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GE Assessment

words shaped like a mortar board

The General Education (GE) program at Cal State East Bay is designed to provide students with opportunities to explore subject areas outside the major, to delve into topics that challenge their world perspectives, and ultimately, to help them become educated citizens who base their decisions on factual evidence.  In the CSU, Executive Order 1100 prescribes the broad goals for each GE subject area and mandates each campus defines GE learning outcomes "within a programmatic structure" that may be framed by AAC&U's LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes.  GE requirements constitute 40% (or 48 out of 120 semester units needed to graduate) of the undergraduate degree program.  At CSUEB, GE learning outcomes are aligned to its Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs), WASC Core Competencies, and the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes--all of which express the knowledge, skills, and values CSUEB graduates are expected to attain.  Collectively, CSUEB's GE learning outcomes and ILOs distinguish who we are, what we value, and how we expect students to demonstrate their learning.  

CSUEB's GE Long-term Assessment Plan for 2018-2026 (18-19 CAPR 2) provides a detailed implementation plan for the programmatic assessment of GE learning outcomes through the academic year ending in 2026 and clarifies the assessment practices using terminology shared with ILO assessment.  

GE Long-term Assessment Plan

PURPOSE

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The overarching purpose of GE assessment at CSUEB is to enhance undergraduate student learning and improve the learning experiences afforded by the GE program. Looking beyond the CSU Chancellor's Office and WASC accreditation requirements which necessitate GE assessment, the true value of GE assessment lies in how we collaboratively make meaning of assessment results to inform improvements in GE.  

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

♥ GE assessment serves to enhance student learning and improve the learning experiences afforded by the GE program.

♥ GE assessment requires faculty engagement and is a faculty-driven process with assessment work and decisions governed by faculty and faculty committees.

♥ GE assessment is never punitive, and assessment results are never used against faculty (e.g., in retention, tenure, and promotion decisions) or programs (e.g., resource allocation).

♥ GE assessment practices assure the anonymity of faculty participants and protect the confidentiality of students and their work. 

♥ GE assessment is distinct and separate from the GE course review and recertification process.

GE Course Review & Recertification

GE Assessment Cycle

ge-Assessment-Cycle-LoopGE assessment is currently progressing as a series of overlapping pilot projects, which have been synchronized and coordinated with ILO assessment.  The cycle assessment activities within each pilot project cycle are grouped into the following categories (see figure):

  1. Develop/Refine and Align.  The assessment tool (a scoring rubric in most cases) is developed by faculty experts in the given GE area at the beginning of the project and refined after the evaluation of student work is completed.  In coordination with the faculty who teach courses in the given GE area, key assignments or activities are aligned to the specific GE learning outcomes and the assessment instrument.
  2. Collect Student Work. The Office of GE coordinates the collection of student work.  In coordination with faculty teaching selected GE courses, student work on key assignments or tests are identified for collection per GE assessment plans.  Within a course, student work is anonymized prior to collection, and the work is randomly collected using Blackboard Outcomes. 
  3. Evaluate Student Work. Faculty designated by department chairs score student work using the scoring rubric. Faculty go through a rubric calibration exercise prior to the first scoring session.  
  4. Analyze & Summarize Results. Evaluation data are analyzed and summarized into a report compiled by the Director of General Education. 
  5. Disseminate Results.  The assessment report is provided to the campus community through Senate committees, college deans, and department chairs who coordinate discussion of the results as relevant. These discussion should lead to identification of any changes that may improve student learning.
  6. Implement Changes. Pedagogical, curricular, or programmatic changes may be planned or implemented as informed by the assessment results.  Changes to the rubric or assessment process may also be warranted.

GE Assessment Timeline

GE assessment is synchronized and coordinated as closely as possible with ILO assessment, congruent with the ILO Long-term Assessment Plan (17-18 CAPR 8) and the Proposed Assessment Framework (17-18 CAPR 7).  GE assessment occurs on an on-going, iterative basis on the proposed GE Long-term Assessment Plan (18-19 CAPR 2). 

Robust and meaning assessment of GE at key "checkpoints" (guidepost assessment) is extremely valuable in informing improvements, which help move GE into a more coherent, intentional, and scaffolded program.  For example, assessment written communication at key time points in a GE pathway (e.g., GE A2, Second Composition, and upper-division GE Areas C4 or D4) allows us to gauge how well our students attain greater autonomy and sophistication in their writing as they progress through their academic pathways. 

Since Spring 2018, five assessment projects have been launched, and as of Spring 2020, only the A2 pilot project has attained "loop closure." All other GE assessment pilots are in various timepoints in their assessment cycles.  A summary of progress is summarized in the table below.

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  • The A2 Written Communication pilot is completed.  Campus wide discussions have taken place, and improvements to A2 courses and support structures are being implemented.
  • The B4 Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning pilot has completed a first round of collection and evaluation in Fall 2019.  A second round in Spring 2020 was planned but postponed due to COVID-19.
  • The A3 Critical Thinking pilot was set for its first round of collection and evaluation but is now postponed due to COVID-19. 
  • The A1 Oral Communication scoring rubric was been developed.  Collection and evaluation are planned for Fall 2020. 
  • Though not part of the GE program, a scoring rubric for Second Composition was developed. Plans to complete the assessment is planned for 2020-2021.

Explore the tabs below to learn more about each GE project.

GE Assessment Projects

GE A1 Student Learning Outcomes

GE A1 courses emphasize communication theory and provide several speaking and listening experiences in multiple modes, e.g., small-group discussion, interpersonal communication, and persuasive discourse presented extemporaneously.  Upon completion of the A1 requirement, students will be able to:

  1. speak effectively when making oral presentations in English;
  2. explain the principles of effective oral communication, including form, content, context, and style;
  3. advocate for a cause or idea, presenting facts and arguments in an organized and accurate manner; and
  4. critically evaluate oral presentations.

GE A1 Assessment

Excellence in oral communication is demonstrated through use of an audience-centered message, comprehensive use of rhetorical elements, skillful presentation delivery, effective messaging, and consistent reflexivity.  

The A1 rubric was developed in March 2020 by faculty members in the Department of Communication in collaboration with the Office of General Education.  This rubric was originally planned to be used for a pilot assessment in Spring 2020 but has now been postponed to Fall 2020. 

The A1 rubric is used to assess established signature oral presentation and interpersonal communication assignments aligned to the rubric.  Each dimension must be covered in the assignment and assessed independently.  

View the GE Area A1 Oral Communication Rubric here

GE A2 Student Learning Outcomes

GE A2 courses emphasize the rhetorical principles that govern reading and writing.  These principles are fundamental to logical thinking and clear expression.  For reading, they presume open-mindedness combined with critical thinking and analytical skills.  For writing, they presume an awareness of audience, context, and purpose.  Upon completion of the A2 requirement, students will be able to:

  1. write effectively in English;
  2. explain the principles and rhetorical perspectives of effective writing, including its form, content, context, and style;
  3. advocate for a cause or idea, presenting facts and arguments in an organized and accurate manner; and
  4. practice the discovery, critical evaluation, and reporting of information.

GE A2 Assessment

Proficiency in written communication in English at the A2 level (first-year composition) is demonstrated through reflection and the use of rhetorical knowledge, organization, development, language and mechanics, formatting, and documentation.  

A draft of the GE A2 rubric was first developed by faculty in the Department of English in May 2018 and used for a pilot assessment of A2 in May 2019.  This pilot informed revisions to the rubric, which were completed on June 10, 2019 by the English faculty members who served as assessors in the pilot project.

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A2 rubric development team from the Department of English.  Shown left to right: Sarah Nielsen, Dore Ripley, Michelle St. George, Sally Baxter; Dabney Lyons (not shown).

 

The A2 rubric is used to assess signature assignments included in the A2 portfolio, namely the reflective letter and one of the argumentative essays.  These signature assignments are aligned to the rubric.  

See the GE Area A2 Written Communication (First-Year Composition) Rubric here

A summary of the results of the A2 assessment pilot is provided in the GE A2 Assessment Report 2019 here

Second Composition Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of Second English Composition, students will be able to:

  1. complete a variety of reading and writing tasks that incorporate subject-matter knowledge;
  2. adjust their writing for different audiences, showing awareness of expectations for academic writing in general and adhering to discipline-specific conventions when appropriate;
  3. demonstrate critical thinking and logical reasoning, including strategies coming in a discipline, in the development and organization of ideas in written texts;
  4. take into account multiple perspectives and key disciplinary concepts when presenting their ideas in writing; and
  5. revise their writing in response to feedback in order to improve development, clarity, coherence, and correctness. 

Second Composition Assessment

Writing at the second-composition level demonstrates a move toward autonomy and sophistication in composition, critical thinking, argumentation, and information literacy. 

A draft of the Second Composition rubric was developed by faculty in the Department of English and the Department of Art in September 2018.  This rubric has yet to be implemented in its pilot assessment.  

The Second Composition rubric is designed to assess final drafts that have incorporated productive feedback and have been revised and edited.  In alignment with second composition course characteristics, the assessment must include the evaluation of at least two written assignments, at least one of which incorporates research in support of an argument.   

See the Second Composition Rubric here

GE A3 Student Learning Outcomes

A3 courses emphasize the development of clarity and rigor in reasoning and its presentation, and the ability to understand, represent, and evaluate the presentations of reasoning made by others.  Upon completion of the A3 requirement, students will be able to:

  1. understand logic and its relation to language, elementary inductive and deductive reasoning, and formal and informal fallacies;
  2. demonstrate the ability to distinguish among different sorts of claims, such as statements of opinion, reasoned judgments, proofs, and articles of faith;
  3. develop the ability to identify, analyze, evaluate, and present arguments, and construct arguments both to support and refute claims; and
  4. develop the ability to reason inductively and deductively. 

GE A3 Assessment

The primary purpose of a GE Area A3 course is to build a specific toolset that allows students to rigorously explore reasoning and its presentation.  Proficiency in critical thinking at the A3 level is demonstrated by the identification, analysis, evaluation, and presentation of arguments (deductive and inductive).  Emphasis is on the understanding of fallacies and the role of language in argumentation.  

The A3 rubric was developed in November 2019 by faculty members in the Department of Philosophy in collaboration with the Office of General Education and was originally planned to be used in a pilot assessment of A3 in May 2020.  However, this has been postponed until Fall 2020.

The A3 rubric is used to assess signature (comprehensive) assignments that are aligned to the A3 Critical Thinking rubric.  See the GE Area A3 rubric here.  

GE B4 Student Learning Outcomes

GE B4 courses provide practice in computational skills as well as engagement in more complex mathematical work.  Upon completion of the B4 requirement, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a proficient and fluent ability to reason quantitatively;
  2. demonstrate a general understanding of how practitioners and scholars collect and analyze data, build mathematical models, and/or solve quantitative problems; and
  3. apply quantitative reasoning skills in a variety of real-world contexts, defined by personal, civic, and/or professional responsibilities.  

GE B4 Assessment

Proficiency in quantitative reasoning at the B4 level is demonstrated by the use of interpretation, representation, calculation, and communication of quantitative information at the college level. B4 courses build upon, and add depth and sophistication to, the quantitative skills that are developed by the required high school curriculum—skills that are evaluated through CSU’s Multiple Measures Protocol (see pp. 3-4 of EO 1110 FAQs) and are used to determine whether incoming freshmen across the CSU will require additional support in their B4 courses. 

The B4 rubric was developed by faculty members in the Department of Mathematics and in the Department of Statistics & Biostatistics on May 30, 2019.  

The B4 rubric is used to assess signature assignment, which are aligned to the rubric.  See the GE B4 Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning Rubric here

A first round of B4 assessment was completed in Fall 2019, and a second round was planned for Spring 2020.  However, the second round will be completed in 2020-21.  A preliminary GE B4 Assessment Report is pending. 

Planning is underway for to bring together ILO and GE efforts to assess the learning outcomes for upper-division GE and the Sustainability Overlay in 2020-2021.   More details will be posted soon. 

GE Assessment Cycle
GE Assessment Cycle
GE Assessment Schedule
GE Assessment Schedule
GE Assessment Projects
GE Assessment Projects
GE Assessment Reports & Resources
GE Assessment Reports & Resources

GE Assessment Oversight

GE assessment is coordinated by the Director of General Education (GE) and the Educational Effectiveness Council (EEC) Faculty Representative for GE Assessment.  While GE assessment is in its pilot stages, the Director of GE and the EEC Faculty Rep work bring together faculty experts from across campus to perform all stages of the assessment work. The Office of GE will manage and maintain all GE assessment data.  Once GE assessment fledges from its pilot stage, a GE Assessment Committee (subcommittee of CAPR) will oversee the collection and analyses of student work from designated GE courses and the dissemination of assessment data.  

Contact Us

Caron Inouye, Director of General Education at caron.inouye@csueastbay.edu

Nancy White, EEC Faculty Representative for GE Assessment at nancy.white@csueastbay.edu

The Office of General Education is located in SA 1500.

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