HUMANITIES 2004-2005

The current assessment of the humanities is based upon best practices and the expertise of humanities instructors from the English, Philosophy, Modern and Classical Languages and Communication departments.

General Education Humanities Requirement:






Students will demonstrate knowledge of the conventions and methods of at least one of the humanities (in addition to those encompassed by other knowledge areas required by the General Education program).






  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the humanistic tradition of questioning and determining the meaning(s) of human experience.
  2. Students will demonstrate recognition of the central role values play in the process of questioning and determining the meaning(s) of human experience.






Students will demonstrate the ability to engage in close reading of texts (broadly defined) or complete objective exams.



Student Performance



Students in all humanities courses designated as general education, ones which are not encompassed by other knowledge areas required by the General Education program, will be provided with the outcome/objectives at the start of the semester.  Students will complete at least writing assignment that addresses the learning/outcomes/objectives.  These writing products may vary from class to class but will be assessed in terms of the learning outcomes/objectives and by the same rubric.  When assessment occurs, writing samples from all departments within the Humanities will be chosen randomly, an equal number of writing products from each department (on a course by course basis.)



Assessment Criteria/Standards

The students’ writing products will be evaluated by two outside faculty readers (not including the students’ instructor) according to a rubric that reflects the identified learning objectives.  No student or professor identification will be attached to the writing products.

All faculty member evaluators will use the attached rubric to evaluate these writing products.



Before assessment takes place, all faculty evaluators will meet and randomly evaluate the same 5 writing samples according to the rubric to determine the level of inter-observer reliability.  Adjustments and discussion will occur as necessary to get the highest level of reliability possible.






Writing products from randomly chosen courses within the Humanities Core will be assessed according to the procedures specified here.  The aim is to achieve a sample size of approximately N=115.






The results of this assessment will be discussed yearly at regular meetings of the faculty who teach core humanities courses and action taken where deemed appropriate to improve the humanities general education learning outcomes.


HUMANITIES ASSESSMENT RUBRIC                                                             






A. Conventions:
     Students will:

1 – below standard

2 – approaches standard

3 – meets standard

4 – exceeds standard

Demonstrate knowledge of the humanistic tradition of questioning and determining the meaning(s) of human experience

Student writing only reflects ability to repeat explanations of instructor.  Student shows no engagement with texts read and no understanding of issues/ideas explored in texts or in class

Student writing reflects only a vague sense of issues and ideas but has little understanding of the particular writer’s position on the issue or of the major canonical themes of the writer.  Student writing reflects little engagement in the process of interpretation and analysis.

Student writing reflects an awareness of the issues and ideas being explored in the texts they read and an engagement with a particular writer’s ideas.  Student does not show thorough understanding of these and how they contribute to a broader discussion of the issues involved.  No connections are made between texts and human experience.

Student writing reflects an accurate understanding of  writers’ ideas about human experience as well as the fact that these ideas contribute in specific ways to a broader discussion of the issues being explored and presented.  Student writing reveals an understanding between writers’ ideas and human experience.


Demonstrate recognition of the central role values play in the processes of perceiving and understanding the meaning(s) of human experience


Student writing indicates no understanding of the influence of values on perception and understanding.  Student can only think in terms of right and wrong with no ability to listen to others’ ideas and opinions.


Student writing shows only a vague sense of the relationship between values and knowledge.  Student knows writers’ ideas but cannot infer and explain how writer’s values inspired those ideas.


Student writing reflects an awareness of the relationship between writers’ ideas and values but not a thorough understanding of the relationship between the two.  Students reveal knowledge of different writers’ ideas but cannot explain how these stem from different value-systems.


Student writing reflects an understanding of how a writer’s ideas stem from a value-system.  Student can discuss clearly different writers’ ideas on the same topic and explain how the differences reflect the different values of the writers.  Student also reveals a sense of how his/her values influence his/her opinion of writers.


B. Method:
    Students will:


Student writing offers no reasonable explanation of texts and merely parrots words and explanations heard in lecture and class discussion.


Student offers a general summary of topics discusses in a text but no understanding of the specific meaning in a given text or passage.


Student explains accurately the meaning of a given text but does not refer specifically to the writer’s ideas or offer support for their opinions.


Student refers specifically to writers’ ideas in the assignment, explains those ideas in their own language, and offers specific support for his/her interpretations.