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General Education Assessment

Assessing core learning

The assessment of the General Education Core Curriculum has been implemented through a variety of cross-cutting approaches under the auspices of the Core Curriculum Oversight Committee, the Office of Assessment, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Major initiatives related to assessment in general education are the General Education Assessment Project, the Standardized Testing of Undergraduates, and the Foundations of Excellence.

General Education Assessment Project

The General Education Assessment Project, a four-year project funded by the Provost’s Office, has recruited 40 faculty members to re-conceptualize the learning outcomes and design assessments to measure student performance in each of the nine core areas of the general education program. Learning will be assessed in each of the nine core areas through a variety of approaches including exams, portfolios, projects, and internships.

Standardized Testing of Undergraduate Student Learning

Based on a directive from the CU Board of Regents, general education performance in the areas of critical thinking, writing, reading, and mathematics is assessed through a standardized assessment known as the ETS Proficiency Profile. The results of the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 tests revealed that CU Denver students are performing on par with or above students at comparison universities and that seniors outperformed freshmen on the total test and on all sub-measures, suggesting that a CU Denver education makes a valuable difference in students' learning.

Foundations of Excellence

During the 2008-2009 academic year, the university analyzed assessment practices related to the first-year experience and undergraduate learning, of which general education is a major component, through the Foundations of Excellence (FoE) program. The Foundations of Excellence identified a number of useful and potentially valuable assessments of academic performance of first-year students at CU Denver, including: ACT/SAT scores, student remediation test results, mathematics and English placement testing, D/F/W/I non-completion rates, Early Alert, First-Year Seminar grades, National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data, Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) data, Faculty Course Questionnaires (FCQs) data, and student summer orientation surveys. The FoE evaluation concluded that while some of the assessments, such as Early Alert, are put to effective use, other assessments, such as NSSE and FSSE data, add little to the understanding of the first-year experience and are poorly communicated between units of the university. Efforts are underway to review all of the assessments of undergraduate education and the first-year experience and to put to more effective use the assessments that are carried out.


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