In Fall 2012 a Core evaluation team was organized and assessment of the University Core Curriculum was initiated under the direction of Dr. David Slavsky, Core Director. As of Spring 2017, assessment of student learning in the Core has been completed for Tier 1 courses in all six developmentally sequenced Knowledge Areas and all four Knowledge Areas that require one course only. The full timeline for Core assessment is shown below.
Assessment of learning outcomes for the various Knowledge Areas was designed and implemented by faculty and departments who created and teach these Core courses. Of the ten Knowledge Areas, four include courses offered within a single department (Writing/English, Theology, Philosophy, History). The other six Knowledge Areas have multiple academic units contributing courses, with two to six departments offering courses in each of these Areas. All academic units contributing to the Core participated in the assessment process. Three departments actively assessed two different Knowledge Areas in which they teach (Anthropology in Scientific Literacy and in Societal and Cultural Knowledge; Philosophy in Ethics and in Philosophy; Theology in Ethics and Theology).
The types of assessment tools utilized across the ten Knowledge Areas varied by department and included:
a) Pre- and post-essays scored with use of a rubric (Writing, Literary, Philosophy)
b) Pre- and post-quizzes (multiple choice or short answer) scored with a key (Ethics, Theology, Societal, Scientific, Quantitative)
c) Use of a rubric applied to end-of-semester essay or performance (Artistic)
d) Use of both essay and short answer pre- and post-assessment (History)
The assessment project in its entirety involved 188 sections of Core courses taught by 100 instructors (92% full-time) from 18 academic units/departments in which the work of more than 4200 students was assessed in relation to learning outcomes for each of the Core Knowledge Areas. Results are summarized by each of the Knowledge Areas and include characteristics of the assessment plans, sample characteristics, learning outcomes assessed, and assessment findings (Tables 1-4).
In general, the degree of student academic growth varied across Knowledge Areas, departments, courses and sections. Overall, results from these assessments showed positive growth or end of semester achievement for student learning in some or all competencies across 100% of the Knowledge Areas.
Learning outcomes in Tier 2 Core courses are currently being assessed by departments with the support of the evaluation team. Tier 2 assessment results, and additional evaluation data, will be collected, analyzed and synthesized with these initial findings. and utilized by departments to discuss how to build upon course strengths and improve the structure and implementation of the University Core Curriculum.
Core Evaluation Team:
Stacy Wenzel, PhD, Center for Science and Mathematics Education
David Slavsky, PhD, Assistant Provost, Office of Institutional Effectiveness and former Director, University Core
Natalie Mine, BA, Center for Science and Math Education
Nayantara Abraham, MA, Center for Science and Mathematics Education