General Education Assessment

The purpose of student outcomes assessment is to provide useful and timely information about student achievement as it relates to the institution’s academic goals.  Buffalo State aspires to excellence in teaching and learning and scholarship, cultural enrichment and service and therefore has established the following priorities which reflect our values:

Information obtained through assessment activities is used to determine how well we are achieving out goals and to identify areas that we can improve.

BSC seeks to provide an outstanding general education program that has clearly defined learning goals and objectives.  The following assessment plan incorporates student learning in twelve areas:

BSC graduates will demonstrate competency in these areas through assessment of the following learning outcomes:

A complete cycle of assessment will occur every three years according to the following schedule:

2002-2003:  Mathematics, Basic Communication, Foreign Language, American History

2003-2004:  Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Critical Thinking, Information Management

2004-2005:  Western Civilization, Other World Civilizations, Humanities, Arts

Overall, general education learning outcomes assessment:

  1. will take place within general education courses.  This approach was adopted for several reasons:

  2. The expected student response rate will be significantly higher when assessment occurs naturally within the context of a course.

  3. It eliminates the problem of determining which students are transfers who may not have taken their general education coursework at Buffalo State ( and therefore should be assessed at the school where they did complete general education) and which are natives.

  4. This assessment plan targets only students completing general education coursework  at Buffalo State.

  5. It eliminates the problem of time away from the subject affecting the results.  If the  assessments were given at one set time for all students, some would have taken the subject matter recently and some would have taken it years before.  It can be reasonably anticipated that this would yield inconsistent results.

  6. will take place at different times in students’ progress to graduation.  Buffalo State students tend to weave general education courses throughout their time here so there is no one point to effectively measure learning outcomes for everyone.  Embedding assessment in general education courses as they are taken is much more effective.

  7. will reflect the distribution requirements in the areas identified. Therefore, one size does not fit all.  Some courses have enrollments of 90 and above and some have enrollments of 25 – 35; some courses are 100 level and some are 300 level.  Flexibility is necessary.  For example, it may be desirable and necessary to assess using different methods within one of these areas.  Courses vary greatly by enrollment, so multiple choice instruments may be necessitated in large classes and written instruments may be used in smaller classes.  In 100 level courses there may be more reliance on objective testing than there is in 300 level courses, etc.