Indiana University Northwest
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Campus Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Campus Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

General Education Plan

General Education Plan 

Plan for Assessment of General Education Learning Goals

A.  Principles of General Education passed by IU Northwest Faculty Organization 3/24/2006

The following general education principles guide the achievement of excellence in undergraduate education at IUN.  They describe university level capabilities, knowledge across disciplines, awareness of diversity and ethics that we believe every graduate of an IU Northwest baccalaureate degree program should attain.  These principles, as described in Vision Outcome 2, embrace learning experiences that prepare students for lifelong learning, ethical practices, successful careers, and effective citizenship (Appendix C).

Principle Definition

1. Foundations for Effective Learning and Communication

Fluency in reading, writing, and oral communication; mastery of the basic principles of logical, mathematical, and scientific reasoning; and literacy in information resources and learning technologies.

2. Breadth of Learning

Mastery of the core concepts, principles, and methods in arts and humanities, the social sciences, cultural and historical studies, and the mathematical, physical, and life sciences.

3. Critical Thinking, Integration, and Application of Knowledge

Logical analysis and synthesis of information and ideas from multiple perspectives; critical acquisition, integration, and application of knowledge in students’ intellectual, personal, professional, and community lives.

4. Diversity

Valuing the diversity of human experience, as exemplified in race, ethnicity, social class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and disabilities; understanding how these categories are often used to create injustice; recognizing our common human heritage and the interconnectedness of communities in the region, the nation, and the world.

5. Ethics and Citizenship

Knowledge of the principles of ethics and the principles, history, and experience of the structures of governance; the application of the principles of ethics and governance to the larger society, one’s immediate community, or to individual conduct on campus and in society.

B. Outcomes for each of the five principles

Principle 1: Foundations for Effective Learning and Communication

As of August 2007, the General Education/Assessment Committee of the Faculty Organization, in consultation with Deans and relevant departments, had created specific learning outcomes for each of the seven learning domains listed in Principle 1, These learning outcomes are shown in the table below.

1. Reading and writing

  1. Identify the writer¹s central purpose, ideas, goals.
  2. Discriminate between statements of fact and opinion.
  3. Discriminate between emotional and logical arguments.
  4. Analyze information and arguments in order to draw conclusions.
  5. Analyze critically coherence, structure, voice, and style in a written text.
  6. Employ strategies of questioning and paraphrasing in response to a written text.
  7. Write an introduction and conclusion that relates to content
  8. Present ideas in a logical and organized sequence.
  9. Provide clearly written, well described, statistical and/or textual evidence
  10. Incorporate relevant evidence that logically supports the thesis
  11. Use language and style appropriate for audience addressed in writing
  12. Adhere to appropriate documentation style in writing
  13. Produce written text free of surface errors  (grammar, spelling, and punctuation)
Domain

  Outcomes - IU Northwest graduates will:

2. Oral communication

  1.  
    1. Choose, adapt, and restrict the focus of a topic to clarify it according to its purpose and goals.
    2. Formulate a central idea statement appropriate for the purpose and goals of the speech or text.
    3. Cite a variety of credible sources, when appropriate, in the speech or text to support one’s contentions with relevant and adequate evidence
    4. Adapt and structure messages and their delivery or presentation to the audience, situation, purpose, and occasion.
    5. Use principles designed to influence attitudes, beliefs, and actions.
    6. Explain what constitutes plagiarism and use the work of others appropriately
    7. Make effective use of peer critique and other feedback in revision and/or future work.
    8. Follow standard practices in sentence structure, usage, vocabulary, and word choice. 1c, 1h (above)

3. Logical reasoning

  1.  
    1. Distinguish arguments from illustration, explanations, unsupported assertions, and conditionals.
    2. Distinguish between deductive and inductive arguments
    3. Determine whether an argument is valid or invalid, sound or unsound. 1c, 1h, 4c, 5a, 5b (above)

4. Mathematical reasoning

  1.  
    1. se mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables to draw inferences.
    2. epresent mathematical information symbolically, visually, numerically, and verbally.
    3. Use arithmetic, algebraic, geometric, logical, and/or statistical methods to model and solve real world problems.

5. Scientific reasoning

  1.  
    1. Recognize and understand how scientific theories are formulated, tested, and validated.
    2. Approach problems using scientific methods, which include:
      • defining parameters of problem
      • seeking relevant information
      • subjecting proposed solutions to rigorous testing
      • drawing conclusions based on the process

6. Information literacy

  1.  
    1. Determine and define the nature and extent of the information and information sources needed
    2. Access the information efficiently from a diverse set of information sources
    3. Evaluate the information sources critically and incorporate selected information into knowledge and value systems.
    4. Utilize information sources ethically and effectively document and communicate acquired information to accomplish a specific purpose.

7. Learning technologies

  1.  
    1. Use appropriate technologies as a tool to solve real-world problems and to accomplish given tasks.
    2. Demonstrate the ability to use and learn new technologies.
    3. Use computer and other technologies effectively and appropriately to communicate information in a variety of formats.
    4. Use appropriate technology resources to identify and evaluate information.

The Faculty Organization agreed to designated courses which would be required in order to achieve these outcomes at the foundation level.  The same motion included a provision that each of the domains would also be reinforced by coursework at an advanced level, preferably within the student’s major. 

Principle 2: Breadth of Learning

Outcomes for Principle 2 have been proposed by the General Education Committee and feedback on these outcomes has been obtained from COAS faculty.  The VCAA has been asked to seek additional feedback from the Deans.  These outcomes are listed below.

Note:  This table does not include Breadth of Learning outcomes for the areas of math and science because these outcomes are listed in Principle 1, Foundations.

Domain


      Outcomes: IU Northwest graduates will:

1. Arts and Humanities

  1.  
    1. articulate how intellectual traditions from diverse parts of the world have helped shape present cultures.
    2. evaluate significant literary, philosophical, historical, or religious works and approaches.
    3. demonstrate aesthetic appreciation through the experience of fine or performing arts, creative writing or music.
    4. recognize and understand ideas conveyed through visual actions or images and will be able to convey ideas or messages through imagery.

2. Social Sciences

  1.  
    1. explain the methods of inquiry used by social or behavioral scientists.
    2. explain behavior using social or behavioral science theories and concepts.
    3. explain the factors that influence how different societies organize themselves.

3. Cultural and Historical Studies   

  1.  
    1. demonstrate knowledge about diverse cultures and societies.
    2. analyze cultural patterns in terms of language ethnicity (including minority people in the U.S.) status, class, gender, age, or religion, as well as the ways in which these categories co-exist.
    3. analyze the interconnectedness of global and local concerns.
    4. explain how political or historical processes shape civilizations.

Principles 3-5: 

The development of student learning outcomes and required coursework for  principles three through five will occur from 2007 to 2009.  The full implementation of the new General Education principles will begin in the Fall 2010.

C. General Education Assessment plan

Assessment plan elements for foundation courses of Principle 1

  1. Outcomes will be measured annually, starting with fall 2008, using methods recommended by Walvoord (2006). The departments of English, Communications, Mathematics and the sciences should choose 3-4 outcomes from the longer lists to measure in any given year, and include at least one Learning Technology, Information Literacy, and/or Logical Reasoning outcome where relevant.
  2. Departments named above that offer General Education courses in conjunction with Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) will design their own measures and collect results. One direct and one indirect measure should be included. We recommend procedures suggested by Walvoord (2006) for design and reporting.
  3. plans and reports of results will be sent to the COAS Associate Dean, who will collate, analyze, and share them with Chairs’ Council, and send them to a campus assessment coordinator.  The assessment coordinator will consult regularly with the General Education/ Assessment Committee to insure that the plans document continuous improvement.  The General Education/Assessment Committee will recommend policy changes or process changes to facilitate this continuous improvement.

Assessment Plan Elements for Advanced Courses and Principles 2-5

When designated advanced courses and courses for Principles 2,  3, 4 and 5 are approved, the process outlined above will be duplicated, except that it will originate in the department that offers the course(s).  In addition, plans and reports will be send to the Dean of the school or division that originates the course, which may or may not be the Dean and Chairs’ Council of COAS.

In addition to assessment developed in relation to coursework required for meeting outcomes, the assessment plan for Principles 3-5 may include the measurement resulting from co-curricular involvement and enriching educational experiences that may help students meet the outcomes implied by those principles and by the goals of Vision Outcome 2 : lifelong learning, ethical practice, successful careers, and effective citizenship (please see the appendix C).  These experiences could include service learning, study abroad, participation in student governance and other student leadership activities, performance, internships or volunteer student activities.  Data for both curricular and non-curricular activities will be collected from institution-wide Student and/or Alumni Surveys.

D. Recommendations for Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes in General Education

  1. General Education Assessment (and perhaps school and program assessment) should be coordinated by the Campus Assessment Coordinator.  All planning forms and reporting forms should be kept in a central location in Academic Affairs (see also the discussion of roles on page 8).
  2. A uniform planning form, already designed and sent to Principle 1 Chairs (see Appendix A for an example) and a reporting form for departments and deans should be adapted from Walvoord suggested formats (see Appendix B for sample template).
  3. Workshops and or consultation on completing the forms and designing assessments should be offered to chairs and deans during fall 2008.
  4. All of the General Education Learning Goals, assessment plans, and results should published regularly and sent to the Faculty Org, Strategic Planning Committee, Deans Council, etc. ) and be readily accessible on an IU Northwest web  page .
  5. Additional indirect measures of learning outcomes should be collected by the Office of Institutional Research and sent to the Campus Assessment Coordinator.  Examples include alumni survey questions or relevant NSSE questions.  These results will be shared with Deans Council, Strategic Planning, and displayed on a General Education Assessment web page (see also the discussion of roles on page 8).

E. Timeline for Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes for General Education

 General Education Principle

Required
Courses

Co-curricular
activities

Time to begin the assessment cycle

 1. Foundations for Effective Learning and Communication

Foundation courses

To be determined

Annually
(beginning fall 2008 )

Advanced courses

To be determined

Beginning Fall 2012, cycle to be determined

 2.Breadth of Learning

To be determined

To be determined

Fall 2011

 3. Critical Thinking, Integration, and Application of Knowledge

Capstone course

To be determined

Fall 2014

 4. Diversity

To be determined

To be determined

Fall 2012

 5. Ethics and Citizenship

To be determined

To be determined

Fall 2013

F. Matrix Showing Classroom-Based and Institution-Wide Assessment of General Education Principles 1-5 (Note:  ‘P’ below stands for ‘principle.’)

Assessment
Measure
(office where data originate

P1

P2

P3

P4

P5

How data are used for improvement

NSSE
(Institutional Research)

X

X

X

X

X

Results reported to Faculty, VCAA, Strategic planning committee to develop plans for improvement

Alumni Questionnaire
(Alumni Office)

X

X

X

X

X

Results reported to Faculty, VCAA, Strategic planning committee to develop plans for improvement

Analysis of one student assignment  in a General Education class using a rubric based on outcomes
(Department/Division  offering the class)

X

X

X

X

X

Annual meeting  by discipline of all faculty teaching a course to discuss students’ strengths and weaknesses, followed by discussion of pedagogical strategies and recommendations for improvement to divisional dean or assessment coordinator and General Education and Assessment committees