Liberal Education Assessment

Overview

SUNY Old Westbury's Liberal Education program meets the SUNY-wide General Education requirements while maintaining the College's commitment to diversity, interdisciplinary education, and critical inquiry. The Liberal Education program student learning outcomes are measurable statements that explain the knowledge, skills, or outcomes that students will gain from completing a course. SUNY's General Education program defines the Liberal Education program student learning outcomes, and each is taught within individual courses approved for each domain.

The Liberal Education Committee (LEC), in consultation with the Co-Director of Academic Assessment, defines the assessment methods. The assessment conducted by LEC emphasizes course-level assessment, providing evidence of student learning across different courses within the domain, and is the foundation for the overall assessment of the liberal education program.

About Liberal Education learning outcomes assessment

In consultation with LEC, the Co-Director of Assessment identifies the sample of courses to include in the assessment. Instructors teaching a course within the sample must identify an assignment that assesses whether or to what extent the student met the Liberal Education program student learning outcome.

Outreach

Domain representatives will provide initial outreach to instructors identified through the sample. Instructors will receive a description of the learning outcome assessment and a copy of the rubric to be embedded into an assignment. The domain representatives will also collect a copy of the course syllabus as an initial step.

Data Collection

The domain representative and Co-Director of Academic Assessment will collect data from instructors. Instructors will use a rubric (provided by LEC) to identify the extent to which students met the learning outcome.

The rubric may be used in tandem with or separately from other grading criteria identified by the instructor. Regardless of other criteria, only the LEC rubric will be collected and reported. Instructors should only report scores according to the rubric, not student grades. Results should include the students who completed the assignment. Exclude any student who did not complete the assignment from the assessment.

The domain representative will collect the complete rubric and the original assignments for at least 20% of the course (selected randomly). How each assignment rating occurred should be documented. Before sharing these assignments, student names should be removed and replaced with a number. The domain representative will provide a second rating for these assignments to ascertain an indicator of the reliability of the rubric and assessment process.

Report

Data will be reported in aggregate form and may include disaggregation by appropriate categories (e.g., course level, program/department, teaching modality) for further analysis. Individual courses and instructors should not be identifiable in any reports.

Outcomes

The Liberal Education Committee has the goal of 65% of students to meet or exceed expectations for the learning outcomes assessment within each domain. The Liberal Education Committee will provide feedback to departments based on the overall assessment of a domain. Individual-level data will not be included in a summative report.

Assessment results inform decisions for continuous improvement. This may be related to:

  • Course curriculum
  • Assessment measures
  • Success criterion
  • Advising
  • Communication within the domain

Results may also inform instruction of the learning outcome in individual courses or domain-level improvement.

About Liberal Education syllabus review

The Liberal Education syllabus review determines whether courses offered within the Liberal Education Program include the domain’s learning outcomes in the design of the course. This review considers whether syllabi list the learning outcomes and whether the content of the learning outcomes is apparent through listed topics, readings, and assignments.

Outreach

The Co-Director of Academic Assessment identifies the sample of courses to include in the syllabus review in consultation with the LEC. Instructors teaching within the sample must provide a copy of the syllabus.

If fewer than 75% of courses in the sample are found to incorporate the learning outcomes of the domain, the review will be expanded to include the population of courses taught in the domain for that semester (100% of courses).

Data Collection

Domain representatives will provide initial outreach to instructors identified through the sample. Instructors are requested to submit the syllabus to the domain representative.

The domain representative will review the syllabi and report on the percentage of courses that:

  1. Listed domain learning outcomes on the syllabus.
  2. Have topics that align with the learning outcomes.
  3. Include readings that address the learning outcomes.
  4. Include assignments to assess the learning outcomes.

A report will be prepared and submitted for presentation to LEC.

Report

Data will be reported in aggregate form and may be disaggregated by appropriate categories (e.g., course level, program/department, teaching modality) for further analysis. Individual courses and instructors should not be identifiable in any reports.

Outcomes

The LEC will provide feedback to the departments based on the syllabus review report. Individual-level data will not be included in a summative report, although the domain representative may reach out to individual instructors or Department Chairs to assist with course development.
Closing the Loop
Assessment results (including the syllabus review) inform decisions for continuous improvement. These may be related to:

  • Course design and curriculum
  • Success criterion
  • Advising
  • Communication within the domain

If a course is found to be inconsistent with the learning outcomes of the domain, it will be included in a support process (phase 3) and re-assessment (phase 4) to determine whether support is needed to align with the domain or whether it should be removed from the liberal education program.
Results may inform individual course design or domain-level improvement, including inclusion/exclusion of courses in the liberal education program.

Liberal education sampling plan

The sampling plan for phase 1 (syllabus review) and phase 2 (learning outcome assessment) reviews includes the Co-Director of Academic Assessment coordinating the assessment and identifying the sample in collaboration with the Chair and/or domain representative.

The assessment will include 20% of courses offered in the domain or competency. The course inclusion should err on the side of oversampling to account for missing data at the end of the data collection period (e.g., if 21 courses are in a domain, you may want to include 5 in the sample).

The sample should be representative of courses in the domain and/or competency, with the following considerations:

  • Departments offering courses (Departments offering more courses should have more courses included in the sample)
  • Courses should be included in the assessment if there are many sections of one course offered in a department
  • Level of courses
  • The number of courses at each level (1000, 2000, 3000, 4000) across the domain/ competency
  • Instructional modality
  • The number of online/asynchronous, hybrid, blended, and remote courses with an attempt to represent 20% of each (e.g., If five courses are hybrid in the domain, one should be included)
  • Instructor status

As you select the sample considering the previous criteria, attempt to obtain a representative proportion of adjunct faculty to full-time faculty.

Phase 1 follow-up: During a syllabus review, if less than 75% of courses in any department contain the learning outcomes on the syllabus, additional syllabi should be collected and reviewed from that program (100% from that department).

During phase 4, mini (re)assessment, there should be an attempt to draw upon the same sample used in previous phases. All courses offered during the term included in the previous assessment should be considered for inclusion.

Liberal Education Assessment schedule (2021-2026)

Academic Year

Phase 1 (Fall) : Syllabus Review Phase 2 (Spring): Learning Outcome Assessment Phase 3: Domain Revisions/Curricular Support Phase 4: Mini (Re)Assessment Phase 5: Revisions
2021-22

Critical Thinking

Math

Foreign Language

Social Studies

Creativity & the Arts

Humanities

Western Tradition

American Experience

   
2022-23

Diversity

Major Cultures

Natural Sciences

Critical Thinking

Math

Foreign Language

Social Studies

Creativity & the Arts

Humanities

Western Tradition

American Experience

 
2023-24

Basic Communication

Information Management

Applied Learning

Diversity

Major Cultures

Natural Sciences

Critical Thinking

Math

Foreign Language

Social Studies

Creativity & the Arts

Humanities

Western Tradition

American Experience

2024-25

Humanities

Western Tradition

American Experience

Basic Communication

Information Management

Applied Learning

Diversity

Major Cultures

Natural Sciences

Critical Thinking

Math

Foreign Language

Social Studies

Creativity & the Arts

2025-26

Foreign Language

Social Studies

Creativity & the Arts

Humanities

Western Tradition

American Experience

Basic Communication

Information Management

Applied Learning

Diversity

Major Cultures

Natural Sciences

Critical Thinking

Math

Last revised: August 2022 by Ashlee Lien, Co-Director of Academic Assessment

5-Phase LEP Assessment Cycle

This 5-phase cycle will occur over a 5-year period, progressing to the next phase of the cycle at the beginning of the next academic year. A description of the goals and processes involved in each phase are detailed below.

Phase 1: Syllabus Review
  • Timing: The syllabus review will typically occur in the fall to balance assessment activities carried out in the Liberal Education Committee (LEC). This review may be postponed until the spring for domains that may have more representative courses offered in the spring, or for domain representatives who are unable to coordinate assessment efforts during the fall semester.
  • Collect syllabi for all courses being taught in the domain during the assessment period.
  • Syllabi will be evaluated for presence of domain-specific learning outcomes and linkages of learning outcomes to listed discussion topics, readings, and assignments.
  • Reports will be prepared by domain representatives for presentation at LEC. Upon presentation, reports will be distributed to instructors and Departments contributing to the domain.
  • Reports will be compiled in repository (Weave or other relevant software).
Phase 2: Learning Outcome (LO) Assessment
  • Co-DAA will work with domain representative to establish sampling plan for the LO assessment. Domain representative will conduct initial outreach to faculty in the semester prior to LO assessment.
  • Co-DAA and domain representative will guide faculty included in the sample with assignment selection and utilizing LEP rubrics to assess student artifacts. Data collection will be completed upon the end of the semester.
  • Reports will be prepared by Co-DAA in consultation with domain representatives.
  • Presentation of reports will be conducted in LEC in the semester following assessment and distributed to instructors and Departments contributing to the domain.
  • Reports will be compiled in repository (Weave or other relevant software).
Phase 3: Domain Revisions/ Curricular Support
  • During this phase, assessments conducted in phases 1 and 2 will be revisited and reviewed in detail. LEC will complete a discussion of challenges/ weaknesses and successes/ strengths, with the goal of making adjustments to improve the domain.
  • Discussions held in LEC will focus on action items to address the challenges or reinforce the strengths identified through assessment phases 1 and 2.
  • Action items may emphasize student learning or faculty instruction of the learning outcomes. Revisions for this phase should not focus on the assessment process.
  • Recommendations should be enacted and may include direct support to departments and/or faculty teaching in the domain, refinement of documents to guide course design and instruction, and recommendations for inclusion/ exclusion of courses in the domain.
  • If a course is found not to address domain-specific learning outcomes, direct support should be provided to the department offering the course and it must be included in the phase 4 (re)assessment process.
  • LEC is encouraged to design workshops for faculty specifically focusing on LEP recommendations identified during this phase.
  • Summary reports will be created by domain representative and distributed to the LEC.
  • Reports will be compiled in repository (Weave or other relevant software).
Phase 4: Mini (Re)Assessment
  • A subsection of courses included in the phases 1 and 2 will be reassessed to monitor improvements and revisions.
  • Co-DAA will work with the domain representative to identify a sample of courses to be included. Domain representatives will initiate contact with faculty to be included in the sample.
  • Any courses identified as not addressing domain-specific learning outcomes in phase 3 must be included in the phase 4 (re)assessment process.
  • Co-DAA and domain representative will guide faculty included in the sample with assignment selection and utilizing LEP rubrics to assess student artifacts. Data collection will be completed upon the end of the semester. Domain representative will serve as second rater for a random selection of assignments.
  • Reports will be prepared by Co-DAA in consultation with domain representatives.
  • Presentation of reports will be conducted in LEC upon conclusion of reassessment and distributed to instructors and Departments contributing to the domain.
  • Reports will be compiled in repository (Weave or other relevant software).
Phase 5: Revisions
  • Based on phase 4 reassessment, determine what further revisions need to be made to strengthen the domain.
  • LEC may consider hosting workshops for faculty focusing on ongoing recommendations made during this phase. Other support may be provided to faculty teaching in the domain through discussions and verbal or written guidance.
  • During this phase, courses that did not address domain-specific learning outcomes in phase 3 should be discussed. If the courses still do not address the domain learning outcomes, LEC should create a recommendation for inclusion/exclusion from the domain and any associated action steps for the contributing Department.
  • Summary reports will be created by domain representative and distributed to the LEC.
  • Reports will be compiled in repository (Weave or other relevant software)