Snow College Ad Hoc General Education Assessment Committee
April 8, 2011
In attendance: Mel Jacobsen, Melanie Jenkins, Vance Larsen
(sitting in for Kim Christison), Joseph Papenfuss, Lynn Poulson,
Cozette Roberts (sitting in for Lisa Anderson), Jeff Carney
(chair), Rick White (ex officio)
Copies of Assessment Clear and Simple (Barbara Waalvoord) were distributed to all committee members.
Members of the committee identified instruments that departments and divisions were already using to assess GE Outcomes. Thefollowing is a summarizes by outcome the discussion that ensued:
1. Read effectively, constructively, and critically. Melanie reported that the English Department currently administers no assessment of reading skills. Rick White indicated that the college was currently administering three sections of the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP), and that one of these sections focused specifically on reading. Members of the committee discussed the possibility that reading is such a general skill that an ideal assessment should be made at the level of the entire GE Program rather than one specific department. Some concerns were raised that courses not currently teaching reading strategies might have to sacrifice course content in order to do so.
2. Write clearly, informatively, and persuasively. Melanie reported that the English Department currently administers no department-wide assessment of writing skills, but that the most recent course evaluations included two survey questions designed to evaluate students' sense of the extent to which they believed their skills were improving. Here too, the committee wondered if writing is such a general skill that an ideal assessment should be made at the level of the entire GE Program rather than one specific department. In regard to outcomes 1-2, Jeff reported that nearly all courses awarding GE credit Outcome 3 also claim to meet Outcome 2, and that with few exceptions, all courses awarding GE credit for Social Science claim to meet Outcomes 1 and 2.
3. Speak effectively in a variety of contexts. Jeff reported that the Communications Department was doing some limited video recording to facilitate objective evaluation of course outcomes, but not specifically GE Outcomes. Jeff also reminded the committee that courses outside the Communications Committee give students credit for Outcome 3, and that this might complicate the process of assessing this outcome.
4. Retrieve, evaluate, interpret, and deliver information through a variety of traditional and electronic media. No one reported that this outcome was specifically being assessed. After some discussion, the committee agreed that on its face, the outcome meant more than the traditional research associated with research papers. Information can be textual, mathematical, visual, musical, and so on, and can be represented by text, graphs, spreadsheets, images, and other media. The committee agreed that a meaningful assessment of this outcome would have to be made at the level of the GE Program.
5. Apply a cultural and historical awareness to a variety of phenomena. No one reported that this outcome was being assessed in a systematic way.
6. Apply computational skills to a variety of contexts. Mel Jacobsen reported that the Math Department does administer departmental examinations for several of the courses that earn GE Math credit. He agreed to look into the matter more closely. Rick White reported that Math is also being tested on this year's CAAP Exam.
7. Apply scientific reasoning to a variety of contexts. Joseph raised the issue that, to his understanding, scientific reasoning cannot be abstracted from scientific content, making this outcome challenging to assess. Jeff asked Joseph if the college might consider revising this outcome so that it is only a part of the Critical Thinking outcome now mandated by Regents Policy R470. Joseph was skeptical. Rick White suggested that Joseph specifically ask members of his division about the matter. Rick also reported that scientific reasoning is also being tested on this year's CAAP Exam.
8. Apply ethical reasoning to a variety of contexts. No one reported that this outcome was being assessed in a systematic way. Jeff reported that while it had generally been believed that the outcome was addressed sporadically in the GE Program, in fact many courses claim to meet it, especially courses that meet Outcome 3.
9. Respond with informed sensitivity to an artistic work or experience. This outcome was not discussed.
10. Apply personal-fitness and wellness-management principles to lifestyle choices. This outcome was not discussed.
11. Use a foreign language in various normal situations. Jeff reported that the Spanish Department administers a department-wide examination at the end of the second-year experience. Other foreign language departments do so sporadically. Most Snow College students who study a foreign language study Spanish. In addition to the instruments discussed above Rick White reported that in alternate years, the college administers the Community College Student Experiences Questionnaire (CCSEQ). Many of the questions correlate well with Snow College's GE Outcomes. While experts agree that while surveys of student attitudes do not completely assess outcomes, they can be used as a part of a more comprehensive assessment procedure.
Given the anticipated CAAP Examination data, Rick suggested that the committee assess Outcomes 1, 6, and 7 (reading, math, and scientific reasoning) for the 2010-2011 academic year. Members of the committee were asked to consider the suggestion before the next meeting.