Core Curriculum Assessment
WHAT IS ASSESSMENT?
“Assessment is an ongoing process of setting high expectations for student learning, measuring progress toward established learning outcomes, and providing a basis for reflection, discussion and feedback to improve University academic programs. It is a systematic and cyclic process that makes expectations and standards explicit and public.” (The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment at Northwestern Health Sciences University http://www.nwhealth.edu/ctl/asmnt/whatis.html).
WHY DO WE NEED TO ASSESS OUR CORE CURRICULUM CLASSES?
Of course, core curriculum assessment is required by both SACS (the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), VSU’s accrediting agency, as well as by the University System of Georgia, but true assessment provides data to help faculty see the overall performance of ALL students in core classes in order to discuss appropriate curricular or classroom changes to prepare our students to better meet our learning goals for them.
WHO DETERMINES THE APPROPRIATE ASSESSMENTS FOR CORE CURRICULUM CLASSES?
Faculty in departments that offer the class determine the appropriate assessment for each core curriculum class using guidelines prepared by the VSU General Education Council (GEC) (guidelines available at http://www.valdosta.edu/gec/). These assessments should be an activity, exercise, or test questions that would be commonly used in all sections.
WHAT SHOULD ASSESSMENTS DEMONSTRATE?
The purpose of core curriculum assessment is not simply to demonstrate “success.” More importantly, it demonstrates an institutional and departmental commitment to continuous improvement, a determination to keep key educational targets in focus and to implement best disciplinary practice in pursuit of these goals.
WHY IS THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS IMPORTANT?
The assessment process indicates that departments regularly review and discuss an appropriate assessment activity and then tabulate and evaluate the results. These conversations ensure that we as faculty continue to challenge ourselves and our students by designing and teaching innovative and interesting classes that help students to develop the abilities and habits of thought that will allow them to be successful in the core, in their major, and ultimately in their careers.