Enhanced General Education

Enhanced Gen Ed Assessment Plan

Background and Rationale

In 2018, a team of four attended the AAC&U Institute on General Education and Assessment (IGEA) with the goal of creating an assessment plan for the Enhanced General Education program. Based on the IGEA, it was decided that the assessment plan should be holistic, developmental, transparent, efficient, and useful. The result was a draft of a five-year assessment plan, with the goal of having the capacity to draw meaningful conclusions about how well the Enhanced General Education curriculum is promoting the goals for student learning on the outcomes defined as critical for success after undergraduate studies. Once meaningful conclusions have been identified, the USF General Education Council is committed to refining the enhanced curriculum to support student growth as critical and creative problem solvers with a commitment to social and civic responsibility, locally and globally.

Shortly after the IGEA, Governor Rick Scott signed the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018, which required the USF System—composed of the University of South Florida Tampa, USF St. Petersburg, and USF Sarasota-Manatee—to consolidate under one accreditation on July 1, 2020. Part of this consolidation will be to offer on general education curriculum. Because all three campuses have agreed to adopt the Enhanced General Education, it was decided that faculty from across the campuses should be involved in creating the assessment plan. To that end, a cross-institutional assessment subcommittee was formed to further revise the assessment plan and offer input, guidance, concerns, and critical considerations regarding the implementation of the Enhanced General Education program and its assessment.

The assessment plan was first implemented at USF Tampa in Fall 2019. During that semester the General Education Council received feedback from faculty on the feasibility and user experience of the assessment plan. Discussions began about ways to make the assessment process more efficient for faculty. In Spring 2020 assessment continued, but the General Education Council began working on an assessment plan refresh to address faculty concerns and obtain student feedback. Assessment will pause for Summer 2020 while the new plan is implemented, and in Fall 2020 all three campuses will begin using the new assessment plan.

This plan has been developed with an eye on best practices from other professionals, other institutions, and the AAC&U. The plan has also been developed with input from the USF SACSCOC liaison to ensure we are meeting accreditation requirements. This assessment process has been faculty-owned and driven to ensure that faculty are not only providing assessment data but are also using the results to improve their own courses and programs. This plan also comes with promised resources from Undergraduate Studies to support faculty and the General Education Council in implementing the assessment plan.

Student Learning Outcomes

The Enhanced General Education curriculum seeks to enhance skills most applicable in the 21st century global community. Its design directly supports the University of South Florida's commitment to deliver a competitive undergraduate program that generates knowledge, fosters intellectual development, and ensures students' success in a global environment. There are eight student learning outcomes (SLOs) that are assessed at the institutional level. 

  1. Communication: Students will produce well-organized, well-developed communications that reflect appropriate use of language to achieve a specific purpose and address specific audiences.
  2. Critical and Analytical Thinking: Students will comprehensively explore issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating any opinions or conclusions.
  3. Problem Solving: Students will design, evaluate, and implement a strategy to answer open-ended questions or achieve desired goals.
  4. Creative Thinking: Students will combine or synthesize existing ideas, images, or expertise in original ways.
  5. Information and Data Literacy: Students will identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibly use and share information for the problems at hand.
  6. Human and Cultural Diversity: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of human experiences.
  7. Ethical Reasoning and Civic Engagement: Students will participate in activities of personal and public concern while recognizing ethical issues and assessing their own ethical values.
  8. High Impact Practice: Students will synthesize connections among experiences outside of the formal classroom.

Standardized Rubrics

Faculty teaching an Enhanced General Education course are asked to identify two General Education Assignments (GEAs) which should target the general education SLOs. The faculty member must assess one of those GEAs (the most comprehensive) using the standardized Canvas Outcomes appropriate for their course. The Canvas outcomes are simplified versions of the original standardized rubrics. The outcomes are found below along with the original rubrics for those interested in the details behind the simplified outcomes:

**NOTE: Courses in the Knowledge Tier will not be required to use the Outcomes at this point in time.

Basic Assessment Process

Faculty assessment in Enhanced General Education courses will happen every semester. Each faculty member will have students submit a General Education Assignment (GEA) to Canvas. The faculty will then score the GEA for a random 10% of their students using the Canvas Outcomes appropriate for his/her course. At the end of the semester, the GEAs and Canvas Outcomes will be automatically pulled from Canvas and stored (de-identified) in a general education database. As a means of conducting interrater reliability, a random 10% sample from across the university will be collected and sent to departmental faculty groups for rescoring. All of the assessment data will be presented in the general education data dashboard and accessible year round. However, the General Education Council will only review the data collectively on a yearly basis and make curricular tweaks as they see fit to make sure students are achieving desired learning outcomes.