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Refocusing General Education: A Dialectical Interplay of Accreditation Requirements, Assessment Methods, and Student Learning Competencies Bobby L. Matthews.

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Presentation on theme: "Refocusing General Education: A Dialectical Interplay of Accreditation Requirements, Assessment Methods, and Student Learning Competencies Bobby L. Matthews."— Presentation transcript:

1 Refocusing General Education: A Dialectical Interplay of Accreditation Requirements, Assessment Methods, and Student Learning Competencies Bobby L. Matthews Director, Office of Assessment and Evaluation T. Gilmour Reeve Vice Provost, Office of Academic Affairs Rebecca Owens Instructor and Assistant to the Department Chair, College of Education

2 Refocusing General Education Objectives Identify traditional and emerging concepts of general education Provide an overview of the evolution of general education assessment at LSU Describe the recent initiative to triangulate general education assessment through multiple layers within the university

3 Broad Goals of General Education Courses Traditional (historical) goals of LSU general education: (1) Help students develop subject matter knowledge & insights (e.g., Physics, Sociology, History) (2) Help students develop fundamental skills and abilities (e.g., Writing, Speaking, Critical Thinking) (3) Provide students with experience in how thought and learning are conducted in the specific General Education areas (e.g., Humanities, Social Sciences, Arts)

4 Broad Goals of General Education Courses Current transitional goal for general education at LSU: (4) Provide intentional teaching & learning strategies to reinforce students development of a profile of essential learning competencies

5 Why Competencies? Institutional Course Review - Showed many the stated learning outcomes not addressed Regional - SACSCOC: CS The institution determines general education competencies and the extent to which students achieve them. National - Consensus on profile of well-prepared graduates

6 National Profile of Sufficiently Prepared Student Inquiry and analysis Critical and creative thinking Written and oral communication Quantitative literacy Information literacy Teamwork and problem solving Synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies Civic knowledge and engagement- local and global Intercultural knowledge and competence Ethical reasoning and action Foundations for lifelong learning

7 The LSU Student Profile: 6 Learning Competencies Communicate complex knowledge in multiple media Develop discourse with historical, cultural and philosophical complexity Conduct effective research-based inquiry Employ scientific and mathematical models in solving problems Be conversant with informing factors of global interdependence Be intelligently engaged in service to community

8 Basic Chronology of General Education : Distribution Requirement across 6 general education areas, with 8 student learning goals : Distribution Requirement with criteria for each area and 26 student learning outcomes 2009-present: Distribution requirement with area criteria and 6 learning competencies

9 Refocusing General Education Distribution Requirement with 8 Goals Specific course distribution requirement across 6 general education areas 39 course credit hours 8 Loosely construed goals for student learning No requirement for intentionality

10 Refocusing General Education Distribution Requirement with 8 Goals Sample Goal 1: effective command of written and spoken English Sample 2: comprehension of how knowledge is acquired and applied Sample 3: rational basis for selecting a vocation

11 Findings from the Panel Study of Gen Ed Requirement 65% of students rated effective writers Students writing did not improve 4 years Students not knowledgeable about gen ed Faculty unaware of gen ed goals Faculty unaware of interplay of gen ed courses Students do not value gen ed courses

12 Refocusing General Education Status after completion of 2004 SACSCOC requirement for review of General Education Maintained 39 course credit hours – state-requirement Maintained specific distribution requirement across 6 general education areas Established criteria for each General Education Area Established 26 learning outcomes Established process for reviewing validity of courses No requirement for intentionality

13 Refocusing General Education Post-2004 SACSCOC revisions criteria for Natural Sciences area For inclusion as a Physical Sciences course, a significant fraction of the course must be devoted to one or more of the following criteria: the structure and properties of atoms and matter; chemical reactions, motions and forces; the conservation of energy and the increase in disorder; the interactions of energy and matter; energy in the earth system, geochemical cycles, and the origin and evolution of the universe and the earth system.

14 Refocusing General Education Post 2004-SACSCOC revisions learning outcomes of Natural Sciences area (1) Broad knowledge of existing subject matter in the discipline (2) Knowledge of the underlying principles that govern the natural world (3) A practical understanding of inductive and deductive reasoning processes and their roles in scientific investigation (4) The ability to interpret scientific material presented through various media and in the surrounding world (5) An ability to relate the field of study to other fields in the natural sciences.

15 Refocusing General Education Key finding of Validity Review of 300+ General Education courses: Many of the 26 learning outcomes were not being intentionally addressed in courses

16 Why Competencies? Institutional Course Review - Showed many the stated learning outcomes not addressed Regional - SACSCOC: CS The institution determines general education competencies and the extent to which students achieve them. National - Consensus on profile of well-prepared graduates

17 Refocusing General Education Post Validity Review of all GE courses: Distribution requirement with area criteria and 6 learning competencies Maintains 39 course credit hours – state-requirement Maintains specific distribution requirement across 6 general education areas Maintains criteria for each General Education Area Establishes 6 student learning competencies Establishes Intentionality in course design & assessment Establishes 5-year cycle for validity review of all courses

18 Refocusing General Education Intentionality ability to conduct research-based inquiry Describe [specific] pedagogy [that] will improve students ability to conduct research-based inquiry.... How will the pedagogy utilize the criteria for the Arts Area to develop students ability to conduct research-based inquiry?

19 Refocusing General Education Intentionality assessment of ability to do research-based inquiry Describe the valid and reliable assessment method [that] will provide direct evidence of the extent that students... ability to conduct research-based inquiry in the manner described in the competency has been developed in the course.

20 Refocusing General Education Interactive interlude Intentionality in the course-level implementation of the competency development component

21 Content of Annual Course Report on Students Development of Competency (1) data gathered through implementation of the assessment methods (2) Summary of data analysis by the teaching faculty, with ref. to teaching strategies (3) Statement of impact of analysis on structure and content of the course going forward (4) expression of contribution the course is making to student learning in Gen Ed

22 Refocusing General Education General Education Course Approval – Assessment - Renewal INITIAL COURSE APPROVAL ANNUAL COURSE ASSESSMENT 5-YEAR COURSE RENEWAL

23 Refocusing General Education Multilayered (or Triangulated) Approach to Assessment of General Education Competencies General Education Course Level Graduating Students Level Commercial Instruments Level

24 Refocusing General Education Senior-level assessments Spring Interview of Graduating Students Evaluation of Graduating Students Portfolios Qualitative aggregation of degree program reports on learning outcomes CLA scores (commercial) NSSE item scores (commercial/indirect)

25 Refocusing General Education Triangulated Assessment of a Competency LSU graduates will conduct research-based inquiry, including articulation of complex disciplinary and interdisciplinary problems, effective evaluation and analysis of primary and secondary sources, and integration of relevant information into original discourse.

26 Refocusing General Education Triangulated assessment of learning competency Annual departmental course report on competency development NSSE benchmarks & CLA sub-scores Rubric-based evaluation of graduating student portfolios Rubric-based evaluation of graduating student interview responses Qualitative aggregation of degree-program reports on assessment of learning outcome based on inquiry

27 Course Assessments Senior-Level Assessments Nationally Normed Instruments LSU General Education Outcomes Assessments

28 Course Assessments Senior-Level Assessments Nationally Normed Instruments LSU Student Profile As Evidenced Through Triangulated Assessments

29 Refocusing General Education Concluding Points Active assessment is essential to an effectively implemented general education concept General Education can be a dynamic component of undergraduate education - not just a collection of required courses – even at a sprawling university Focus on competencies in general education course design can bring intentionality to a distributional model

30 Refocusing General Education QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS


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