General Education

Assessment of Student Learning

Assessment of Student Learning: Distribution Areas

The Committee of Gen Ed Liaisons are currently discussing methods for assessing student learning in the Distribution Areas. The following plan is the first attempt to describe one method:

General Education Assessment
Spring 2010

Distribution Areas

Over the past two years, faculty within each of the distribution areas have met, under the guidance of the Area Liaisons, to formulate objectives for each area.

In 2009 – 2010, the Liaisons began the process of systematically assessing how those objectives are being met. Because this is the first attempt at such an assessment, it is prudent to begin in a limited fashion. However, several forms of assessments can still be used.

Syllabi. Liaisons in all areas have collected course syllabi. These syllabi are being examined to ascertain the extent to which they indicate that individual sections are addressing the area objectives. Analyses will be completed by the end of spring 2010.

Faculty assessment of student achievement of area objectives. A pilot is being conducted in spring 2010, involving 4 areas: 1, 2, 6, and 7. Each Liaison in those areas selects 2 objectives to assess. Approximately 3 weeks before the end of the semester, faculty teaching courses with each of these 4 areas will complete an online survey. For each of the 2 selected objectives faculty will indicate:

  • To what extent the objective was addressed during the semester.
  • The numbers of students who achieved high, medium and low level of proficiency in the objectives.
  • The specific projects, assignments, activities, and/or examination questions on which they based their assessments of student proficiency. (Faculty also will submit copies of these items along with 3 samples of student work: one representing each level of proficiency.)
  • Faculty focus groups from each area, led by the Liaisons, will examine these data during the spring general education workshop. (Might want to tell faculty about this now so they know to save student work!)

Student assessment of their achievement of area objectives. A pilot is being conducted in spring 2010, involving 4 areas: 1, 2, 6, 7. Each Liaison in those areas selects 2 objectives to assess. Approximately 3 weeks before the end of the semester, students enrolled in these courses will be invited to complete an online survey (to improve response rate, incentives will be offered). For each of the 2 selected objectives students will indicate:

  • To what extent the objective was addressed during the semester.
  • Whether they achieved a high, medium or low level of proficiency in the objectives.
  • Faculty focus groups from each area, led by the Liaisons, will examine these data during the spring general education workshop.
  • Fall, 2010. Liaisons from the 4 areas assessed in spring 2010 (Areas 1, 2, 6, 7) will use the results to work with area faculty to clarify objectives, revise assignments/activities/etc., and improve student proficiency, as appropriate. Liaisons from the other 3 areas (Areas 3, 4, 5) and the natural sciences will conduct the faculty and student assessments (after appropriate revisions based on the spring 2010 experience).
  • Spring 2011. Liaisons from Areas 1, 2, 6, 7, will select 2 new objectives to assess. Liaisons from Areas 3, 4, 5 and the natural sciences will use the results from fall 2010 results to work with area faculty to clarify objectives, revise assignments/activities/etc., and improve student proficiency, as appropriate.

Faculty Questions (students’ would be similar to the first three):

  • To what extent was this objective addressed in your section this semester? Barely, a bit, moderately, highly
  • In approximately how many classes was this objective addressed? None/One/Two, a quarter, half, three quarters, almost all
  • How many students in your section would you say achieved a High level of proficiency in this objective <enter number>
  • How many students in your section would you say achieved a Moderate level of proficiency in this objective <enter number>
  • How many students in your section would you say achieved a Low level of proficiency in this objective <enter number>
  • (Note, it would be great if faculty could do all three of these questions on the same screen, so we could encourage them to ensure that the numbers totaled the section enrollment.)
  • Please briefly describe the specific projects, assignments, activities, and/or examination questions on which you based your assessments of student proficiency. (Instructions on submitting these plus student examples.)

V.Prohaska, 2/23/10

Last modified: Oct 13, 2011

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