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 1, 2019.
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 this site.
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?
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 this site.
10. Who do I ask for help?
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.