Clarification and review of learning outcomes
California State University, East Bay is a comprehensive public university enrolling more than 13,000 students in the San Francisco Bay area. The two campuses of Cal State East Bay offer 52 baccalaureate degrees, 35 master’s degrees, and a doctorate in educational leadership. In 2011, the institution’s Academic Senate embarked on an ambitious project to develop Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) and, as a second phase, to develop a plan for assessing them as part of the academic review process.
The DQP was used to help frame discussions regarding the meaning, quality and integrity of a Cal State East Bay degree and to examine linkages between general education, academic majors and ILOs. In addition, undergraduate and graduate
academic program learning outcomes are being examined to be sure they are consistent with the ILOs. Faculty members are using a DQP-like spider web to inform program development and improvement efforts.
At Marshall University (WV) every degree program collects evidence of student learning on an annual basis. In 2010, a year before the beta version of the DQP appeared, the university began to implement a new core curriculum featuring seven domains of critical thinking. However, the intended outcomes for all Marshall students at each degree level, regardless of the student’s major field, had not been clearly articulated. Marshall joined the Higher Learning Commission’s DQP consortium and used the DQP as a framework to review and document the extent to which the institution’s core curriculum, instructional and assessment practices were consistent with the DQP’s proficiencies. This allowed Marshall to create its own degree profile at the baccalaureate level.
First, a task force was formed to consider a campus policy that all syllabi explicitly link outcomes, learning activities and assessments. Second, a workgroup studied the current domains of critical thinking, recommended revisions, articulated outcomes, and developed rubrics to measure the core domain outcomes. The revised domains of critical thinking aligned with the DQP include: Communication Fluency, Creative Thinking, Ethical and Civic Thinking, Information Literacy, Inquiry-Based Thinking, Integrative Thinking, Intercultural Thinking, Metacognitive Thinking and Quantitative Thinking.
Finally, all programs at each degree level have been asked to examine the alignment between various levels of learning outcomes and to map those outcomes to the DQP. The DQP helped Marshall underscore the importance of connecting students’ actual learning experience to the learning goals explicated in the Marshall University Degree Profile.