Student Learning Outcome

V 1 Construct and evaluate answers to questions of moral and political concern (e.g., questions of morally correct conduct, justice, and social policy) via rational deliberation and based on solid evidence.

The Plan will rely on the following direct evidence of student learning to be collected (indirect evidence may be used in addition). [You may want to consider: Is this evidence gained by naturally occurring coursework (if so, describe), embedded questions determined collectively (describe procedure; can you provide examples?), by using external examinations (which one), or in some other way?]

Direct evidence will typically consist of a writing sample (typically of about 2-3 pages) from an assignment, naturally occurring in a course, in which students are asked to construct and evaluate an answer to some question of moral or political concern via rational deliberations and based on solid evidence. A sample of another type of student work (rather than a piece of writing) that reflects student achievement on this learning outcome may be appropriate as long as the sample is assessable by the committee using the approved rubric. 

 The name of the student and instructor will be removed before submitting the sample for assessment. The student work will be disposed of after the round of assessment is complete.

What is the Plan’s proposed collection procedure? How and when will the evidence above be collected? What do you have in mind to protect the identity of students and professors at later stages of this process?

The Registrar will randomly select the appropriate number of students (see below) enrolled in a Values course after the add/drop period and alert the instructor of those students that a suitable sample of the students’ work is to be submitted at the end of the semester. The instructor will then collect each appropriate student’s work and submit it anonymously via a website contact form (e.g. Contact Form 7 plugin) to the committee at the end of the semester.

Sampling. Will evidence to be collected be a sampling of student work? If so, how do you suggest the sample should be determined? (Sampling is best done for all students, not a sample of courses, unless the courses themselves are chosen appropriately. For example, some courses chosen in a sample may be small, or otherwise will be unrepresentative.)

We will employ an independent sample of 10% of all students enrolled in a Values course. (We estimate that 400 students enroll in V courses each semester, so 10% would be about 40 students sampled each semester and 80 students evaluated each year.)

Analysis/Rubric. Will this work be evaluated by a rubric? If so, do you have any suggestions or examples of such a rubric? (Rubrics should be collectively determined and approved, not determined or chosen by individual professors, even if individual professors are employing them. Finalized rubrics are not required by May 5.) Do you have other suggestions regarding how work should be analyzed?

To ensure objectivity, the writing samples (or other appropriate samples of work) will be evaluated by the Values assessment committee members using a rubric determined by the committee and approved by instructors of Values courses. The following is a sample rubric that may be appropriate for evaluating this work:

  Fails to reach expectations Meets expectations Exceeds expectations
Can the student construct a compelling answer to a moral or political question?      
Can the student evaluate an answer presented to a moral or political question?      
Can the student demonstrate rational deliberation in construction of an answer?      
Can the student provide solid evidence to support her/his answer?      


Individual or group initial evaluation. Do you suggest individual faculty members evaluate work of students in their own classes for consideration later, or should there be a group that evaluates student work? What materials do you propose that faculty members send on?

 See above.

Other procedures. How do you suggest that faculty members teaching in this area should learn about and benefit from the results of this assessment? It is not recommended that this involve meetings with individual instructors. (Assume there are 2 or 3 faculty members for each CCS area who will review student work.) Do you have any other procedural suggestions?

In the Fall of each academic year, instructors should be invited to a meeting in which the assessment data for the previous academic year are presented and discussed. This meeting should also be an opportunity for members of the assessment committee and instructors to discuss the data, the rubric, the learning objective, assignments, course designs, and other aspects of the teaching of Values courses and the assessment process. Further, the assessment reports should be posted and available to all instructors.

(One concern worth considering here surrounds our inability to recognize if students in a particular course consistently fail to meet the Values learning objective. Given the random sampling and collective evaluation of the data, we lose the ability to identify which individual courses do and do not achieve the objective of Values courses.)

Assessment cycle. How long do you suggest it should take to gather, evaluate, reflect on, and learn from evidence of student learning, such that each aspect of the outcomes is covered? This cycle should be short enough to be useful, but no more than three years long.

Operating on the schedule outlined here, it will take one full academic year to gather the relevant coursework. We suggest that the Values assessment committee evaluate the work gathered in an academic year by the middle of the following Fall semester and reflect on, discuss, and present the data by the end of the Fall semester.

If necessary, during the implementation period, we can proceed in an expedited way, evaluating each semester’s data in the following semester.  Perhaps once the system is in place and operative we might consider assessing student work on a two- or three-year basis rather than yearly.

Other observations and suggestions. If the Faculty approves this plan on May 5, what other work needs to be completed so that this plan can be implemented in the Fall 2015 semester?

By the Fall 2015, the Values assessment committee needs to be formed and the committee needs to develop an appropriate rubric. We suggest that the rubric be shared with and approved by instructors teaching Values courses. At the beginning of the Fall semester, the Registrar will need to randomly select the students for assessment and notify the instructors of those students.