“A good assessment system will be critical to our success in making continual improvements in the general education program. General education assessment is not going to go away. Assessment of student learning outcomes is a national expectation in higher education, in response to calls for increased accountability.”

—    Shirley Willihnganz, Provost

With these words at the forefront of planning, the General Education Curriculum Committee (GECC), with guidance from its Assessment Subcommittee, developed a unique plan and procedure for assessing general education courses.
In alignment with the Statewide General Education Assessment Plan, all content areas are assessed within a three-year cycle. The GECC Assessment Subcommittee determines the cycle of assessment for general education content areas within the three-year timeline. The department and general education courses selected for each assessment are based upon the content area selected for assessment.

The General Education Assessment Coordinator notifies department chairs of upcoming assessments and meets with them to disseminate all pertinent information. An overview of the project, the outcomes to be assessed, and sampling process is provided in a preliminary meeting with the department chair.

After the semester drop deadline has passed, the Assessment Coordinator requests the class rosters for the identified general education courses from the Office of the Registrar and systematically selects every fourth student for assessment from each class roster. Instructions and assessment rosters are distributed to course instructors with the selected students’ names and identification numbers.

Course instructors are asked to identify an embedded course assignment aligned with the general education outcomes and submit a copy of the prompt, along with ungraded and unmarked copies of the associated student responses, to the Assessment Coordinator. To protect student and instructor anonymity, the student’s name, instructor’s name, and course identification are removed by the instructor prior to submission. The Assessment Coordinator works directly with course instructors or department personnel to collect the requested student artifacts and also verifies that identifying information has been removed from artifacts prior to the assessment reading.

Notices are sent to Deans and Department Chairs to recruit faculty and graduate teaching assistants as readers for the assessment. All readers complete mandatory assessment training prior to the assessment to ensure validity and reliability. Readers then complete a holistic assessment of each assigned student artifact using the identified general education assessment rubric(s). The results of each assessment are reported to the General Education Curriculum Committee.