General Education Assessment
8 General Education Outcomes:
- Writing Skills
- Computer Skills
- Critical Thinking
- Global Awareness
The Writing Skills outcome is assessed using different assessment tools: the ACT/CAAP Writing Objective test and the Final Essay Rubric applied to students at the end of the English Composition II course, ENGL 1213. Beginning in the fall 2013 semester, the CAAP Writing Objective test will no longer be given and the Writing Essay test will be given in its place.
The CAAP Writing Skills Objective Test is a 72-item, 40 minute test that measures understanding of the conventions or standard written English: punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, strategy organization, and style.
The test consists of six passages, each accompanied by a set of multiple-choice questions. A range of passages is used to provide a variety of text that is similar to the writing commonly found in college courses.
The test questions fall into two major categories: Usage/Mechanics and Rhetorical Skills.
These categories and sub-skills are described below:
Usage/Mechanics: Test questions measure usage and mechanics skills and offer alternative responses, including “NO CHANGE” to underlined portions of the passage. One must decide which answer option best fits the context. Specific skills tested:
- Punctuation – Use and placement of commas, colons, semicolons, dashes, parentheses, apostrophes, and quotation, question, and exclamation marks.
- Grammar – Adjectives and adverbs, conjunctions, and agreement between subject and verb and between pronouns and their antecedents
- Sentence Structure – Relationships between/among clauses, placement of modifiers, and shifts in construction
Rhetorical Skills: Test questions measure rhetorical skills and may refer to an underlined portion of the passage (e.g., sentence), a passage section (e.g., paragraph) or the passage as a whole. One must decide which answer option is most appropriate for a given situation.
Specific skills tested:
- Strategy – Appropriateness of expression for audience and purpose, supporting material to strengthen writing, effective choice of theme or purpose statements
- Organization – Organization of ideas, relevance of statements (order, coherence, unity)
- Style – Precision and appropriateness of word choice, effective management of sentence elements, avoidance of ambiguous pronoun references, economy in writing
The CAAP Writing Essay Test is a 40-minute test that consists of two, 20-minute writing tasks. Each of the two 20-minute writing tasks identifies a specific hypothetical situation or issue and audience. One must take a position on the issue and explain to the audience why the position taken is the better (or best) alternative. In order to clearly define the writing task and the intended audience, each task specifies the basis upon which the audience (e.g., “College Dean”) will make its decision. CAAP Writing Essay Tests are evaluated according to how well one:
- Formulates an assertion about a given issue
- Supports that assertion with evidence appropriate to the issue, position taken, and audience
- Organizes and connects major ideas
The Writing Skills Rubric (Final Essay Score Sheet) is used to assess the students’ Final Essay in English Composition II. It assesses the following criteria:
- Thesis statement
- Topic sentence
- Linkage to topic sentence/thesis statement
- Sentence structure
- Sentence mechanics
The CAAP Reading Objective Test is a 36-item, 40-minute test that measures reading comprehension as a combination of referring and reasoning skills.
- Referring test questions pose questions about material explicitly stated in a passage
- Reasoning test questions assess the ability to make appropriate inferences, to demonstrate a critical understanding of text, and to determine meanings of difficult, unfamiliar, or ambiguous words used in context.
CAAP Reading passages come from four general areas:
• Prose Fiction – Excerpts from short stories or novels
• Humanities – Art, music, philosophy, theater, architecture, dance
• Social Studies: History, political science, economics, anthropology, psychology, Sociology
• Natural Sciences – Biology, chemistry, physics, physical sciences
The CAAP Mathematics Test is a 35-item, 40-minute test that measures the ability to solve the types of problems typically encountered in college-level mathematics courses and upper division courses in mathematics and other disciplines. The CAAP Mathematics Test emphasizes quantitative reasoning rather than the memorization of formulas. Specific areas tested:
- Pre-algebra – Includes operations with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions; order concepts; percentages; averages; exponents; scientific notation
- Elementary Algebra – Includes basic operation with polynomials, setting up equations, and substituting values into algebraic expressions; may also require solution of linear equations in one variable and related topics
- Intermediate Algebra – Includes exponents, rational expressions, and systems of linear equations; quadratic formula and absolute value inequalities may also be tested
- Coordinate Geometry – Includes graphing in standard coordinate plane or the real number line, graphing conics, linear equations in two variable, graphing systems of equations
- College Algebra – Includes advanced algebra such as rational exponents, exponential and logarithmic functions, complex numbers, matrices, inverses of functions, domains and ranges
- Trigonometry – Include concepts such as right triangle trigonometry, graphs of trigonometric functions, basic trigonometric identities, trigonometric equations and inequalities
The CAAP Science Test is a 45-item, 40-minute test that measures knowledge and skills in the biological sciences (e.g., biology, botany, and zoology), chemistry, physics, and the physical sciences (e.g., geology, astronomy, and meteorology). The test emphasizes scientific knowledge and reasoning skills.
The CAAP Science Test consists of eight passages, each of which contains scientific information and a set of multiple-choice questions. A passage may focus on data representation (e.g., graph reading, interpretation of scatter plots, interpretation of information presented in tables, diagrams, and figures), research summaries (e.g., design of experiments and interpretation of results), or conflicting viewpoints (e.g., hypotheses or views that are mutually inconsistent owing to different premises, incomplete data, or differing interpretations). Test questions fall into three major categories that focus on an important element of scientific inquiry:
- Understanding – Indentify and evaluate scientific concepts, assumptions, and components of an experimental design or process; identify and evaluate data presented in graphs, figures, or table; translate given data into an alternate form
- Analyzing – Process information needed to draw conclusions or formulate hypotheses; determine whether information provided supports a given hypothesis or conclusion; evaluate, compare, and contrast experimental designs or viewpoints; specify alternative ways of testing hypotheses or viewpoints.
- Generalizing – Extend information given to a broader or different context; generate a model consistent with given information; develop new procedures to gain new information; use given information to predict outcomes
The Development of a Common Science Rubric, or 5 Common Science Questions, to assess the Science outcome is still in progress.
Computer skills competency is assessed at the end of the semester in two CSC courses: Fundamentals of Computer Usage, COMS 1133; Microcomputers in Agriculture, AGRI 2113.
Based on classroom performance, students may achieve through four levels of competency. Students who achieve competency level 3 or higher are considered to be successful.
The Computer Skills Competency Rubric assesses these specific skills:
- Demonstrate basic operating system functions including file management
- Access and navigate the internet
- Demonstrate email skills
- Prepare professional documents using a Word Processing application
- Create professional spreadsheets using a Spreadsheet application
- Create & maintain database utilizing a Database application
- Create a presentation using a Presentation application
Citizenship Skills assessment is embedded in courses (see Embedded Assessment Form). Students who have developed citizenship skills will be able to demonstrate at least one of the following:
- Formulate independent opinions based on careful evaluation of information
- Analyze the operations of the political process
- Analyze the functions of the governmental structure
- Describe how local government operates
- Describe how national government operates
- Communicate ideas and opinions effectively
- Demonstrate commitment to values inherent in the Bill of Rights
Critical Thinking assessment is embedded in courses (see Embedded Assessment Form).
Students who have developed critical thinking skills will be able to demonstrate at least one of the following:
- Comprehend complex ideas, data, concepts, judgments, beliefs, rules, procedures, and complex forms of visual and graphic representation
- Make inferences based on careful observation
- Make judgments based on specific and appropriate criteria
- Solve problems utilizing specific processes and techniques
- Develop new ideas by synthesizing related and/or fragmented information
- Apply knowledge and understanding to different contexts, situations, and/or specific endeavors
- Deduce the meaning of data, statements, principles, beliefs, concepts, questions, or judgments
- Recognize the need to acquire new information
- State the result of one’s reasoning
Global Awareness assessment is embedded in courses (see Embedded Assessment Form).
Students who have developed global awareness will be able to demonstrate at least one of the following:
- Knowledge of the geography, history, culture, values, and/or language of another country
- Knowledge of the impact of economic, political, health, environmental, and/or technological changes on people around the world
- Knowledge of how the American culture has been impacted by other cultures
- Knowledge of contributions made by other cultures to the scientific world, to medicine, to the arts and humanities, to education, to business, and other areas of study
- Recognize relationships between the arts, culture, and societies around the world
- Participation in an activity that has the potential to increase awareness of another culture