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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Office of Institutional Planning, Research and Assessment

GE Assessment Intro

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Assessment of general education poses particular challenges. Unlike courses within a particular discipline, or non-academic programs administered by a central entity, the general education program includes courses from a variety of disciplines. Given this, general education assessment poses unique demands.

Minnesota State University, Mankato's general education assessment utilizes portfolios of student work. A portfolio is a collection of sample student work which demonstrates the learning outcomes of respective general education categories. General education assessment is conducted by small groups of faculty teaching courses within each category being assessed. These faculty groups, known as General Education Category Course Instructor Groups (GECCIG), are responsible for assessing their respective general education categories.

Two categories are exceptions to this rule: Category 2 (Critical Thinking) and Category 13. Category 2 is "infused" throughout the general education curriculum, and will be assessed by each GECCIG. Category 13 has no required courses..

When each category is assessed, all outcomes for that category are assessed. The competencies identified for each of the general education categories serve as the student learning outcomes for assessment of the program. The General Education Committee coordinates the assessment of the General Education Program, including preparation and submission of annual assessment reports to UCAP and the Assessment and Evaluation Sub Meet. The General Education Committee has developed criteria for assessing each of the categories within General Education.

The Process
1. Categories are evaluated on a four-year cycle. A proposed assessment cycle is printed below:

  Categories 1, 3 and 4
  Categories 5, 6 and 7
  Categories 8, 9 and 10
  Categories 11 and 12

2. Prior to the start of each semester, GECCIG members are selected. Membership is drawn from all faculty teaching general education courses within the categories being assessed during that academic year. Departments offering courses in the assessed categories are expected to provide proportional representation to each GECCIG based on the number of courses offered in each category being assessed. GECCIG membership is limited to 5-7 members.

3. The General Education Committee selects a stratified random sample of courses within each category being assessed. This sampling technique ensures proportionate representation of all courses offered within the category.

4. GECCIG, in consultation with the instructors of the selected courses, determine which assignments and/or activities in each course provide the most useful information for determining if the category learning outcomes are being met.

5. Each GECCIG selects a random sample of students from the selected courses. Instructors in those identified courses collect two copies of identified work completed in that course. Course instructors then collect the student portfolios and provide them to the appropriate GECCIG for assessment.

6. Instructors need to inform students of the assessment process and the value and necessity of student involvement. Instructors are responsible for collecting duplicate copies of the identified work for assessment. Instructors also ensure student anonymity in the collected work.

7. At the end of each semester, each GECCIG meets to complete the assessment process using the established category scoring criteria, and reports the information to the General Education Committee.

8. The General Education Committee reviews each category assessment report and submits each category assessment report, along with an overview of assessment results, to UCAP and the Assessment and Evaluation Sub Meet.

9. The Assessment and Evaluation Sub Meet reviews the General Education assessment results as part of its annual assessment review process. Assessment and Evaluation Sub-Meet reports review results to the General Education Committee and all other appropriate university audiences.

10. The General Education Committee, and each individual department offering courses in the categories being assessed, uses the information to propose possible changes to both the assessment process and the courses in the categories. Changes made by the General Education Committee may include a review of learning outcomes and increased emphasis on specific outcomes within courses in the general education categories. Changes in teaching strategies and styles, or changes in content of courses may be made by departments offering courses within the general education categories.

11. In addition to conducting on-going assessment, the General Education Committee and the General Education Category Course Instructor's Groups would also review the previous reports and recommendations to ensure that needed and positive changes are being made.

12. Review of the General Education Assessment Plan will occur every five years.

End of March of preceding year
General Education Committee selects stratified random sample of courses from general education categories being assessed. Create GECCIG for each category being assessed. 

By the close of second week of each semester
GECCIG will have determined, in consultation with the selected instructors, the appropriate assignments and activities which will be used to conduct the assessment. Selected instructors can notify students of the need for submission of duplicate assignments/activities for course portfolios. 

End of the course for each semester
Instructors submit the course portfolios of selected assignments to GECCIG.
One week early in summer session GECCIG conducts assessment of general education category learning outcomes using category rubrics, and prepares assessment report using the standard assessment report format. 
First week of fall semester GECCIG delivers assessment report to General Education Committee.
End of September General Education Committee prepares overview of assessment results and submits assessment reports and overview to UCAP and The Assessment and Evaluation Sub-Meet.