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Georgia College & State University Learning Outcomes

Assessment of Academic Programs

Each academic program at Georgia College identifies student-learning outcomes (SLOs), sets expected standards of achievement for student performance, assesses the extent to which students perform using multiple and varied types of assessments, and analyzes resulting data to direct decision-making, and to inform changes and improvements necessary in the academic program.  The educational program assessment process is part of an overall institutional effectiveness plan driven by the university’s strategic directions, and all learning outcomes support the broader goals and mission of the University.

 The annual academic program assessment processat GC, SMART, is a comprehensive, annual process in which all faculty engage in the assessment of student learning. The expectation that all faculty participate is a University-wide one that is well established and is reinforced during the academic year.  Assessment coordinators participate in annual training (see example presentationused at training sessions), and new faculty participate in an assessment orientation during their first few weeks on campus and are provided with one-on-one follow-up training as desired or needed.

The SMART assessment process requires that each undergraduate and graduate degree program establish program goal statements regarding student learning and performance that is program specific. Goals are further articulated through detailed and measurable student-learning outcomes. Depending on the program, these goals and outcomes are either written by the program faculty or they have been established by a program’s external accreditor (e.g., NCATE, AACSB). To report student performance on these outcomes, each program completes the SMART Assessment Annual Report (or SMART Report).  The SMART Report template that each program completes annually includes the following:

 *Program goals aligned to college goals and mapped to courses

*Course specific student learning outcomes (SLOs) that support program goals

*Means of assessment for each student-learning outcome

*Desired expectation of achievement for each means of assessment

*Results of each assessment

*Analysis of the results

*Discussion of assessment/program/course and/or curricular modifications made in response to assessment results

During the annual assessment cycle, program faculty collect data on student learning outcomes each semester and submit these data to their program assessment coordinator at the end of the semester. Then, at the end of the year and over the summer, program coordinators organize and enter these data into Compliance Assist (GC’s assessment and planning software). Finally, assessment discussions are held during a university-wide Annual Assessment Day that is typically the Tuesday before the start of classes for the new academic year. This day allows faculty in each program to gather to analyze results of student learning outcomes from the previous academic year, to develop implementation plans to close the loop from the previous AY, and to modify plans for the present year.  The completed SMART report is then due on October 15.  

To conclude the year’s assessment process, program assessment coordinators receive feedback from the University Assessment Team by February 15 regarding their completed report (see rubric). This information is used in the development of their next plan which is due in March. 

This Plan -> Report -> Feedback-> Plan assessment cycle is at the heart of the programs’ continuous improvement, and the university’s overall effectiveness in regards to academic programming.

CORE Assessment

Core (general education) competencies (SLOs 1-14) are assessed in a number of different ways at GC to determine the extent to which students are meeting them.  In 2011, various GC assessment committees including the University Assessment Team (UAT), the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Committee (CAPC), and the Subcommittee on the Core Curriculum (SoCC) began to develop a comprehensive approach to assessing the new core that would streamline and simplify assessment of each area but that would also yield specific and ample data. The full implementation of the assessment for the Core was designed and implemented beginning in the Fall of 2012.  Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 served as pilot semesters for many new assessment measures of the Core curriculum's student learning outcomes.  Feedback from the pilot semesters helped to shape our current assessment plan for our Core Curriculum. 

The assessment plan for the Coreprimarily consists of the following:

  • The use of several common rubrics adapted from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). These adapted Value Rubrics (Written Communication, Ethical Reasoning, and Global Understanding, Critical Thinking) are used to assess the Core outcomes and overlays in Areas A1, B, and C. An additional rubric is used to assess the student learning outcome for Area B. While this is not one of AAC&U's Value Rubrics, it is modeled after them. 
  • The use of faculty determined course-based assessment measures (CBA) in Areas C, D, and E. Course-based assessment measures vary yet include rubrics, exam items, problem-based learning assessments, research papers (assessed by check sheet or rubric), and science lab pre/post tests. Faculty choose the most appropriate course-based measure that assesses the Core outcome for their area and report this data and their evaluation/interpretation of the results to their program coordinator.
  • Common final exam test items determined by the Department of Mathematics faculty are used to assess students' performance in Area A2, Quantitative Skills. 
  • Learning Overlays (as required by the USG BOR) are assessed in several different ways:
    • US Perspectives is assessed using GC's US History Exam. This is facilitated by the University's Center for Testing.
    • Global Perspectives is assessed in Area B, GC2Y courses, as this is a primary learning outcome for that area (along with the Area B learning outcome)
    • Critical Thinking is assessed using the national Collegiate Learning Assessment. Freshmen and seniors are tested using the CLA. This is primarily facilitated by Institutional Research and the Center for Testing.


Student Achievement at GC


Please see the link for data regarding key student achievement indicatorsat Georgia College.