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Liberal Studies

for the 21st Century

Program Evaluation and Assessment of Student Learning


Assessment is a critical element of effective pedagogy. To provide our students with a curriculum that builds a rigorous foundation for student success in the major and beyond, the Liberal Studies program must have a clear sense of how well the course requirements, design, and offerings support student learning. Having meaningful assessment data provides individual instructors with feedback about how well students grasp the ideas, concepts, and intellectual skills desired in the course. Also, course- based assessments help instructors identify areas where additional clarification or reinforcement is needed to enhance student learning.

The assessment of student learning also provides important program information that the faculty-governed Liberal Studies Coordinating and Policy Committee can use to evaluate the efficacy of the program including curriculum requirements, Liberal Studies course types (designations), and student learning. The ultimate goal of evaluating the Liberal Studies program is to assure that we provide the strongest curriculum possible for our students in a way that is also feasible for instructors. The Liberal Studies evaluation plan must also meet the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) (3.5.1. SACSCOC)

Liberal Studies Data Collection—What and How to Report

At present, outcome data will be collected on student learning outcomes for the Liberal Studies General Education requirements during spring semester of every academic year. We will not collect data on the Liberal Studies University-wide requirements.

Our goal is to get a global measure of the level of student mastery of the General Education curriculum for the competency areas and as a whole. As such, Liberal Studies will select a random sample of courses within each of the six substantive areas and E-Series to draw conclusions about how well the curriculum is working for our students. Our goal is not to assess the performance of individual courses or instructors.

The requisite competency data for the assessment of student performance will be measured using the faculty-approved Liberal Studies learning objectives as a yardstick. Instructors of every Liberal Studies course sections must be prepared to provide numeric data that indicates whether students have met each area competency through performance on assignments, tests, quizzes, or other evidence of student learning. In the spring of each academic year a sample of course sections will be selected for inclusion in our evaluation of the General Education curriculum.

Instructors whose course sections are sampled will be asked to provide the following:

  1. A copy of the course syllabus.
  2. The mechanism by which the instructor measured student achievement of each Liberal Studies learning objective, including a copy of the assignment or test question set and the grading criteria (such as a rubric) used.
  3. A numeric or letter grade cut-point used to determine whether students met the objective. This is normally what instructors deem to be “competent” by their standards, such as 70% or above, a 3.5/5 on a component of a rubric, a specific score on a curve, and so forth. As a general guideline, grades of a C-level or higher on an assignment (or a relevant portion of an assignment) should indicate that the student has successfully achieved the learning objective.
  4. The number of students who were assessed (i.e., the denominator for calculating overall student mastery of the learning objective).
  5. The number of students who met each learning objective(i.e.,the numerator).

The Liberal Studies office will calculate the total proportion of students who met the learning objective (n/N) across sampled course sections for each competency designation area.

N.B. – Instructors must measure and collect data for each specific Liberal Studies learning objective within the sampled competency designation. All instructors of a sampled Liberal Studies course section—including TAs and adjunct instructors—must be prepared to collect and report these data.

The Liberal Studies office will provide a SharePoint site or other electronic means of reporting data, depending on the most efficient and user-friendly program available. Instructors of sampled courses will be asked to report on learning objectives for only one competency designation (e.g., E-Series or History), even if the course has been approved for more than one. General Education Assessment Rubric for Instructors


Thanks to every instructor who submitted their assessment data in spring semester of 2016. Results of that assessment will be reported soon.

Liberal Studies for the 21st Century is located in room A3502 on the third floor of University Center C in the stadium


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