General Education Course Review

General Education Course Coordinator's Handbook

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Principles and Purpose for Course Review

In 2013–2014, CGEIP reviewed, discussed, and developed an annual report and four-year periodic review processes. This assessment plan was later voted on and adopted by Faculty Senate in March 2015.

The Assessment Plan was revised and voted on and the revised General Education Assessment Plan was adopted by Faculty Senate in February 2018. Below are principles and purpose for the review of courses in General Education at Missouri State University.

Courses in the General Education Program may be exempt from course review if prerequisite/corequisite is a general education course in that same area of study. Exempt courses have all been approved by CGEIP and Faculty Senate.

Principles for Course Review

  1. General education assessment should be meaningful and useful to those teaching the course.
  2. General education assessment should be ongoing and cyclical.
  3. General education assessment is collaborative and should not fall on the shoulders of one faculty member or department head but should promote conversations about student learning.
  4. General education courses submitted an assessment plan with the course proposal. The council understands that assessment plans may need to be modified and streamlined to promote the use and efficacy of the process.
  5. Assessment of student learning is broadly defined to include both qualitative and quantitative, and both direct and indirect measures of student learning.

Purpose of Course Review

  1. Assess the course on the basis of General Goal(s)
  2. Find out if students are providing evidence that they have met our approved General Goal(s)
  3. Provide useful and meaningful information for the instructors of a general education course
  4. Offer evidence that student learning has been looked at in a thoughtful way
  5. Share successes of student learning, areas for improvement, and document the process of assessment changes

General Education Course Reports: The Plan for This Year (2021–2022)

CGEIP, with the approval of Faculty Senate, is piloting some changes to the procedures and expectations for general education course reviews (reports). The following will be a brief summary intended to explain and describe the changes implemented for this year:

What is changing and what is not?

The basic framework for MSU’s general education program is not being changed. However, the focus of reports will change from Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) to the General Goals (GGs). The periodicity of reports will change from annual report plus a periodic (4-year cycle) review to simple biennial reports.

Why does CGEP want to make these change?

The current system is overly burdensome to both coordinators writing reports and CGEIP members reviewing reports.  The changes are intended to both simplify reports and make them more useful for both coordinators and CGEIP.

How will reports change?

The focus of reports will shift from the SLOs to the GGs, allowing coordinators to determine the best ways to demonstrate how their courses’ learning objectives fulfill the general education goals.  Reports should also emphasis evidence of student learning.  

What is happening this year?

The modified plan will be implemented on a trial basis through 2021. With this modified plan, biennial reports will be due the first Monday in December. Courses in the Natural World and Public Affairs areas will be required to provide reports in odd years and in Foundations and Human Cultures will be required to provide reports in even years. In the spring (2022), CGEIP will report the results of the trial run to Senate and make recommendations about how to proceed.

Review Process FAQs

This set of FAQs corresponds to the pilot program being evaluated during the 2019-2020 academic year.

1. A modified general education reporting plan is being piloted this year. What are the key differences between the old system and the new system?

In the old plan, reports focused on Specific Learning Outcomes (SLOs) and the assessment process.  In the pilot program plan, reports will focus on General Goals (GGs) and evidence of student learning.

In the old plan, annual reports were required for all general education courses, and a quadrennial report (periodic review report) was also required. In the pilot plan, biennial reports will be required.

2. I am a coordinator for a general education course. What is my role the assessment and reporting process?

General education course coordinators should not do all of the assessment work – as the title implies, their role is to coordinate. Each general education course should have some common goals addressed in all sections, and the coordinator should communicate with section instructors what the shared goals are and what information instructors will need to provide for the assessment.

The coordinator also organizes the review process, collecting data and feedback from section instructors. The coordinators is also responsible for writing and submitting reports. 

3. Will I need to submit a report this year?

The pilot program will require reports for the Natural World and Public Affairs area courses this year (2019–2020) covering the last few years academic years. If the adjusted schedule continues, reports will be required for Foundations and Human Cultures area courses next year (2020–2021).

4. If I have a report due this year, what is the due date?

December 6, 2021.

5. How will this year’s assessment differ from that of past years?

A key difference is the change in focus from the SLOs to the GGs. Essentially, the questions to address in the report are:

  • What do you want students in your class to learn (discipline-specific knowledge, skills, etc.) that also fits in with your course’s GG? This change allows (encourages) faculty to evaluate their course on the basis of inherent course objectives that also align with general education goals.
  • What evidence do you have that students are learning these topics? You should evaluate results of course assignments, projects, exam questions, etc., that correspond to the topic / goal. You can treat these as “checkpoints” to figure out where your students learned the course materials and where they continued to struggle. For some courses, the previous system’s SLOs may function well as the checkpoints. For others, the SLOs aligned poorly with course objectives. The modified system allows coordinators and their faculty to tailor the checkpoints to their specific discipline and course.

6. When should I begin the assessment process?

Assessment is an ongoing process. If your general education assessment checkpoints align well with your course’s discipline-specific learning objectives, general education assessments should become a natural extension of your evaluation of students’ performances on exams, projects, etc., rather than a separate exercise.

7. Where do I find the report form?

Report forms will be available on the CGEIP website.

8. What information is required for the report?

Some basic information about the report will be required, but enrollment data will automatically be loaded (i.e., you do not need to look this up).

You will need to identify the course’s General Goal(s) (GG(s)) – these will be available from a pull-down menu on the report form.

You will be asked to describe how your course meets the GG(s), and to provide information about student learning / achievements relevant to each goal.

You will be asked to reflect on your course’s success at meeting the GG(s). Where was the course successful / what should be kept the same going forward? Were there any weak areas where you might alter what or how you teach to improve student learning?

You will be asked to provide a representative syllabus for the course.

There is an optional section for reporting diversity content, if any, in your course. 

9. Where do I submit the report?

Report forms will be available on CGEIP website.

10. Who do I ask for help?

There are two CGEIP representatives from most colleges. Talk to your college rep for more information and with questions. You may also contact CGEIP via email.

11. If there are concerns identified during the review process, what happens?

If a course consistently submits unsatisfactory reports (or fails to submit reports), the course may be put on a probationary status and will be required to resubmit their materials in the following year for a new review.  

However, the primary response will be to make suggestions on how to improve the course’s assessment and/or reporting procedures.