General Education Curriculum
The General Education requirements (Core Curriculum) of the University System of Georgia were established to facilitate the educational progress of students as they pursue baccalaureate degrees within and among the units of the University System.
The Core Curriculum of the University System of Georgia originated from the philosophy that “General Education” is the foundation of all degree programs, and as such, the Core is composed of courses providing a foundation of knowledge and intellectual skills reflecting the University’s judgement of what is essential to becoming a well-rounded, educated person.
Why is there a requirement to conduct General Education assessment?
- To provide feedback for improving teaching practices and general education curriculum
- To support, highlight, and celebrate efforts to improve Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
- To establish a cross-disciplinary language used to discuss the general education program
- To demonstrate accountability and transparency to ourselves and governing agencies
What is the difference between grading and assessment?
Grading is the evaluation of individual student performance in courses based on factors like class participation, performance improvement, assignments, exams, attendance, etc. In short, grading can involve behaviors and activities not focused on one specific learning outcome.
In contrast, Assessment examines patterns of student learning across courses and programs to improve educational practices and help students better meet student learning outcomes.
How is General Education assessment in my department different from "Program SLO Assessment"?
Program SLO Assessment is an ongoing process used to measure student learning at the degree level (e.g., how well graduates are meeting the program learning outcomes in a particular academic major). Course level assessment measures incremental skills that are aligned with, but typically more narrow than, program outcomes. General education assessment, while also ongoing, takes place at the course level and addresses how well students perform in meeting the existing student learning outcomes specific to the Core course.
Which courses will be used to assess General Education?
All courses mapped to the Core Area Program (CAP) learning outcomes are part of the General Education program and must assess all aligned learning outcomes that govern the CAP. Every instructor is expected to administer the assessment tool(s) each semester, even though they may not be asked to upload any student work for the given term.
How often will I have to assess?
Every section of every course in the Core must be assessed in both the fall and spring semesters. If a course is offered in the summer without having been offered in the previous fall or spring semester, all summer sections of that course must be assessed as well.
What happens to the information we provide the General Education Assessment Committee (GEAC)?
The General Education assessment administrative structure consists, in part, of Working Groups dedicated to each CAP that makes up UWG’s General Education program. CAP Work Groups are comprised of faculty that teach within the CAP who perform data analysis and prepare written reports after rotating groups of faculty member Assessors apply the CAP rubric during scoring.
GEAC, in partnership with CAP Work Groups, provides feedback to departments/units each fall, aggregates data from different CAP Work Groups, evaluates how effective the General Education program is in meeting stated goals and student learning outcomes, and reports findings to the institution.
What is the Assessment Plan for my Core Area Program (CAP)?
Assessment Plans and rubric(s) that align with the CAP SLOs are developed by CAP Work Groups, which are comprised of representatives from every department whose courses are included in the CAP. The CAP Assessment Plan contains specific information explaining how each Core course will assess the appropriate CAP learning outcomes (i.e., exam questions, an essay, etc.). Each Core department’s CAP Work Group representative is expected to consult closely with their department throughout the process of formulating an Assessment Plan and to inform their department when the final version of the plan has been approved by GEAC. Each semester Work Group representatives and department Chairs will also remind faculty in their departments who are teaching CAP classes of the CAP Assessment Plan in order to ensure that all CAP faculty know the procedure for assessing their courses.
How many artifacts (student work examples) will be needed for assessment each term?
The specific number depends on the actual student enrollment in a given term. UWG utilizes a random sampling method maintaining a 95% confidence level and 10% margin of error. A different sample size will be determined for each CAP learning outcome or learning outcome component (e.g., written communication versus oral communication). To ensure a representative sample, the number of artifacts will depend upon the number of students enrolled in the courses taking part in a specific Assessment Plan.
What if my department elects to use a multiple choice test as its assessment tool?
The complete results of all multiple-choice tests (i.e., the complete “census”) will be sent to work groups and GEAC for analysis. If you are teaching a course that uses a multiple-choice exam as an assessment tool, you will receive instructions from your department or program’s CAP work group representative about where to send the data from multiple-choice tests. The data may include scanned Scantron sheets or, in the case of courses that use an online exam, uploaded electronic results. Your Work Group representative will deliver the results from each course’s multiple-choice tests to the Work Group.
What if my department elects to use written work as its tool?
Following the mid-term census date, the General Education Assessment Director will notify instructors via e-mail if their Core course section was selected as part of the random sampling for the current term. The e-mail will identify the number of artifacts (i.e., examples of student work) expected for upload, the specific students selected for the sample, upload instructions, and the deadlines for completion.
Does my department have any say in what happens?
Yes. Departments teaching Core courses have at least one (1) faculty representative on each CAP Work Group. The faculty and CAP Work Groups identify the tools, develop the Assessment Plans, craft the rubric(s), and conduct an assessment of the artifacts and data analysis. The faculty in each of the CAP Work Groups also collaborate to compose the CAP annual reports. Finally, per the General Education Framework, departments are also responsible for developing improvement plans based on assessment results.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
You can contact your department Chair, departmental CAP Work Group representative(s), members of the General Education Assessment Committee, the General Education Assessment Director, Dr. Angela Insenga (firstname.lastname@example.org), or the Director of Assessment, Amanda Thomas (email@example.com).