Addendum to the General Studies Assessment Plan
NOTE: SVCAA Hadley, Deans Harrold and Miller, and Dr Taylor attended a AAC&U conference on assessment during June, 2003. They brought back the following recommendations concerning general studies assessment.
- Keep assessment activities simple, possibly using existing course activities as a data collection point.
- Do not attempt to assess the entire general studies program at once. A three-year cycle in which two or three major categories are assessed annually is more manageable and acceptable.
- Simplify the student outcome list to those outcomes that apply to the entire program. So the following four student outcomes are the basis of the assessment.
Across the range of disciplines and courses offered, the General Studies Program is designed to develop and demonstrate the following abilities:
1. the ability to locate and gather information,
2. the capability for critical thinking, reasoning and analyzing,
3. effective communication skills including the ability to read, speak and write effectively, using the materials, ideas, and discourse modes of specific academic areas,
4. an understanding of the experiences and values of groups and cultures which have been historically under-represented.
- Within each category of the general studies program, assess those outcomes (out of the four) that are being met by the category courses.
- The student outcomes for each category in General Studies need to be revised to include only those outcomes that relate to the four general outcomes.
- The data need to be collected toward the end of a general studies course to assess whether the outcome has been achieved.
Changes and Additions to the Assessment Plan
A randomly selected set of courses will be located in the English Language category and the Mathematics category of the General Studies program. We will ask for the cooperation of these instructors to include an item or set of items in their final exam (or late-term assignment) that addresses the appropriate general objectives of the program. (We will need to assure them that we are looking at aggregate data and will not use their students’ performance to assess their individual teaching.)
We will also need to enlist their assistance to develop a rubric for those “non-objective” items. The scoring of the data could be completed by the instructors and by readers trained in the rubric. Other data concerning each student’s background can be collected and entered into the data base for analysis.