Assessment of Student Learning:
Liberal Arts Essentials (LAE) Program
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Muskingum University's "Liberal Arts Essentials" (LAE) program is the general education component of the baccalaureate curriculum, and consists of foundational - core - courses, supplemented by "area requirements" in three categories.
The four primary learning goals of the LAE - each of which contains three further learning objectives - are:
- Develop Skills in Perception, Analysis and Expression
- Explore Connections among Formal Learning, Citizenship and Service to our Communities
- Acquire Multiple and Integrative Approaches to Lifelong Learning
- Demonstrate Knowledge of Physical Wellness and of Ethical and Spiritual Concepts.
Each department overseeing an LAE course is responsible for identifying which learning outcomes are appropriate to each course, and for developing assessment plans.
The LAE assessment process begins by specifying the course goals for student learning and then developing a plan that evaluates how well students have met those goals. At Muskingum University, "Streams of Evidence" are used as a method for determining the meeting of goals. To be considered valid by the Assessment Committee an assessment plan must have at least two streams of evidence, with a different evaluation tool used in each stream.
For each LAE course, an Undergraduate Assessment Committee-approved assessment plan contains information regarding the Goals for Student Learning in the LAE for the course, the streams of evidence used, the evaluation criteria for each stream, and other information relating to the assessment process for that course. The current version of the Plan for Assessing the LAE most recently approved by the faculty in January of 2012 specifies the process through which LAE Assessment is carried out.
When a course has been selected for evaluation, the instructor is required to submit an Assessment Report for that course/semester. The university's Assessment Committee has developed an Assessment Report Creation Presentation (see link below) that details the process of completing an Assessment Report.
LAE Assessment Results
2014-2015 LAE Task Force and Report
The Muskingum University Liberal Arts Essentials (LAE) assessment plan calls for a cycle of three-year comprehensive reviews.
The 2013-14 academic year marked the end of the university's second assessment cycle. For the 2014-15 year, two task forces were formed: One to look back at the LAE assessment data collected during the second cycle, and another to look ahead to the assessment protocols required for the new General Education curriculum being assembled by the faculty.
At the end of the 2013-14 academic year, the Vice-President for Academic Affairs and the Vice-President for Graduate and Continuing Studies appointed a group of six faculty members to serve on a task force with the purpose of reflecting on the process and outcomes of the assessment of the LAE.
The work of the 2014-2015 Liberal Arts Essentials Task Force (LAET) constitutes a follow-up to the previous report, filed in March of 2011 (See below), where a committee reported on four major areas of inquiry with regard to the LAE: congruence, coherence, change, and summary.
The LAET was charged with two focused questions anticipating the curricular change to General Education Learning, scheduled for implementation by the 2015 Fall semester, and approved by the faculty in February, 2015:
1) Offer consultation to the Task Force on General Education Learning Outcomes and Assessment (GEL), and
2) Evaluate assessment outcomes through a review of LAE assessment reports and plans used between 2011-2014.
The task force met throughout the academic year. The final report - which also describes the process utilized - was delivered in March of 2015, and may be accessed here.
The 2014-2015 task force was comprised of: Paul Szalay (Chemistry), task force chairperson; Gary Golden (Business); Alistair Hattingh (History); Eric Schurter (Chemistry); and Jane Varley (English). Stacy Parker (Criminal Justice) served as the assessment consultant in her capacity as the chair of the Assessment Committee.
2010-2011 LAE Task Force and Report
Assessment of the four LAE goals follows a three-year cycle, during which at least one course-level assessment report is generated. LAE courses in the Core are assessed at least twice during the cycle.
In 2010-11, an LAE Assessment Task Force examined the data collected during the first of the university's three-year assessment cycles in order to determine the effectiveness of the LAE curriculum in achieving the LAE's goals and outcomes, and to make recommendations for improvements.
- 2010-11 LAE Task Force Report and Summary.
LAE Course Assessment Reports by Goal
The Undergraduate Assessment Committee is charged with collecting data from the course-level asessements each semester.
- Goal 1: Develop Skills in Perception, Analysis and Expression
- Goal 2: Explore Connections among Formal Learning, Citizenship and Service to our Communities
- Goal 3: Acquire Multiple and Integrative Approaches to Lifelong Learning
- Goal 4: Demonstrate Knowledge of Physical Wellness and of Ethical and Spiritual Concepts.
LAE Assessment Documents