Part 3 - Comprehensive Standards
  

3.5.1  The institution identifies college-level general education competencies and the extent to which students have attained them. (General education competencies)

Compliance
Partial Compliance
Non-Compliance
Not Applicable

Narrative

The general education core curriculum at the University of New Orleans is a set of course requirements designed to expose students to a wide range of academic disciplines. Through general education, students learn basic content and methodology of fundamental knowledge areas including humanities and fine arts, social and behavioral sciences, as well as natural sciences and mathematics.  This broad educational experience is intended to encourage intellectual inquiry and provide a solid foundation for all undergraduate students.

General education requirements are central to all undergraduate programs at the University of New Orleans.  The university defines general education competencies that are appropriate to the mission of the university and are consistent with principles of good practice.  Assessment methods related to these competencies are defined and implemented to measure the extent to which undergraduate students are achieving the identified student learning outcomes.  Data collected from this body of assessments are used for general education program improvement purposes.  The general education goals and student learning outcomes as well as the aligned assessment methods are detailed in the General Education Assessment description on the website.  The general education section of the university catalog includes information related to assessment, goals and student learning outcomes.

General Education Goals

All students completing a baccalaureate degree attain appropriate competencies identified by the university, as follows:

  1. Communication


              Students communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

  1. Collaboration


              Students participate effectively in collaborative activities and cooperative learning.

  1. Critical Thinking

              Students evaluate claims, arguments, evidence, and hypotheses.

  1. Contextual Analysis


              Students analyze contemporary issues within the context of diverse disciplinary perspectives.

  1. Quantitative Reasoning


              Students demonstrate the ability to use quantitative analysis to solve problems.

  1. Information Literacy


             Students demonstrate effective use of technology to attain credible information for a specific purpose.

General Education Student Learning Outcomes

All students completing a baccalaureate degree at the University of New Orleans address the following student learning outcomes:

A. Read with comprehension.

B. Write effectively using supportive, synthesized evidence and document sources.

C. Speak cogently in presenting information.

D. Listen effectively.

E. Actively participate in structured, recursive processes where two or more students work together toward a common goal.

F. Share knowledge, adjust to unforeseen circumstances, make decisions, and build consensus.

G. Accurately interpret evidence, thoughtfully evaluate alternative points of view, draw judicious conclusions, justify results, and explain reasoning.

H. Engage in skepticism, judgment, free thinking, abstract reasoning, questioning and understanding.

 I. Recognize and appreciate cultural diversity so as to participate intelligently and actively in society.

 J. Evaluate issues within multicultural, global and international contexts.

K. Develop a personal value system while retaining tolerance for others.

L. Apply mathematical concepts and skills to solve problems and communicate solutions.

M. Articulate and advocate appropriate applications of quantitative reasoning in various settings.

N. Understand the scientific method.

O. Determine extent of information required, access information efficiently, evaluate information and its sources critically.

P. Use information appropriately to accomplish a specific purpose.

Q. Understand the economic, legal, ethical and social issues surrounding use of information.

The General Education Committee

The General Education Committee is a university-wide, standing committee charged with providing leadership for the overall direction and support of the general education curriculum.  The committee monitors general education requirements and reviews changes made to the program.  The committee oversees general education assessment and evaluation to ensure integrated, meaningful and sustained improvement.

The responsibilities of the committee consist of the following:

  • Develop and maintain criteria for general education courses
  • Oversee assessment and evaluation of general education goals and student learning outcomes
  • Steward data for improvement purposes
  • Provide recommendations for budgeting and strategic planning based on assessment results
  • Communicate the results of assessment efforts to appropriate campus and external stakeholders to promote accountability and transparency
  • Serve as a resource for general education efforts on campus

The committee membership is comprised of faculty representation from each college and the library, including at least one Faculty Senate representative, as well as representation from the Office of Academic Affairs.  The committee reports to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Sample minutes from the 2013-14 academic year are presented.

General Education Assessment Methods

In Spring 2013, the General Education Committee was charged with reviewing and revising the University’s general education goals and student learning outcomes.  The committee then designed an assessment package to measure the extent to which students have attained the updated goals and student learning outcomes identified by the University.  The general education goals and student learning outcomes as well as the aligned assessment methods are detailed in Table 1.  Data collected are used for program improvement purposes rather than determination of individual student progression through a program of study.  Participation in assessment activities related to general education goals is a requirement for all undergraduate students. 

Table 1.  General Education Assessment Matrix

Goals Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Methods
1.  Communication
Students communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

A.  Read with comprehension.                             

B.  Write effectively using supportive, synthesized evidence and document sources.                                                                          

C.  Speak cogently in presenting information.                            

D.  Listen effectively.

Freshman English Assessment     

ETS Proficiency Profile
2.  Collaboration
Students participate effectively in collaborative activities and cooperative learning.

E.  Actively participate in structured, recursive processes where two or more students work together toward a common goal.           

F.  Share knowledge, adjust to unforeseen circumstances, make decisions, and build consensus.
Collaboration rubric (UNIV)
3.  Critical Thinking
Students evaluate claims, arguments, evidence, and hypotheses.

G.  Accurately interpret evidence, thoughtfully evaluate alternative points of view, draw judicious conclusions, justify results, and explain reasoning.      

H.  Engage in skepticism, judgment, free thinking, abstract reasoning, questioning and understanding.

ETS Proficiency Profile

4.  Contextual Analysis

Students evaluate claims, arguments, evidence, and hypotheses.

I.  Recognize and appreciate cultural diversity so as to participate intelligently and actively in society.     

J.  Evaluate issues within multicultural, global and international contexts.   

K.  Develop a personal value system while retaining tolerance for others.
NSSE Topical Module    
5.  Quantitative Reasoning
Students demonstrate the ability to use quantitative analysis to solve problems.

L.  Apply mathematical concepts and skills to solve problems and communicate solutions.

M.  Articulate and advocate appropriate applications of quantitative reasoning in various settings.        

N.  Understand the scientific method.

Freshman Math Assessment                                              

ETS Proficiency Profile
6.  Information Literacy
Students demonstrate effective use of technology to attain credible information for a specific purpose.

O.  Determine extent of information required, access information efficiently, evaluate information and its sources critically.    

P.  Use information appropriately to accomplish a specific purpose.     

Q.  Understand the economic, legal, ethical and social issues surrounding use of information.

Information literacy rubric (ENGL)      

NSSE Topical Module

 

Following is a summary of assessment methods implemented for general education goals and student learning outcomes:

  • The ETS Proficiency Profile was piloted in Spring 2013 and formally rolled out in Fall 2013.  Approximately one third of rising Juniors are sampled each Fall and Spring semester to participate in this standardized, nationally normed test.
  • The committee developed collaboration and information literacy rubrics aligned with general education student learning outcomes.  These rubrics were implemented in select courses in Fall 2013.
  • Two National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) topical modules related to general education student learning outcomes were selected for inclusion in test administration that occurred in Spring 2014:  Experiences with Diverse Perspectives Module and Experiences with Information Literacy Module.
  • Freshman English and Math assessments were identified for inclusion in the general education body of assessments.

Tables 2 and 3 present some detail regarding the assessment instruments implemented to measure general education student learning.  The body of assessment methods include direct and indirect measures as well as externally and internally developed instruments.  Standardized instruments allow the University to benchmark progress with peer institutions and set related targets, which is critical to assessment efforts from developmental and evaluative perspectives.  In addition, nationally normed tests offer evidence concerning the psychometric properties of validity and reliability.  Internally developed instruments enable the University to gather detailed data specific to the competencies identified by the institution.  Using examples from the Association of American Colleges and Universities and SACSCOC, rubrics were developed by the General Education Committee.  The use of these types of course-based assessments to supplement and corroborate the standardized instruments is under constant consideration by the General Education Committee.  The University considers student learning assessment to be complex and evolutionary, therefore subject to continual improvement.

Table 2.  UNO Body of General Education Assessments 2013-14

Assessment Direct Indirect Standardized External Developed Internal
ETS Proficiency Profile X   X  
NSSE Topical Modules   X X  
Freshman English Assessment   X   X
Freshman Math Assessment   X   X
Collaboration Rubric X     X
Information Literacy Rubric X     X

 

Table 3.  UNO Body of General Education Assessments 2014-15

Assessment Direct Indirect Standardized External Developed Internal
ETS Proficiency Profile X   X  
NSSE Topical Modules   X X  
Freshman English Assessment   X   X
Freshman Math Assessment   X   X
Collaboration Rubric X     X
Information Literacy Rubric X     X
Communication Rubric X     X
Critical Thinking Rubric X     X
Contextual Analysis Rubric X     X
Quantitative Reasoning Rubric X     X

General Education Findings

Following are findings from assessment of the general education student learning outcomes for the 2013-14 academic year.

Table 4.  General Education Assessment

Report Semester Semester
ETS Proficiency Profile Summary of Scaled Score Fall 2013 Spring 2014
ETS Proficiency Profile Classification Summary Fall 2013 Spring 2014
ETS Proficiency Profile National Comparison Report July 2008 – June 2013
ETS Proficiency Profile Means Table Fall 2013 Spring 2014
Collaboration Rubric Score Summary Fall 2013 Unavailable
Information Literacy Rubric Score Summary Fall 2013 Unavailable
Freshman English Portfolio Survey Fall 2013 Unavailable

 

The Collaboration and Information Literacy rubrics were not completed in Spring 2014.  The Freshman English Portfolio Survey review occurs annually; therefore, evaluation results of Spring 2014 student work will be available in Fall 2014.  Results from the Freshman Math Assessment and NSSE topical module administration will also be available in the Fall 2014 semester.

General Education Closing the Loop

General education assessment findings and closing the loop/action plans for the 2013-2014 semester have been entered into WEAVE.  The Detailed Assessment Report includes goals, student learning outcomes, measures, targets, findings and closing the loop/action plans for this academic year.

The University recently transitioned to a reduced general education course menu.  As of the 2013-14 academic year, there were 1725 courses that satisfied general education requirements.  This made course assessment of general education student learning outcomes and program improvement efforts extraordinarily difficult.  The  General Education Committee compiled a reduced menu of 59 courses for student learning outcome assessment and improvement purposes.  Only those courses included on the reduced menu will be used to satisfy general education requirements, effective for the 2014-15 academic year.  A description of the new course menu is published in the 2014-15 catalog and on the general education website.

The courses included on the new general education menu were selected based on the following:

  1. LA Board of Regents AA Policy 2.16: Statewide General Education Requirements
  2. University of Louisiana System Bylaw C-II, Section VIII: Baccalaureate Degrees Requirements
  3. University of New Orleans general education requirements
  4. SACSCOC standards 2.73, 3.51, 3.53
  5. Conducting student learning assessment for improvement purposes
  6. Supporting the curriculum in a cost effective manner
  7. Enrollment data review
  8. Program degree requirement review
  9. Peer institution review
  10. Faculty input
  11. Office of Academic Affairs input

The general education menu is designed to be flexible and a process is in place for departments to propose new and existing courses to be added to the menu.  Certain criteria are required, including enrollment estimates to determine demand and strategies to align with the general education student learning outcome assessment plan. The General Education Committee will review these submissions annually. 

There are some program-specific exceptions to this list as noted in the degree requirements of the program pursued which is identified in the Catalog.  A course identified as an exception may only be applied to that specific program of study.  In cases where exceptions occur, that information is included in the advising materials associated with the particular program of study. Students are encouraged to consult an advisor prior to enrolling to determine whether a course satisfies the general education requirements for their particular academic degree program. 

Curriculum Mapping

One of the main reasons for shifting to a reduced course menu is to improve assessment efforts related to general education goals and student learning outcomes.  In Fall 2013, a curriculum-mapping pilot was conducted with core general education courses in Biology, English, and Math.  In Spring 2014, faculty involved in teaching those courses identified on the new general education menu participated in curriculum mapping efforts.  The goal was to align each general education course to a cluster of appropriate general education student learning outcomes.

In early Fall 2014, the General Education Committee will be tasked with assigning goals and student learning outcomes to each course.  Effective Fall 2014, the body of general education assessments will evolve to include rubrics to measure student learning outcomes for select courses.  In addition to the existing Collaboration and Information Literacy Rubrics, the General Education Committee recently finalized the following rubrics:

Communication

Contextual Analysis

Critical Thinking

Quantitative Reasoning

In early Fall 2014, instructors of general education courses will be trained to use the rubrics that align with their designated general education goals and student learning outcomes.  The data collection system will be enhanced, including methods to provide feedback to faculty and programs regarding assessment results.  Under advisement from the University's SACSCOC Vice President, the General Education Committee will evaluate the utility of the 17 student learning outcomes, as it may be more prudent to focus on the six overarching general education goals.

Supporting Documents

Document Description
Document IconCollaboration_Rubric _Score_Summary_Fall_2013Collaboration Rubric Score Summary
Document IconDAR_Gen_Ed_201314Detailed Assessment Report – General Education – 2013-14
Document IconETS_PP_Classification_Summary_Fall 2013ETS Proficiency Profile Classification Summary – Fall 2013
Document IconETS_PP_Classification_Summary_Spring_2014ETS Proficiency Profile Classification Summary – Spring 2014
Document IconETS_PP_Means_Table_Fall_2013ETS Proficiency Profile Means Table – Fall 2013
Document IconETS_PP_Means_Table_Spring_2014ETS Proficiency Profile Means Table – Spring 2014
Document IconETS_PP_Natl_ComparisonETS Proficiency Profile National Comparison Report
Document IconETS_PP_Summary_of_Scaled Score_Fall_2013ETS Proficiency Profile Summary of Scaled Score Report – Fall 2013
Document IconETS_PP_Summary_of_Scaled_Score_Spring_2014ETS Proficiency Profile Summary of Scaled Score – Spring 2014
Document IconETS_Proficiency_Profile_Test_ContentETS Proficiency Profile Test Content
Document IconFreshman_English_Portfolio_Survey_Results_Fall_2013Freshman English Portfolio Survey
Document IconGen_Ed_Collaboration_RubricGeneral Education Collaboration Rubric
Document IconGen_Ed_Committee_Members_1314General Education Committee Membership 2013-14
Document IconGen_Ed_Committee_Minutes_1314General Education Committee Meeting Minutes 2013-14
Document IconGen_Ed_Communication_RubricGeneral Education Communication Rubric
Document IconGen_Ed_Contextual_Analysis_RubricGeneral Education Contextual Analysis Rubric
Document IconGen_Ed_Core_Map_Pilot_CompiledGeneral Education Curriculum Mapping Pilot: Biology, English and Math Core Courses
Document IconGen_Ed_Course_MenuGeneral Education Course Menu
Document IconGen_Ed_Critical_Thinking_RubricGeneral Education Critical Thinking Rubric
Document IconGen_Ed_Curriculum_Map_Master_2014-15General Education Curriculum Mapping Initiative: Course Included on General Education Course Menu
Document IconGen_Ed_Information_Literacy_RubricGeneral Education Information Literacy Rubric
Document IconGen_Ed_Quantitative_Reasoning_RubricGeneral Education Quantitative Reasoning Rubric
Document IconInfo_Literacy_Rubric_Score_Summary_Fall_2013Information Literacy Rubric Score Summary
Document IconLA_BOR_AA_Policy_2.16_Gen_Ed_RequirementsLouisiana Board of Regents Academic Affairs Policy 2.16: Statewide General Education Requirements
Document IconNSSE_2014_Experiences_with_Diverse_Perspectives_ModuleNational Survey of Student Engagement 2014 Topical Module: Experiences with Diverse Perspectives
Document IconNSSE_2014_Experiences_with_Information_Literacy_ModuleNational Survey of Student Engagement 2014 Topical Module: Experiences with Information Literacy
Document IconUL_System_Bylaw_Ch_2_VIII_Baccalaureate Degrees RequirementUniversity of Louisiana System Bylaw, Chapter II, Section VIII: Baccalaureate Degrees Requirements
Document IconUNO_Catalog_Course_MenuUniversity of New Orleans Catalog - Courses to Satisfy General Education Requirements
Document IconUNO_Catalog_Gen_Ed_Assessment_Goals_SLOsUniversity of New Orleans Catalog - General Education Assessment, Goals and Student Learning Outcomes
Document IconUNO_Website_Gen_Ed_Assessment_MatrixUniversity of New Orleans Website: General Education Assessment Matrix
Document IconUNO_Website_Gen_Ed_RequirementsUniversity of New Orleans Website: General Education Requirements
Document IconWEAVE_BrochureWEAVE brochure