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A. S. S. O. C. I. A. T. E. S. HART. RESEARCH. AAC&U Members On Trends In Learning Outcomes, General Education, and Assessment. Key findings from online survey among 433 Chief Academic Officers and other academic leaders at AAC&U member institutions

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Hart

A

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RESEARCH

AAC&U Members On Trends In Learning Outcomes, General Education, and Assessment

Key findings from online survey among 433 Chief Academic Officersand other academic leaders at AAC&U member institutions

Conducted November 19, 2008 – February 16, 2009

for

Margin of sampling error ±4.7 percentage points


Profile of the sample

Profile Of The Sample

Carnegie Classification:

Associate’s degree

Bachelor’s degree

Master’s degree

Doctoral degree

Other

Affiliation:

Public

Private

8%

32%

39%

19%

2%

44%

56%

Characterization of Majors:

Majority major in professional/career fields

Majority major in A&S fields

Equally split

24%

31%

45%


Institutions focus on learning outcomes

Institutions’ Focus On Learning Outcomes


Nearly four in five institutions have a set of common learning outcomes for all undergraduates

Nearly four in five institutions have a set of common learning outcomes for all undergraduates.

Does your institution have a common set of intended learning goals or outcomes that apply to ALL undergrad-uate students?

Have common learning outcomes that apply to all undergraduates

NO common learning goals/outcomes for undergraduates

Apply to ENTIRE undergraduate experience, including majors

Some apply to entire undergraduate experience, others apply mainly to general education requirements

Apply only to general education requirements

26%

34%

18%


Hart

Nearly four in five institutions have a set of common learning outcomes for all undergraduates.

Which of the following statements best describes your institution’s learning outcomes for undergraduate learning?

Some apply to enitre experience; others mainly to gen end

Only apply to generaleducation requirements

Apply to entire undergrad experience

Have learning outcomes forall students

All Members

Carnegie Classification: Bachelor’s degree Master’s degree Doctoral degree/res

Affiliation: Public Private

78%

79%80%70%

80%76%

18%

12%22%18%

21%14%

26%

30%25%21%

20%32%

34%

37%33%31%

39%30%


Nearly all institutions have specified learning outcomes within at least some departments

Nearly all institutions have specified learning outcomes within at least some departments.

Have specific departments, schools, or majors at your in-stitution spelled out intended learning goals or outcomes applicable to their students?

ALLhave

66%66%55%

66%64%

SOMEhave

30%33%41%

33%33%

NONE has

ALL have learning outcomes

Carnegie Classification: Bachelor’s degree Master’s degree Doctoral degree/res

Affiliation: Public Independent/religious

SOME have learning outcomes


Goals outcomes for all students college learning

Goals/Outcomes for All Students’ College Learning

Among all academic officers (with and without campus-wide goals), percent saying their institution has a learning goal or outcome addressing each area of knowledge/intellectual skills & ability

Areas of Knowledge

Intellectual Skills/Ability

Writing skills

Critical thinking

Quantitative reasoning

Oral communication

Intercultural skills

Information literacy

Ethical reasoning

Civic engagement

Application of learning

Research skills

Integration of learning

Humanities

Science

Social sciences

Global/world cultures

Mathematics

Diversity in U.S.

Technology

U.S. history

Languages

Sustain-ability


Goals outcomes for all students college learning1

Goals/Outcomes for All Students’ College Learning

Among respondents from campuses WITH campus-wide goals, percent saying their institution’s common set of learning goals/outcomes addresses each area of knowledge/intellectual skills & ability

Areas of Knowledge

Intellectual Skills/Ability

Humanities

Science

Social sciences

Global/world cultures

Mathematics

Diversity in U.S.

Technology

U.S. history

Languages

Sustain-ability

Writing skills

Critical thinking

Quantitative reasoning

Oral communication

Intercultural skills

Information literacy

Ethical reasoning

Civic engagement

Application of learning

Research skills

Integration of learning

8


Institutions explain common learning outcomes to students in a variety of ways

Institutions explain common learning outcomes to students in a variety of ways.

In which of these ways does your institution explain intended learning goals or outcomes to students?*

Institutional catalog

Course syllabi

Web site

Faculty advisors

Orientation program

Student advising system

Institution’s view book

First-year seminar/course

86%

74%

68%

64%

63%

62%

22%

3%

* Among members at institutions with learning outcomes for all undergraduates


Many institutions recognize room to expand students understanding of common learning outcomes

Many institutions recognize room to expand students’ understanding of common learning outcomes.

How many of your students understand your institution’s intended goals or outcomes for undergraduate learning?*

Not many

Almost all

Majority

Some

* Among members at institutions with learning outcomes for all undergraduates


Institutions assessment of learning outcomes

Institutions’ Assessment Of Learning Outcomes


Hart

More than seven in ten institutions assess student learning across the curriculum – most others are planning for assessments.

Does your institution assess learning goals or outcomes across the curriculum, beyond the use of grading in individual courses?

No, but we are planning for assessment of learning outcomes across the curriculum

Yes, we assess learning outcomes across the curriculum

No, we do not assess learning outcomes across the curriculum


More institutions assess at the department level than in general education

More institutions assess at the department level than in general education.

Institution assesses in departments

Institution assesses in general education across multiple courses

Members at institutions that assess learning outcomes across the curriculum


Use of assessments in departments

Use Of Assessments In Departments

Does your institution assess learning goals or outcomes across the curriculum . . . [and] does your institution assess students’ cumulative learning goals/outcomes in departments?

Assess in all departments

Planning to assess learning goals

72% assess across the curriculum

68% assess within departments

Do not assess learning goals

Do not assess in departments

Assess in most departments

Assess in a few departments


Assessment of field specific and general outcomes within departments

Assessment Of Field-Specific And General Outcomes Within Departments

When your departments assess cumulative learning outcomes, do they include general outcomes such as writing or critical thinking?

ALL departments assess general and field-specific outcomes

Planning to assess learning goals

68% assess within departments

Do not assess learning goals

Do not assess in departments

SOME departments assess general and field-specific outcomes

Departments only assess field-specific outcomes


Assessment in general education

How Assessments Conducted(multiple response accepted)

Sample of students

All students

Through departments

36%

17%

24%

Assessment In General Education.

Does your institution assess cumulative learning outcomes in general education across multiple courses?

No, but we are planning for assessment of learning outcomes in general education

Yes, we assess learning outcomes in general education

No, we do not assess learning outcomes in general education


Types of assessments used in general education

Types Of Assessments Used In General Education

Which of the following do you use to assess student learning outcomes in general education?

40%

37%

35%

27%

26%

23%

16%

1%

48%

Rubrics applied to examples of student work

Culminating or capstone projects

Surveys and self-reports

Locally developed common assignments in some courses

Standardized national tests of general skills, such as critical thinking

Locally developed examinations

Standardized national tests of general knowledge, such as science or humanities

Student essays/writing portfolios

My institution doesn’t assess outcomes in general education


Capstone projects are utilized much more within departments than in general education

Capstone projects are utilized much more within departments than in general education.

Characterization of Capstone or Culminating Projects/Experiences at Members’ Institutions

In General Education:

Required of all students

Offered, not required

Don’t use capstones

In Departments:

Required of all/most students

Many departments require

Some departments require

Not required/don’t use capstones


A majority of institutions use electronic portfolios to some degree

A majority of institutions use electronic portfolios to some degree.

Institution’s Use of Electronic Portfolios

57%

Used for assessments?

Used for some students/ programs 54%

Most used for this

Some used for this

Exploring option

Not used for this/ don’t plan to do so

10%

32%

11%

4%

3%

Almost all 5%

Required of all/most

Use electronicportfolios

Exploring feasibility of using

Don’t use, no plans to develop


Institutions can do more to track disparities in student achievement

Institutions can do more to track disparities in student achievement.

% saying each statement applies to their institution

My institution tracks student achievement to determine any differences across racial and ethnic groups

My institution tracks student achievement to determine any differences by gender

My institution tracks student achievement to determine any differences among students from different socio-economic groups

My institution tracks student achievement to determine any differences between first-generation college students and students with college-educated parents

55%

49%

36%

32%


Profile of general education

Profile Of General Education


General education requirements

General Education Requirements

General education credits needed for bachelor’s degree

General education credits needed for associate’s degree*

More than 60 credits

51 to 60 credits

46 to 50 credits

41 to 45 credits

36 to 40 credits

31 to 35 credits

1 to 30 credits

Don’t know

Mean

6%

18%

10%

19%

14%

4%

9%

20%

46.6

More than 50 credits

31 to 50 credits

1 to 30 credits

Don’t know

Mean

5%

18%

32%

45%

33.5

*Asked of 38 respondents

14% say their institution’s general education credit requirements have increased since 2000,

14% say they have decreased,

72% say they have stayed the same.


Majority of institutions say general education is more of a priority

Majority of institutions say general education is more of a priority.

How has general education changed as a priority for your institution in the past five years?

General education has become less of a priority

General education has become more of a priority

Priority of general education hasn’t changed


Hart

A majority of institutions are in the process of assessing or modifying their general education program.

Status of Institutions’ General Education Program

Not making revisions

Conducting assessments of learning outcomes

Formally reviewing program

Implementing changes adoptedin past five years

Discussing proposals for change


Institutions use a variety of models for their general education programs

Institutions use a variety of models for their general education programs.

Which of these features are part of your institution’s general education program?

Distribution model

Common intellectual experience

Thematic required courses

Upper-level requirements

Core curriculum

Learning communities

No general education requirements; offer open curriculum

Freshmen part of learning communities; transfer students are not

80%

41%

36%

33%

30%

24%

1%

2%


The majority of institutions uses a distribution model with additional integrative features

The majority of institutions uses a distribution model with additional integrative features.

Which of these features are part of your institution’s general education program?

Other features:

Common intellectual experience

Thematic required courses

Upper-level requirements

Core curriculum

Learning communities

64%

18%

15%

Distribution model with other features

One or more other features only

Distribution model only

26


Areas of emphasis in undergraduate curriculum

% saying their institution is placing more emphasis on each

Areas Of Emphasis In Undergraduate Curriculum

Undergraduate research

1st year experiences support-ing transition to college

Study abroad

Service learning in courses

Internships

1st year academic seminars

Diversity studies/experiences

Learning communities (courses linked by theme)

Practicums/supervised fieldwork

Orientations to liberal education


Areas of emphasis in undergraduate curriculum by general education priority

% saying their institution is placing more emphasis on each

Areas Of Emphasis In Undergraduate Curriculum, By General Education Priority

At my institution, general education is:

More of a priority

80%

77%

71%

74%

65%

62%

56%

58%

50%

45%

Not more of a priority

77%

68%

71%

60%

59%

45%

51%

43%

44%

28%

Undergraduate research

1st year experiences supporting transition to college

Study abroad

Service learning in courses

Internships

1st year academic seminars

Diversity studies/experiences

Learning communities (courses linked by theme)

Practicums/supervised fieldwork

Orientations to liberal education


Curricular patterns of general education programs

% rating each as describing their general education program well*

Curricular Patterns Of General Education Programs

Includes global courses

Includes first-year seminars

Includes diversity courses

Includes interdisciplinary courses

Includes civic learning or engaged activities

Includes service learning opportunities

Includes experiential learning opportunities

* ratings of 4 and 5 on a five-point scale


Characteristics of general education programs

% rating each as describing their general education program well*

Characteristics Of General Education Programs

Has clear learning goals

Has requirements linked to goals

Assesses student achievement of learning goals

Has a coherent sequence of courses

* ratings of 4 and 5 on a five-point scale


Integration of general education and major requirements

Integration Of General Education And Major Requirements.

How well integrated is your general education program with students’ major requirements?

52%

% very/fairly well integrated, by general ed program features

48%

Distribution model

Common intellectual model

Thematic required courses

Upper-level requirements

Core curriculum

Learning communities

45%

53%

54%

55%

60%

55%

Not well

15%

Very well

11%

Very/fairlywell integrated

Somewhat/notwell integrated


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