General Education Assessment

As a beginning to an assessment of general education, the university gave a holistic writing exam to a group of forty-three graduating seniors in May of 2004. Students wrote for up to fifty minutes on a topic of social significance that they themselves had selected. A jury of 6 professors graded these essays using the two-grader agreement method. Essays were graded from 1 (completely inadequate) to 4 (excellent) for a set of 9 different areas: significance of topic, statement of thesis, timely placement of thesis, division of thesis into logical sub-points, support with logic or data, consideration of an objection, diction, mechanics, and ability to articulate what a Wesleyan approach to the topic would be. For each of these nine elements, a rubric was provided clarifying exactly what would constitute a 1, a 2, etc.

The Assessment Committee and the General Education Task Force are continuing to develop methods for the assessment of general education. These groups are considering using student portfolios that would include some pre- and post- work from specific general education classes, some work from senior capstone classes, and the holistic writing exam.