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OCTOBER An Uncommon Approach to Common Assessment of General Education Jeanne Butler, Ph.D., Director of Assessment Daren Snider, Ph.D., Director of General Studies University of Nebraska Kearney
Meet the Presenters Jeanne Butler Director of Assessment at UNK since 2004 Former faculty member at Boston University, University of Southern California and Western Governors University Daren Snider Director of General Studies at UNK since 2006 Associate professor of modern languages Also taught at Skidmore College and BYU
Presentation Overview University of Nebraska Kearney Renewing General Education Challenges for GE Renewal Lessons Learned Next Steps Questions
University of Nebraska Kearney Ranked as a Top 10 Public Midwest Regional University by U.S. News & World Report Student/faculty ratio of 16 to 1 99% of full-time faculty teach undergraduate courses. 7,100 students enrolled in: 170 undergraduate majors 25 pre-professional programs 34 graduate programs
2010-2013 2010 2005-2008 2004 No assessment of GE taking place HLC accreditation visit GE assessment at the department level Survey of student and faculty perceptions of GE HLC visit focused on assessment Common assignments and rubrics used to assess learning outcomes in the new GE program Selected TaskStream to facilitate work Phased implementation of common assessments The New General Education Program
2004 Accreditation Visit Feedback Areas for improvement: Infrastructure to Support Assessment Faculty Commitment to Assessment Recognition of Exemplary Assessment Assessment Process Sustainability GE Program Assessment
Faculty and Student Surveys Surveys in 2005 and 2006 Areas for improvement: Lack of clarity in the purpose and goals of the program Lack of student/faculty understanding of the program Lack of coherence in the program Both students and faculty wanted changes in the program.
2008 Accreditation Visit Feedback Feedback showed the program needed: Common GE learning outcomes across the university Common assessment measures Standard rubrics for evaluation Coherent, purposeful curriculum Status report on implementation of the new General Education program requested for 2011
Challenges for GE Renewal Logistical and financial support Structure of the new program Common assessment assignments Common rubrics Support of the faculty and students
Logistical and Financial Challenges Analysis of large volumes of data Course, division, and program level data analysis Longitudinal data analysis Financial options
Structure of the New GE Program Capstone Distribution Portal Foundational Core
Portal Course (3 hours) Purpose: –Help students become intentional learners –Analyze critical issues confronting individuals/society –Strengthen critical thinking –Mentor through the process of analyzing, articulating own conclusions Features: –Includes “global perspective” –Emphasizes writing
Capstone Course (3 hours) Features: –Culmination of the GE experience –Integration of two disciplines –Uses rubric similar to Portal to gauge value added –Students apply knowledge, cognitive abilities, and communication skills from GE –Students complete an original project (50% of course grade)
Common Assessment Assignments AAC&U VALUE project Best practices at other universities GE Council approval Course instructor chooses one of six common assignments
Common Portal Assignments Integrated Summary –Use selected articles and show critical understanding of the topic within the context of the discipline. Current Events Analysis –Use theories, concepts, and ideas learned in class to analyze a current event(s). Controversial Issue Analysis –Contrast two credible sources to analyze a controversial topic in the discipline.
Common Portal Assignments Research Proposal –Reflect on the value of a study, then propose a follow-up study to correct weaknesses or further understanding of the topic. Community Introspection –Analyze the relationship between the topic and relevant social policies, laws, or practices. Media Analysis –Analyze different cultural perspectives about an issue as portrayed in media reports.
Option 6: Media Analysis Instructor selects a topic addressed in the global media community that is relevant to course concepts, issues, or theories. Students are instructed: Utilizing your textbook and the Internet as resources, your task is to find two different cultural perspectives as indicated by media reports about (chosen topic). You will conduct a web search for the topic and find relevant, reliable media reports that represent different cultural perspectives surrounding the target issue. Compare and contrast how different cultural perspectives describe the topic, then critically apply course concepts to highlight how the academic community in our culture understands the issue. Your media analysis should be 2- 3 pages double- spaced (not including title or reference page) and should be written in a style appropriate to the discipline.
Common Rubrics AAC&U VALUE Rubrics adapted to fit our outcomes Rubrics approved by faculty Rubrics available in TaskStream Course instructor is trained on the use of the rubrics
Portal Rubric Does not meet criteria BeginningDevelopingProficientAdvanced Student’s position No stated position. Position implied but not stated. Position stated but is simplistic or obvious. Position considers complexities of issue. Synthesizes viewpoints in evaluating complexities. Content development No content development. Uses related content to develop simple ideas in some parts of work. Uses related content to develop ideas throughout work. Uses relevant, persuasive content to develop ideas throughout. Uses relevant/ compelling content to convey writer’s understanding. Evaluate information/ sources No awareness of assumptions. Shows minimal awareness of assumptions. Shows emerging awareness of others’ assumptions. Identifies and questions their own and others’ assumptions. Thoroughly analyzes their own and others’ assumptions. Conclusions No stated conclusion. Conclusion stated and loosely connected to information. Conclusion tied to information and some related implications. Conclusion logically tied to information and opposing viewpoints. Conclusion and implications reflect fully informed evaluation.
Faculty Engagement Faculty participation in roundtables Open communication to all faculty Policy related to use of e-portfolio Orientation/training for all faculty Technical support for faculty Incentives for faculty and departments
Student Engagement Information on TaskStream requirement for GE in: Admissions packet to all students Flyer at New Student Orientation and on Transfer Student Day All syllabi for GE courses Dedicated website for TaskStream at UNK Technical support for students Article in the student newspaper, The Antelope, on the TaskStream requirement and how to purchase it
Meeting the Challenges LAT by TaskStream e-portfolio provides: Analysis of large volumes of data Course, division, and program level data analysis Longitudinal data analysis Faculty and student use reports Reasonable cost for university-wide application Ease of use for students and faculty Full support for students and faculty
Accomplishments So Far Fulfilled ongoing accreditation mandates Greater validity in assessment of GE program Campus-wide conversation about learning outcomes Increased clarity about purpose of GE Greater vision about teaching critical thinking Use of e-portfolios across the campus
Lessons Learned Obtain approval at all levels—Provost, Deans, Chairs, Faculty Establish policies to ensure faculty and student participation Provide incentives to encourage faculty participation Address resistance immediately to minimize impact Provide frequent/accessible communication Provide adequate orientation/training
Next Steps Implement common instruments and rubrics Foundational Core –Written Communication –Oral Communication –Democracy in Perspective Distribution Courses –Natural Science –Social Science –Fine Arts –Wellness
Challenges for the Future Creating a unified orientation for faculty on TaskStream and on rubrics from different areas of GE Deciding on sample sizes and rotation schedule Continuing information flow to faculty to ensure continued participation Setting up access to TaskStream for various levels (chair, dean, provost, assessment committee, etc.) Deciding how to share the data Motivating students to use TaskStream
Achieving Our Mission TaskStream helps UNK meet our General Education Mission: The UNK General Education program helps students acquire knowledge and abilities to: understand the world, make connections across disciplines, and contribute to the solution of contemporary problems.