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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 graduation requirements.

Our goal is to get a global measure of the level of student mastery of the General Education curriculum for each of the competency areas and for the curriculum as a whole. As such, Liberal Studies will select a random sample of course sections within each of the seven substantive areas and E-Series to draw conclusions about how well the curriculum is working for our students. We will aggregate data across sections and areas to produce an overall picture of student achievement across the curriculum. Our goal is not to assess the performance of individual courses or instructors, and we will not use responses to identify individual instructors, sections, courses, or departments. We simply want a good snapshot of how well our curriculum is meeting the needs of FSU undergraduate students.

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 all Liberal Studies course sections must be prepared to provide numeric data that indicate whether students have met each applicable Liberal Studies learning objective as assessed by the instructor through student performance on assignments, tests, quizzes, or other evidence of student learning.

Instructors whose course sections are sampled will be asked to provide the following through a Qualtrics survey:

  1. A copy of the course syllabus as a single PDF document.
  2. The number of students enrolled in the course section.
  3. For each Liberal Studies learning objective:
    • A. A copy of the assessment tool (i.e., the assignment and associated grading rubric, test, or set of questions used to measure student achievement of the given learning objective) as a single PDF document.
    • B. The number of students who completed the assessment.
    • C. The number of students who met the learning objective as measured by the assessment.
    • D. The numeric or letter grade cut point used by the instructor to determine what constitutes meeting the learning 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. A few short answer questions interpreting the data vis a vis course design and context and suggested modifications, if any. These include questions such as, “What features of your course design or delivery were most effective in helping students achieve the learning objectives?” and “Please describe modifications to the course that you or your colleagues might make to enhance student learning.”

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.


Thanks to every instructor who submitted their assessment data in spring semester of 2017. 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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