majors as a result of students taking sociology classes at CSUS before they declare sociology as their major. However, the vast majority are transfer students to the department. A little over half of the majors are planning on taking a minor (57.9%). Most minors are in related social science areas, such as anthropology, ethnic studies, psychology, and women’s studies. Forty percent of new majors report having a GPA of 3.00 or above on previous college course work. Only 12% have a GPA of 3.40 or above, while a fifth (21.2%) have a GPA of 2.50 or below. The average GPA of new majors who have taken previous college units is 2.89.

How many hours are they planning on working?

Most new majors are planning on working. Only 11.8 percent indicated they would not work while attending classes. Of those who plan to work, the average number of hours per week is 20.9. A third of the students plan on working more than 25 hours per week.

Why did they select sociology as a major?

More than 65% of the students responded that each of these reasons were either very important or somewhat important.

* I always have been interested in studying people.
* I think it will prepare me for a job helping people.
* I enjoyed the first course I had in sociology.
* I think it might help me understand more about myself
* I think it might help me to understand my place in a global and international world.
* I heard good things about the sociology department at CSUS.

The following are the least important reasons for selecting sociology as a major.

* I am looking for a more general major than one that is focused on career goals.
* My course work in sociology at a community college.
* I want to prepare myself to teach at a high school or college level.
* I think it might help me to change society.
* I heard it was not a difficult major.

It is interesting to note also that over 60 percent (66.7%) of new majors had previously decided to major in another area and then switched to sociology. The previous majors were communications (3), criminal justice (8), liberal studies (2), physical therapy (2), and then a variety of other majors from film to computer science. Some of the reasons given for switching majors were "after I took an econ class, business wasn’t so interesting anymore"; "I found myself more interested in sociology;" "I need to be educated and try to educate others"; "I enjoy knowing why people act certain ways"; "I took a sociology class and found I really enjoyed it"; Sociology is less dry"; "more interesting"; My life itself, it has changed my goals since I last attended college"; "I found CJ to be boring after getting by AA degree"; "sociology gives a more realistic interpretation of how and why people do what they do"; and "sociology was a much more interesting major to me."

What background do new majors have in English, mathematics, statistics, or computer science?

All but 7 of the new majors (82%) indicated they had taken at least one English course in college, while two-thirds indicated they had taken two and one-third three. All but 9 (76%) had taken at least one math or statistics course, while 38% had taken at least two math or statistics classes and 20% had taken three. Six of the students (15%) had taken statistics. However, only 35% of new majors had taken a computer science course, and only one had taken more than one computer course.

What are the career goals of new majors?

Career goals cluster into four categories - not sure (13%); teaching either in high school or college (26%), counseling/social work (20%) and research (5%). Five years after graduation students expect to earn on average $39,000, so their expectations are somewhat modest.

What skills do the new majors consider to be important in the work they wish to do?

New majors essentially believe that the following skills will all be important to them in their careers. Over 90% believe that reading, writing, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, and people management will be very important or somewhat important. Somewhat smaller percentages believe that data analysis (85%), computer use (87%) and statistics (69%) will be very important or somewhat important.









California State University, Sacramento