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Assessment of the Baccalaureate Core is a process of shared governance, a partnership between the Faculty Senate Baccalaureate Core Committee (BCC) and the Office of Academic Programs and Assessment (APA). APA provides administrative support for the process and the BCC conducts the reviews of the courses. APA also compiles aggregate data for the BCC to review and consider in the context of the Bacc Core curriculum, the student learning outcomes, and university goals and resources.
The Baccalaureate Core is the “core” set of required courses for Oregon State University students. The purpose of the Baccalaureate Core is to develop a well-rounded student with a broad set of skills and knowledge in:
Thus, students who obtain a degree from Oregon State University should not only be skilled in their major, but possess skills and knowledge that are valuable to employers and to themselves to help them successfully navigate our multi-faceted, complex world.
The Baccalaureate Core Category Student Learning Outcomes describe the skills, knowledge and values that are developed as a result of completing the Baccalaureate Core courses at Oregon State University. Each category has its own set of learning outcomes.
For more information about the Baccalaureate Core go to: http://oregonstate.edu/main/baccalaureate-core/
Because the Baccalaureate Core is one of the primary mechanisms to develop key transferable skills and knowledge, it is very important to make sure it is “doing its job.” The only way to determine whether the job is being done, and at the level of excellence expected at OSU, is to identify what teaching and learning is occurring. As faculty, we care about the students and we try our best to provide a great education. We do have confidence that students are leaving OSU with strong skills, but the only way to know for sure is to have well-aligned measures and collect data within individual courses and across the curriculum.
As part of a philosophical grounding in general education assessment, consider the following questions:
Through course assessment and category-level review of the information (called program level assessment), we can help ensure this is happening.
Like any program assessment, the Baccalaureate Core is assessed on many different levels, but ultimately everything begins with the courses and builds from there. Courses are where the “rubber hits the road” and when put together they add up to a student’s education. “Holes” in courses or course offerings equal “holes” in an education. Sometimes the “holes” are small and students still graduate with the desired skills and knowledge, and, thus, there is really no issue. Other times the “holes” are significant and students graduate with gaps. In this latter case, changes must occur. Changes may be at the instructor level (i.e. improved instruction), the course content level (i.e. modifying course content to meet the outcomes), or the curricular level (i.e. adding or deleting course offerings and modifying course sequence).
The only way to determine whether and what changes need to occur is by gathering meaningful data, identifying how the data need to be used, and having a responsible party to evaluate the data and make decisions/recommendations for evidence-based change.
The Baccalaureate Core as a whole is assessed in the following ways:
In June 2010 the Faculty Senate adopted a Vitalization agenda for the Baccalaureate Core based on the findings of a two-year review of the Core by an ad hoc Faculty Senate committee. The committee’s report is available on the Faculty Senate website. The central findings of the committee were that the overall structure of the Core is sound and is generally consistent with how the campus community envisions the role of general education at Oregon State University. However the implementation of the Core has drifted in the two-plus decades since it was designed and adopted in 1989. In order to vitalize and raise the profile of the Core for students and faculty, the ad hoc review concluded, among other things, that assessment and faculty review of the Core must incorporate evidence of student learning. This prompted the development of measurable Category Learning Outcomes during 2010-2011. These Category Learning Outcomes now serve as the goals and standards for assessment of general education at OSU.
We are here to help make the Baccalaureate Core Category Course Review a smooth and meaningful process for individual instructors and department and college administrators alike. If you would like help with any aspect of this process please contact us.
Some examples of how we can help include: