Assessment of General Education
This page contains information about the assessment of General Education courses at UCI. You will find here (1) Course-level student learning outcomes for each General Education category (2) Summary of assessment results for the General Education categories, and (3) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UCI’s requirements for assessing General Education courses.
UCI’s Council on Educational Policy (CEP) approved course level student learning outcomes for General Education in June 2011. The goal of these GE course level outcomes was to identify outcomes that could be achieved by the cluster of courses offered in each GE category.
General Education Course-Level Learning Outcomes
Summary of Assessment Results for GE Categories
Category I: Writing – 2008-2012
Category VII: Multicultural Studies – 2011
Categories II and III: Science and Technology, Social and Behavioral Sciences – 2014-2015
As assessment data is collected for the remaining GE categories, this section will be updated.
FAQs about UCI’s Requirements for Assessing General Education courses
- 1. What are UCI’s expectations about assessing General Education categories?
- 2. Have learning outcomes been established for all General Education courses?
- 3. What is the due date for my assessment report?
- 4. Who is responsible for writing the assessment report for my course?
- 5. How do I write an assessment report for a General Education course?
- 6. How do I assess my General Education course?
- 7. My course is already underway, do I have to create any new assignments or exams to do this assessment?
- 8. Do you have any examples of assessment reports?
- 9. Who reviews assessment reports?
- 10. How will assessment reports be used by the campus?
- 11. This process of assessing General Education courses seems like a huge burden. How can you make this more manageable?
- 12. What additional resources can you provide about effective assessment?
1. What are UCI’s expectations about assessing General Education categories?
UCI’s Academic Senate Assessment Committee has established a policy that all faculty teaching a course designated as General Education should (1) review the learning outcomes established for their GE course and include those outcomes on course syllabi (2) assess these learning outcomes on an ongoing basis (3) use results of these assessments to improve teaching and learning and (4) write a report of the results. While the Assessment Committee expects all faculty to continuously engage in these activities, faculty are responsible for submitting an assessment report every 4 years.
2. Have learning outcomes been established for all General Education courses?
Yes, learning outcomes were developed by the Academic Senate Council on Educational Policy in 2009. Scroll up to ‘General Education Course-Level Learning Outcomes’ for a complete listing of learning outcomes by category.
3. What is the due date for my assessment report?
The Academic Senate Assessment Committee reviews the assessment reports for two General Education categories per academic year. The current schedule is below:
Year 1, 2014-2015: Assessment of GE Categories II and III
Year 2, 2015-2016: Assessment of GE Categories IV and VI
Year 3, 2016-2017: Assessment of GE Categories Va and Vb
Year 4, 2017-2018: Assessment of GE Categories VII and VIII
Please see your official Academic Senate notice for the exact due date for your report.
4. Who is responsible for writing the assessment report for my course?
The Academic Senate expects that assessment is conducted and the report is written by the instructor teaching the General Education course. However, TAs and student readers (if applicable) can contribute to assessment efforts.
5. How do I write an assessment report for a General Education course?
Reports should answer the following questions:
(1) Identify your name, GE course, and number of students enrolled
(2) To what extent do your current course outline and course assignments correspond with the learning outcomes for your GE course?
(3) Summarize the extent to which you felt students successfully met the learning outcomes. Please also provide a percentage of how many students successfully met each outcome. For example, 80% of students achieved learning outcome 1, 70% of students achieved learning outcome 2, 60% of students achieved learning outcome 3, etc.
(4) Based on the results of your assessment, please describe how you plan to use the results to improve the course.
6. How do I assess my General Education course?
In simplified terms, these are the steps:
(1) Identify the course-level learning outcomes to be assessed
(2) Evaluate and review course assignments which could be used to assess the identified learning outcomes (e.g. midterm or final exam, research paper and project, creation of an original piece of art, exhibition or performance, lab report, pre/post comparison, etc). This is called an ’embedded assessment’ approach. Embedded assessments are assignments, activities, or exercises that are done as part of a class (and usually serve as a component of a student’s final grade in the course), but that are also used to provide assessment data about a particular learning outcome. The course instructor (with the assistance of TAs, student readers, or other evaluators, if applicable) then evaluates the student work, often using a rubric.
Association of American Colleges & Universities VALUE rubrics
(3) Identify the elements from these assignments that, if assessed, can determine whether a student has successfully met the learning outcome. For example, if a multiple-choice final exam is selected as the assessment method, the instructor could select specific questions (or insert new questions) reflecting the learning outcome and score the percentage of students answering those questions correctly. If a paper or performance is selected as the assessment method, the instructor could create a rubric for scoring that paper or performance, include a dimension on the rubric that reflects the learning outcome, and score how many students performed successfully on that dimension.
(4) Collect the results of assessment tools. Analyze the specific items, rubric dimensions, etc. across all students to determine how successful students were in achieving that learning outcome.
(5) Determine areas of students being more successful and less successful at meeting learning outcomes; make adjustments to the course as necessary.
7. My course is already underway, do I have to create any new assignments or exams to do this assessment?
As long as your course outline and objectives reasonably align with the learning outcomes for your GE category, we do not expect you to create any new assignments, exams, or other independent measures to carry out an assessment of your course. Rather, we hope and expect that you will use assignments already in place. However, you may have to score and evaluate a subset of questions or dimensions from these assignments.
8. Do you have any examples of assessment reports?
The Academic Senate’s policy is that “final assessment reports are meant to be self-critical, and thus will not be publicly available.” However, a number of faculty have agreed to disseminate their reports to serve as a model to other programs. More examples will be added as UCI reviews additional General Education categories.
9. Who reviews assessment reports?
Submitted assessment reports will be reviewed by the Academic Senate Assessment Committee and the Campus Assessment Coordinator. Results will be reviewed in aggregate to determine the effectiveness of each General Category in contributing to students successfully meeting the established learning outcomes.
10. How will assessment reports be used by the campus?
The primary goal of assessment is the improvement of teaching and learning, so we expect that your department will be the primary user of the assessment reports. The Academic Senate Assessment Committee will review all assessment reports with the goal of determining whether the General Education categories are achieving their intended learning outcomes. And reports will be reviewed by WASC, UCI’s regional accrediting body, to ensure compliance with accreditation standards and to ensure the campus (1) uses data and systematic processes to improve teaching and learning and (2) provides high quality education to its students. Assessment reports may also be reviewed by discipline-specific accrediting agencies, such as ABET, CCNE, AACSB, etc.
11. This process of assessing General Education courses seems like a huge burden. How can you make this more manageable?
First, UCI wants to emphasize that faculty are already doing assessment. Faculty provide ongoing feedback to students about their progress, grade student work, and continuously assess the quality of their teaching. Assessment is simply a means for “systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well student learning matches our expectations” (Angelo, 1995). While assessment does not have to be scholarly research (although in many cases it can be), it represents a way to empirically verify what you suspect is happening in the classroom. UCI expects that you will document the good work you are already doing.
Second, we are here to help! The Center for Assessment and Applied Research can help you with the process. Please see our contact information.
12. What additional resources can you provide about effective assessment?
Please visit our Resources for Conducting Assessment page.