The pilot program of the initial general education assessment plan was launched in Fall 2013. This stage of the assessment focuses on oral and written communication skills and critical thinking, a component of the analytic, problem-solving, and decision-making skills objective.
Gathering evidence of student learning is an important part of the pilot plan, and the Committee tried to find a way to get this evidence that minimally affects instructor teaching practices. Random samples of New Freshman Seminar (NFS) courses as well as Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) courses were generated. Faculty members teaching these courses were invited to submit samples of student writing or oral presentations that align with the goals of communication and analytical reasoning. By the end of the semester, the committee received samples from thirteen NFS courses and six IS courses. All names and other identifying marks were redacted from the student samples.
Committee members and faculty volunteers are currently in the midst of rating the written artifacts using the newly developed Writing and Critical Thinking rubrics. In addition, oral presentations were evaluated using the Oral Presentation rubric. Results of this pilot program are forthcoming.