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General Education and Assessment: Engaging Critical Questions, Fostering Critical Learning Strategies for Assessing Student Learning in General Education.

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Presentation on theme: "General Education and Assessment: Engaging Critical Questions, Fostering Critical Learning Strategies for Assessing Student Learning in General Education."— Presentation transcript:

1 General Education and Assessment: Engaging Critical Questions, Fostering Critical Learning Strategies for Assessing Student Learning in General Education Thomas B. Westcott Assistant Dean, University Advising Jane S. Halonen Dean, College of Arts and Sciences Claudia J. Stanny Director, Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment American Association for Colleges & Universities March 1-3, 2007, Miami, Florida

2 2003-4: A Very Rugged Year Anticipated SACS visit Unanticipated state mandate to adopt Academic Learning Compacts Hurricane Ivan: most destructive weather event to hit a Florida campus in history Hurricane Dennis: not as devastating but disruptive to recovery

3 How did these interplay? The hurricanes slowed down the ALC schedule of deadlines. The ALC mandate allowed us to back away from an outmoded notion of assessment via grade distribution. The threat of SACS helped faculty get on board without more predictable resistance.

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5 Academic Learning Compacts at the University of West Florida Content Critical Thinking Communication Integrity / Values Project Management Optional Domain – Specific to Discipline

6 General Studies / Academic Foundations Critical Thinking Communication Integrity / Values Project Management Clusters of common student learning outcomes in undergraduate programs suggested foundation learning outcomes in these domains for the General Studies curriculum

7 Academic Foundations Matrix Each Department Assesses Two Learning Outcomes in a Course

8 Multicultural Course (Fall 2007) Multicultural Course (Fall 2007)

9 Assessing the Assessment Plan What types of embedded assessments might a typical student experience as he or she selects courses to complete General Studies requirements? Sampled 218 academic records for students graduating in December, 2006 (selected all students from each of 9 majors) Determined which courses students took to meet General Studies requirements

10 Assessing the Assessment Plan Good news: Students who enter UWF as freshman would experience embedded assessments in all domains Challenge: 83% of students transfer General Studies course work from another institution 47 % enter with an AA degree 36 % transfer one or more General Studies courses from another institution

11 Academic Foundations Development of student learning outcomes across the academic career Goal is to establish basic skills – the initial stages of student learning Provides an opportunity for students to integrate initial college experiences Skills are reinforced and developed in the major Assessment for mastery of skills occurs in capstone courses in the major

12 Integration of Assessment Efforts Across Educational Programs Academic Foundations / General Studies Initial stages of student learning Learning distributed across disciplines Undergraduate Programs Reinforcement and development of student learning Learning specialized to major discipline Graduate Programs Development of professional level of expert skill Expertise is specific to the discipline

13 Conclusions Challenges Aligning instructors in multi-section courses Helping faculty understand (and believe) that they have control of the assessment process Encouraging use of assessment to ask questions that are meaningful to departments How to address General Studies competencies completed at other institutions? Questions?

14 Contact Information Dr. Thomas B. Westcott Assistant Dean, University Advising Jane S. Halonen Dean, College of Arts and Sciences Claudia J. Stanny Director, Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment


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