One fundamental purpose of a liberal education is to ensure the acquisition of knowledge common to educated people and to equip students to integrate acquired knowledge in order to produce interconnections of thoughts and ideas.
General Education Learning Goals provide a framework for aligning, designing, delivering, and assessing student learning across the general education curriculum.
Southeast Missouri State University prioritizes seven general education learning goals, as shown in the table below. These institutional goals for student learning align with the four CORE42 learning competencies for the State of Missouri which are:
- Managing Information
- Higher Order Thinking
Level of Achievement
The level of achievement for each goal is assessed in multiple ways. The initial assessment utilizes rubrics in the LMS in which faculty teaching those courses score each student’s assignments tied to the particular general education goal. Additionally, on the cycle shown below, peers review random samples of student work and assess it using modified AAC&U Value rubrics. Those results are shared with the faculty and difference and similarities between the scores are discussed.
General Education Learning Goals/Outcomes
Students will demonstrate the ability to assess their own ethical values and the social context of problems, recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings, think about how different ethical perspectives might be applied to ethical dilemmas and consider the ramifications of alternative actions.
Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze and engage with complex, interdependent global systems and legacies (such as natural, physical, social, cultural, economic, and political) and their implications for people’s lives and the Earth’s sustainability.
Students will demonstrate effective written communication in a variety of contexts and media.
Students will demonstrate effective verbal communication through various channels.
Students will demonstrate the ability to locate, organize, evaluate, and synthesize information from various sources.
Students will demonstrate the ability to distinguish among opinion, facts, and inferences; to identify underlying or implicit assumptions; to make informed judgments; to solve problems; and to practice reflective thinking.
Students will demonstrate a ‘habit of mind’, competency, and comfort in working with numerical data across a variety of contexts.
Four-Year General Education Assessment Timeline 2020-2024
|Assessment and Evaluation Activity||2020-2021||2021-2022||2022-2023||2023-2024|
|Collect data/Evaluate data including the processes||Written Comm, Oral Comm||Information Literacy, Quantitative Literacy, Ethical Reasoning||Critical Thinking, Global Learning||Written Comm, Oral Comm|
|Deliver report findings to constituents||Written Comm, Oral Comm||Information Literacy, Quantitative Literacy, Ethical Reasoning||Critical Thinking, Global Learning||Written Comm, Oral Comm|
|Take actions where necessary||Written Comm, Oral Comm||Information Literacy, Quantitative Literacy, Ethical Reasoning||Critical Thinking, Global Learning||Written Comm, Oral Comm|
|Review the competency if necessary||Written Comm, Oral Comm||Information Literacy, Quantitative Literacy, Ethical Reasoning||Critical Thinking, Global Learning||Written Comm, Oral Comm|
Faculty Assessment Process
- All general education courses must have identified primary, secondary, and tertiary goals from the seven general education goals.
- Prior to the semester of data collection, the General Education Coordinator meets with faculty teaching a course covering the goal being assessed. The faculty collaboratively develop, refine, or just review the current assessment rubric.
- If the faculty are utilizing the LMS, they will ensure the outcome is mapped to the particular assessment in their course.
- During the semester of data collection, the faculty will score the assignment identified as being the measure for the general education goal.
- The following semester, the General Education Coordinator works with IR and IT to compile the reports regarding student performance and the attainment of the general education goal/outcome.
- Results are summarized for institutional reporting and review, and detailed reports are shared with faculty teaching those courses.
- The General Education Coordinator schedules a meeting(s) with the faculty to discuss the results and any suggested or needed changes to help improve student performance.
- Suggested changes are documented and implemented for the following cycle and those results are compared to previous results to determine if the changes had the desired impacts.
- The process repeats.
Peer Review – Secondary Mode of Assessment
- On the defined cycle, a group of peer volunteers will evaluate a random sample of student work.
- The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) will randomly pull the determined number of samples
- The peer group will score those samples using modified AAC&U VALUE rubrics
- Those results will be aggregated, and a report will be generated by the General Education Coordinator.
- The results will be shared with the faculty during the assessment meeting and any differences and similarities will be discussed.
General Education Reports
Outcome 3 – Written Communication Report Summary – Spring 2021
To assess the Written Communication learning goal of Southeast’s General Education program, a random sample of two hundred English 100 Portfolios was assessed with a standard rubric by a trained, interdisciplinary group of faculty.
The Coordinator of General Education analyzed the resulting rubric data and observed that “Rhetorical Knowledge” scores positively correlate with “Critical Thinking” and “Writing Process” scores. This report recommends that the English Department evaluate current pedagogy for teaching rhetorical knowledge and identify opportunities for improving this pedagogy.
The Coordinator of General Education consulted with the Director of Composition about using the English 100 Portfolio rubric for the purposes of assessing the Written Communication GELO. They concluded that the Portfolio rubric aligned well with the original VALUE rubric for Written Communication and the modified VALUE rubric for Southeast’s writing curriculum.
The English 100 Portfolio rubric assesses student work based on five criteria:
- Rhetorical Knowledge;
- Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing;
- Writing as a Process;
- Grammatical and Mechanical Conventions; and
- Portfolio Construction.
The Portfolio rubric provides detailed descriptions of “Excels,” “Above Average,” “Adequate,” “Developing,” and “Not Yet Developed” for each criterion. The Coordinator condensed the rubric to only the criteria and ratings, making it more usable for assessment via a digital form.
Written Communication Overall Results – Spring 2021
The overwhelming majority of English 100 students in the sample scored “Adequate,” “Above Average,” or “Excels” in all criteria. A large majority of students scoring below “Adequate” still scored “Developing.” Only a small number and percentage of students scored “Not Yet Developed” on any criterion.
Table 1 summarizes the overall results.
|Written CommunicatioN, SP21||Rhetorical Knowledge||Critical Thinking, Reading, Writing||Writing as a Process||Grammatical Conventions|
|Not Yet Developed||5%||4.5%||5%||1%|
There are strong positive correlations among scores in the Rhetorical Knowledge, Critical Thinking, and Writing Process criteria. Students who meet the benchmarks in one criterion typically meet the benchmarks for other criteria.
- Students who score “Excels” in one criterion typically score “Excels” or “Above Average” in the other criteria.
- Students who score “Developing” in one criterion typically score “Adequate” or “Developing” in the other criteria.
- Students who score “Not Yet Developed” in one criterion generally score “Not Yet Developed” across all criteria, except for scoring “Adequate” in Grammatical & Mechanical Conventions.
- Virtually all students in the sample scored “Adequate” or higher on Grammatical and Mechanical Conventions.
Scores of “Above Average” on Rhetorical Knowledge and Critical Thinking are strongly correlated. Students who score “Above Average” on Rhetorical Knowledge have the largest probability of achieving “Above Average” on Critical Thinking and Writing Process and a 100% probability of meeting the benchmarks for all three criteria.
Outcome 4 – Oral Communication Report Summary – Spring 2021
To assess the Oral Communication learning goal of Southeast’s General Education program, a random sample of more than one hundred Speech Communication 105 Informative Speeches was assessed with a standard rubric by a trained, interdisciplinary group of faculty. The Coordinator of General Education analyzed the resulting rubric data.
Lower scores on Content positively correlate with lower scores on Structure and Delivery. To improve Structure and (especially) Delivery, then, it may be helpful to focus on Content development.
Lower scores on Structure and Delivery correlate positively with lower scores on Visual Aids. For most students, lacking Visual Aids did not prevent performing well on other criteria. Some students, however, may perform better on Structure and Delivery if they develop and include Visual Aids.
This report recommends that the Speech Communication faculty evaluate their current pedagogy and identify opportunities for improving the teaching of:
- Content and its relationship to Structure and Delivery; and
- Visual Aids and their relationship to Structure and Delivery.
The Coordinator of General Education worked with Speech Communication faculty to modify the VALUE rubric for Oral Communication for the purposes of assessing the Oral Communication GELO (Appendices A and B). The VALUE rubrics provide normed benchmarks. Modifying the VALUE rubric ensured that the sample of Informative Speeches would be assessed appropriately in light of the Speech Communication faculty’s pedagogy.
The modified VALUE rubric, or Informative Speech rubric, assesses student oral communication based on five criteria:
- Information Literacy;
- Visual Aids; and
The modified VALUE rubric provides detailed descriptions of “Capstone,” “Milestones,” and “Benchmark” for each criterion. The Coordinator of General Education condensed the rubric to only the criteria and ratings, making it more usable for assessment via a digital form.
Oral Communication Overall Results – Spring 2021
The overwhelming majority of speeches scored “Capstone” or “Milestone 3” on Information Literacy, Structure, and Content. Over half of speeches also scored “Capstone” or “Milestone 3” on Delivery.
Over half of speeches failed to use sufficient visual aids to support their content and aid their delivery, and less than one-third scored “Capstone” or “Milestone 3.”
Table 2 summarizes the overall results.
|Assessment of Oral Communication, SP21||Information Literacy||Structure||Content||Visual Aids||Delivery|
One of the instructors who provided a large number of speeches for the sample did not require Visual Aids but offered extra credit for using them. Clearly, making Visual Aids optional affected the rate at which those students used visual aids and thus the score for Visual Aids.
The data suggest that using Visual Aids enhances scores on Information Literacy, Structure, Content, and Delivery. Lacking Visual Aids, however, did not prevent students from scoring well in the other criteria.