General Education FAQ

Answers to many common questions about general education assessment at UCI.

Frequently Asked Questions – General Education Assessment

What are UCI’s expectations about assessing General Education categories?

UCI’s Academic Senate Policy and Assessment Subcommittee (SPCA) has established a policy that departments 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
  5. Submit assessment evidence online.
Have learning outcomes been established for General Education categories?

Yes, learning outcomes were developed by the Academic Senate Council on Educational Policy in 2009.

Please visit the General Education Learning Outcomes page to view each GE learning outcome.

What is the due date for my department’s assessment report?

From 2014-2020, all 8 GE categories were assessed on a regular schedule. Beginning 2022, UCI will pilot a new GE Faculty Learning Community to assess Category II (Science & Technology). The remaining categories will be assessed in subsequent quarters.

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.

How do I assess my General Education course?

UCI will pilot a new GE Learning Community to assess GE courses, and the following method may be altered slightly as the group commences this work. Generally, the GE assessment protocol is as follows:

  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 (visit our Resources page for more information on 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. Administer assessment survey questions developed by the GE Learning Community for the relevant category.
  5. 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.
  6. Determine areas of students being more successful and less successful at meeting learning outcomes; make improvements to the course as necessary.
Do you have any examples of GE assessment reports?

As the GE Learning Community commences their work, additional examples will be provided. 

Two historical examples of UCI GE Assessment reports can be found here and here, and please contact CAAR if you would like to view other examples.

Who reviews assessment reports?

Submitted assessment reports will be reviewed by the Academic Senate Policy and Assessment Committee and the Director of Assessment. Results will be reviewed in aggregate to determine the effectiveness of each General Category in contributing to students successfully meeting the established learning outcomes.

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 Policy and Assessment Subcommittee will review all assessment reports with the goal of providing feedback to departments to ensure high quality assessment practices. The Academic Program Review Board will review assessment reports as part of the School review every 10 years. 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.

This process of assessing General Education seems like a huge burden. How can you make this more manageable?

First, UCI wants to emphasize that faculty are already doing assessmentFaculty 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 contact us so we can assist you.

What additional resources can you provide about effective assessment?

Please visit our Resources page.

Learning Outcomes

View the learning outcomes of UCI’s general education categories.

Assessment Process

Information about the assessment process for general education.

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