The Nicholls State University General Education Assessment Program is guided by the American Association of Higher Education Definition of Assessment:
“Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations and standards; and using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance. When it is embedded effectively within larger institutional systems, assessment can help us focus our collective attention, examine our assumptions, and create a shared academic culture dedicated to assuring and improving the quality of higher education” (Thomas A. Angelo, AAHE Bulletin, November 1995).
General education assessment
- Aims at understanding and improving student learning
- Involves making our expectations explicit and public
- Sets appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality
- Systematically gathers, analyzes, and interprets evidence to determine how well student performance matches those expectations and standards
- Uses the resulting information to document, explain and improve performance.
- Helps us create a shared academic culture dedicated to assuring and improving the quality of higher education.â€” (AAHE Bulletin, November 1995)
General education assessment at NSU Does NOT:
- Control what is taught or how it is taught
- Evaluate and criticize individual faculty performance
- Determine student grades
- Prevent students from graduation
The General Education Assessment Committee (the GEAC), in collaboration with the University Assessment Committee and Institutional Research, evaluates the effectiveness of the core curriculum in developing the following outcomes:
GENERAL EDUCATION GOALS
- Effective Communication: To effectively use the English language, writing and speaking with clarity, coherence, and persuasiveness.
- Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematics: To comprehend and to use quantitative concepts and methods to interpret and to critically evaluate data and to effectively problem-solve in a variety of contexts demanding quantitative literacy.
- Computer Literacy: To demonstrate competence in computer literacy, including fundamental concepts of computing and fluency in the use of contemporary computing and information technology.
Breadth of Knowledge Areas
- Fine Arts: To gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the creative process, the pleasures and challenges of artistic expression, and the role and value of the fine arts in society and culture.
- Humanities: To have a richer understanding of the human condition through investigation, appreciation, and evaluation of the historical, aesthetic, philosophical and literary dimensions of human experience.
- Natural Sciences: To comprehend and to apply the basic principles of science and methods of scientific inquiry.
- Social Sciences: To develop a deeper understanding of the relation of self to world through investigation of the influence of social, cultural, economic, and political institutions in shaping human thought, value, and behavior.
Nicholls has primarily assessed general education through a broad programmatic view using nationally normed instruments and locally developed surveys to produce data about the core curriculum as a whole. In the fall of 2005, a five-year cycle of course-embedded assessment was implemented that provides data at the departmental and course level. The use of both vantage points, as well as a variety of assessment strategies, allows the General Education Assessment Committee and general education faculty a more integrated and multi-dimensional assessment for more effective use of results.