Academic Learning Compacts
Realigning FAU’s Assessment System
to meet new SUS Guidelines
1
Slides 3 through 20 of this handout were covered in the
workshop.
Slides 13 and 14 indicate action items for discussion and approval
at a future BoT meeting.
Slides 21 and 22 provide a status report of the progress FAU’s
academic departments have made on this initiative. By May 2005,
all departments are expected to complete the first two columns,
and by December 2005 all departments are expected to complete
the last two columns.
Slides 23 through 38 provide supplemental materials and
examples of the underlying terms found in slides 3 through 20 of
the handout.
Several slides include comments from the April 13, 2005 BoT
workshop. To view comments, right-click “Edit Slides.” Comments
will appear as yellow boxes on several slides.
2
Scroll and stop on a yellow box to view the comment.
What are ALCs?
“Academic Learning Compacts…include concise
statements of what active and successful participants in
the joint teaching-learning process will know and be able
to do, expressed in terms of the core student learning
outcomes embodied in the requirements for each
baccalaureate degree. The Compacts also will list the
types of assessments used in the program. Compacts
provided to students must be written in a user-friendly,
jargon-free format.”
Policy Guideline 04.08.26
State University System/Division of
Colleges and Universities
3
Where did ALCs originate?
• In recent years, there has been increased
emphasis on the identification and assessment
of core student learning outcomes in higher
education.
• Through its strategic planning process, the
Florida Board of Governors has articulated the
importance of student achievement.
• Board of Governors’ resolution of April 22, 2004
directed university personnel to develop ALCs
and related processes.
4
What is the purpose of ALCs?
• Improve student achievement and
program effectiveness
• One of seven BOG-approved accountability
measures
• Part of annual Departmental Performance
Review and Program Review.
5
How is FAU implementing ALCs?
ALCs fit within Florida Atlantic University’s
established comprehensive assessment
system with minor modifications.
6
BoG Policy Guideline
DEVELOPMENT OF
ALCs
Each university shall
construct clearly defined
policies and
procedures for
developing,
implementing, and
reviewing Academic
Learning Compacts
and associated
activities.
FAU’s Compliance
FAU is realigning the
assessment processes it
established in 2000 to
meet ALC requirements.
In 2002, SACS affirmed
and complimented FAU
on the breadth and
depth of its assessment
process.
7
BoG Policy Guideline
1. a. Identify, at a
minimum, the
expected core
student learning
outcomes for
program graduates
in the areas of
i. content/discipline
knowledge and skills;
ii. communication skills*;
iii. critical thinking skills*;
*
these skills may be defined
at either the university level
or the program level
FAU’s Compliance
FAU’s programs identify
one or more of each of
the following outcomes:
• Content knowledge
– Terms, Theories
– Research skills
– Technical skills
• Communication skills*
Written – Oral – Other
• Critical Thinking skills*
Analytical – Creative –
Practical
*
FAU’s Writing Across the
Curriculum requirement
8
BoG Policy Guideline
1. b. Identify
corresponding
assessments used
to determine how
well student learning
matches those
articulated
expectations.
Where/When are
students assessed?
How are students held to
performance standards?
FAU’s Compliance
Departments assess all
students through one or
more of the following:
• Core required courses
• Capstone experience
– Honors thesis
– Senior project/portfolio
– Field placement
• Standardized test
9
BoG Policy Guideline
1. b. Identify
corresponding
assessments used
to determine how
well student learning
matches those
articulated
expectations.
Where/When are students
assessed?
How are students held to
performance
standards?
FAU’s Compliance
Departments establish
standards through one or
more approaches:
• Standardizing courses
– Common syllabi
– Common expectations
– Common assignments
• Grading rubrics
– Faculty define levels of
student performance
– Periodic calibration
• Setting cut-off scores
on required exams
10
BoG Policy Guideline
2. University personnel will
develop the
evaluation systems
(including external
validations)
necessary to
corroborate that the
assessments referenced
above measure student
achievement against the
expected core learning
outcomes…. (continued)
FAU’s Compliance
FAU’s departments rely
on one or more systems:
• Multiple raters
– Juried performances
– 2+ faculty members
– Non-faculty raters
• Sampling
Collection and periodic
review of student work
• Comparisons to norms
on standardized tests
11
BoG Policy Guideline
(continued)… and
results will be used to
improve student
achievement and
program
effectiveness.
FAU’s Compliance
FAU’S online Assessment
Reporting Database
Each year (since 2000),
departments enter reports
in which they provide data
from assessment studies
and identify resulting
program improvements.
In Summer 2005, FAU will
align this database for both
ALC and SACS reporting.
12
BoG Policy Guideline
[U]niversity personnel shall
develop an action plan
that will be approved by
their university’s board
of trustees and submitted
to the Division of Colleges
and Universities.
(There are two components
of this action plan that are
presented on the next two
slides.)
FAU’s Compliance
•
•
•
•
History of developing
FAU’s action plan
Briefing at University
Undergraduate Programs
Committee (Sep 04)
Consultations with
academic departments
(Fall 04 - Spring 05)
Progress report to Faculty
Senate Chair (Mar 05)
Board of Trustees
Information (Oct 04)
Workshop (Apr 05)
Approval (May 05)
13
BoG Policy Guideline
The plan shall include the
following:
• A proposed timeline for
developing policies
and implementing
procedures to capture
each element outlined
above, as well as in
making Academic
Learning Compacts
readily available to
students.
FAU’s Compliance
Status reports to BoG:
5-05: Initial report
9-05: Follow-up report
Policies/procedures to
be completed by 9-05
12-05: Final report
ALCs will appear on
departmental Web
sites during Fall 2005

14
BoG Policy Guideline
The plan shall include the
following:
• A description of how university
personnel will certify that
each baccalaureate
graduate has completed a
program with clearly
articulated core student
learning expectations in
content/discipline knowledge
and skills, communication skills,
and critical thinking skills and
that corresponding robust
and effective assessment
mechanisms have been
used to ensure that graduates
have met the criteria of the
Compacts.
FAU’s Compliance
FAU will certify students
through the awarding of
a baccalaureate degree
from programs that have
articulated ALCs and
that require students to
achieve acceptable
performance standards
prior to graduation.
15
Academic Learning Compacts ensure that no student will
graduate without meeting the requirement of:
• a senior capstone course, or
• an exit examination, or
• a series of required courses
in which students have demonstrated sufficient competence
in content knowledge, communication skills, and critical
thinking skills within the discipline.
16
BoG Policy Guideline
In addition to submitting the
action plan, university
personnel shall submit a
status report that includes
an analysis of the
progress being made in
each baccalaureate
program toward the
development and
implementation of the
elements outlined above, as
well as in making Academic
Learning Compacts readily
available to students.
FAU’s Compliance
See Slide 14
17
BoG Policy Guideline
FAU’s Compliance
IMPLEMENTATION OF ALCS
University personnel will provide
students and prospective
students with Academic Learning
Compacts, which include concise
statements of what active and
successful participants in the joint
teaching-learning process will know
and be able to do, expressed in
terms of the core student
learning outcomes embodied in
the requirements for each
baccalaureate degree. The
Compacts also will list the types of
assessments used in the program.
Compacts provided to students must
be written in a user-friendly,
jargon-free format.
Examples from FAU
are on a Web site:
http://iea.fau.edu/
pusateri/assess/
ALC.htm
18
BoG Policy Guideline
University policies and
procedures shall delineate
how and where
Academic Learning
Compacts will be made
readily available to
students. However, the
Academic Learning
Compacts must be made
available to students
beginning no later than
the fall semester of
2005.
FAU’s Compliance
ALCs will be posted on
departmental Web pages.
Future undergraduate
catalogs will include a
general description of
ALCs and will visit
departmental Web pages
for the ALCs for specific
degree programs.
19
BoG Policy Guideline
REVIEW OF ALCs
University personnel are
expected to demonstrate
how information from the
periodic review of student
learning outcomes, as well
as from the evaluation of
corresponding assessment
mechanisms, has been used
to improve student
achievement and program
effectiveness.
FAU’s Compliance
This is an integral part
of each Dean’s annual
departmental
performance reviews
20
No Action
FAU's Progress on
Academic Learning Compacts
(as of April 13, 2005)
COLLEGE
Program Title (Major)
Plan Entered, Much Revision needed
Plan Entered, Some Revision needed
Task Complete
Learning
Outcomes
Effective
Assessments
Evaluation
Systems
Available to
Students
Architecture
Criminal Justice
CAUPA
Public Management
Social Work
Urban and Regional Planning
Anthropology
Art
Interdisciplinary Studies
Multimedia Studies
Communication
English
ARTS &
LETTERS
History
Jewish Studies
Linguistics, It, Ger, Fr, Sp
Music
Philosophy
Political Science
Sociology
Theatre
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COLLEGE
Program Title (Major)
Learning
Outcomes
Effective
Assessments
Evaluation
Systems
Available to
Students
Accounting
Economics
Finance
Real Estate
BUSINESS
Health Services
Management Information Systems
Management
International Business & Trade
Marketing
Varying Exceptionalities Program
EDUCATION
Exercise Science & Health Promotion
Florida Teacher Certification
Civil Engineering
Computer Science/Engineering
ENGINEERING
Electrical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Ocean Engineering
HONORS
Liberal Arts & Sciences
NURSING
Nursing
Biology
Chemistry
SCIENCE
Geology, Geography
Mathematics
Physics
Psychology
22
FAU’S DEFINITIONS OF CONTENT KNOWLEDGE IN THE DISCIPLINE
Declarative knowledge: Students will demonstrate knowledge of the
vocabulary, history, theories or concepts specific to the discipline. Declarative
knowledge is usually assessed via in-class or standardized tests, typically in an
objective (multiple-choice; short answer) format.
Procedural knowledge: Research skills: Students will demonstrate
knowledge of the procedures involved in discipline-specific research (e.g., idea
generation, literature review, data collection, reporting). These skills are
usually measured via the evaluation of a research project, thesis, or
dissertation.
Procedural knowledge: Technical skills: Student will demonstrate
technical skills related to the discipline (e.g., developing a business report or
lesson plan, mastering a musical instrument, learning how to use statistical
software). This type of procedural knowledge may be assessed via an in-class
project (e.g., case study, paper), observation (e.g., juried performance), or
portfolio.
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FAU’S DEFINITIONS OF COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Written communication: Students will produce writing that is grammatically correct,
well-organized, and properly formatted for the purpose of the assignment and the
discipline. This is usually assessed via individual paper assignments where instructors
assess the quality of written expression.
Oral communication: Students will prepare and deliver informative and/or persuasive
oral presentations that attend to the audience and are well-organized. This is usually
assessed via individual oral presentations in a classroom setting, although sometimes
instructors and/or supervisors may assess oral communication across time (e.g., during
classroom discussions or at an internship site).
Other forms of communication: Students will prepare and present information
and/or persuasive material using media that may or may not include written or oral
communication (e.g., a musical or theatrical performance; a visual, audiovisual, or
graphical product). This is usually assessed via classroom projects, juried performances,
and/or portfolios.
Team/Collaborative communication: Students will demonstrate team-oriented,
collaborative skills in which they contribute to group products. This is usually assessed
via group papers or presentations and may involve peer-assessment (e.g., group
members assess each other) and/or assessment by audience members (e.g., an
instructor, supervisor, or peer).
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FAU’S DEFINITIONS OF CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS
(Based on Robert Sternberg’s Theory of Successful Intelligence)
Analytical skills: Students will analyze, evaluate, compare/contrast or judge
discipline-specific theories, issues, events, or other content. This is usually
assessed through examining the quality of argument in a student essay, oral
presentation, or formal report.
Creative skills: Students will create a product by synthesizing knowledge
from a discipline (e.g., create a new piece of art, interpret a piece of music in a
personal and appropriate way, develop a new theory or research proposal).
This is usually assessed by an instructor or supervisor examining a student
product for the quality of its synthesis of current knowledge into a new
product.
Practical skills: Students will put into practice their knowledge and skills
within a discipline (e.g., developing a business proposal or lesson plan, writing
a grant). This is assessed ideally by examining an authentic product the
student employs in an appropriate setting (e.g., a student teacher delivering a
lesson, an intern proposing a plan to a supervisor); it may also be assessed via
in-class projects in which students propose practical solutions based on their
understanding of the discipline (e.g., case study analysis).
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EXAMPLES OF ALCs
CONTENT KNOWLEDGE
PSYCHOLOGY (Terms, theories): Graduates in Psychology will
understand basic concepts, theories, and experimental findings in
four core areas of psychology (cognitive, developmental, social,
and psychobiology).
HISTORY (Research & Technical skills): Students will
demonstrate the ability to conduct archival research utilizing both
primary and secondary sources. They will develop procedural and
technical skills involved in historical research such as library
research, oral history, book review writing, and proper citations.
FINANCE (Technical skills): Students will develop proficiency in
the use of Microsoft Excel to solve financial problems.
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EXAMPLES OF ALCs
COMMUNICATION SKILLS
GEOGRAPHY: Graduates in Geography will be able to produce
writing that is grammatically correct and well-organized and to
deliver clear and well-organized oral presentations. Both written
and oral communications should illustrate clear communication
skills utilizing graphic tools in geographic information systems,
remote sensing and other techniques.
REAL ESTATE: Students will demonstrate their abilities to report
the results from their feasibility analyses both orally and in written
form in a clear and grammatically sound manner. Students will
also demonstrate skills in discussing the analyses presented by
their peers.
TEACHER EDUCATION: Students will demonstrate the ability to
communicate effectively verbally and in writing (EAP 2, Indicator
2.2) by successfully developing and implementing a lesson plan.
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EXAMPLES OF ALCs CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS
ENGLISH: Students will analyze/interpret a complex literary
work, demonstrating the capacity to formulate and develop in a
formal essay a significant topic in depth and in an independent
and even original way. Essays are expected to exhibit mature
creative and analytical thinking, and an ability to create a mature
critical argument quickly with no external assistance.
COMPUTER ANIMATION IN ARTS: Students will demonstrate
proficiency in understanding and apply the stages of problemsolving skills (e.g. research, thumbnail, roughs, comprehensive
and mechanical preparation) as applied to 3D computer arts.
ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING: Design and conduct scientific
and engineering experiments including analysis and interpretation
of data. Deliver engineering results that meet performance
standards for cost, safety, and quality. Make and defend ethical
judgments in keeping with professional standards.
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CORE REQUIRED COURSES
PSYCHOLOGY: For each of the courses listed below, faculty
teaching that course will develop a master syllabus which will
include student learning outcomes to be addressed in all sections
of the course. Faculty will share strategies for developing course
assignments (e.g., exams, exercises, term papers) to assess
student attainment of the learning outcomes. The courses are:
EXP 3505: Cognition,
DEP 3054: Psychology of Human Development,
SOP 3004: Social Psychology, and
PSB 3002: Biological Bases of Behavior.
MUSIC: All students must complete four specific courses in the
history and literature of music:
MUH 3013 (Introduction to Music History),
MUH 4211 (Music of Western Civilization I),
MUH 4212 (Music of Western Civilization II), and
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MUH 4371 (20th Century Music History).
CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE
SOCIAL WORK: All BSW students are required to take SOW
4510 (Field Education in Social Work), which includes a classroom
field seminar plus 400 agency-based hours supervised by a
professional social worker. This experience integrates classroom
knowledge from the Human Behavior in the Social Environment
(HBSE) sequence, practice sequence, research sequence, and
policy sequence; students use this knowledge base to develop
skills to intervene with various clients.
HONORS COLLEGE: During the senior year, students will enroll
in thesis research and thesis writing and will produce a draft
honors thesis to be evaluated. To prepare for writing a senior
thesis, students will complete (1) courses in their concentration
aimed at providing the content knowledge needed to write a
thesis, (2) writing courses aimed at providing competence in
effective written communication, and (3) courses in the core and
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concentration designed to build critical thinking skills.
STANDARDIZED TEST
NURSING: Approximately three months prior to graduation, all
seniors will take the Health Education Systems, Inc. (HESI)
examination. This test is a valid predictor of performance on the
National Licensing Examination (NCLEX). Students must achieve
a score of 850 or better on the HESI to graduate. Students who
do not receive a passing score are provided with advising and a
remediation plan and the opportunity to re-take the exam; they
will not graduate until their score is 850 or better.
OCEAN ENGINEERING: One of the requirements for
graduation is that a student must take the nationally-administered
Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination. The examination
tests one's knowledge of basic and fundamental engineering
subjects: statics, dynamics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics,
computer programming, engineering economics, electrical
networks and strength of materials.
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STANDARDIZING COURSES
PSYCHOLOGY: Faculty teaching core courses will develop a
master syllabus which will include student learning outcomes to
be addressed in all sections of the course. Faculty will share
strategies for developing course assignments (e.g., exams,
exercises, term papers) to assess student attainment of the
learning outcomes.
ACCOUNTING: Faculty members teaching the undergraduate
accounting core courses: ACG 3131 (Financial Reporting), ACG
3341 (Managerial Decision Making and Accounting)., and TAX
4001 (Federal Taxation I) are required to teach a set number of
chapters from a common text selected by departmental decision.
Faculty members teaching a particular course will develop and
periodically review a common list of educational objectives and
the topics and critical thinking skills appropriate to these
objectives to teach in each course.
32
GRADING RUBRICS
ENGLISH: Essays in all 3000- and 4000-level English courses
will be assessed holistically according to a rubric developed and
shared by faculty and communicated to students.
SUPERIOR
Addresses the question or prompt fully
Demonstrates substantial comprehension of relevant material
Shows substantial depth, complexity, and creativity of thought
Demonstrates clear and coherent organization
Develops arguments fully with ample supporting detail
Demonstrates superior control of diction, syntactic variety, and transitions
STRONG
Addresses the question or prompt substantively, yet not fully
Demonstrates comprehension of relevant material
Shows depth, complexity, and creativity of thought
Demonstrates clear organization
Develops arguments with supporting detail
Demonstrates control of diction, syntactic variety, and transition
33
ENGLISH RUBRIC (continued)
COMPETENT
Adequately addresses the question or prompt
Demonstrates adequate understanding of relevant material
Shows clarity of thought but may treat the topic simplistically or repetitively
Demonstrates adequate organization
Develops arguments adequately, with some detail
Demonstrates adequate facility with syntax, mechanics, and usage
but contains some errors
INADEQUATE
May distort or neglect parts of the question or prompt, and/or
Fails to comprehend relevant material
Lacks clarity of thought; demonstrates confused/simplistic thinking, and/or
Lacks adequate organization, and/or
Fails to provide adequate or appropriate details to support generalizations, or
may provide details without generalization, and/or
Demonstrates significant errors in language, syntax, or mechanics
34
HONORS COLLEGE RUBRIC:
Honors with distinction: The thesis demonstrates a profound
knowledge of the fundamental concepts in the subject area. The thesis shows
mastery of grammar, syntax, structure and style: it is lucid, well-organized, and
stylistically elegant. The thesis engages in sophisticated critical thinking and
rigorously considers alternate resolutions of a problem in an exemplary fashion
or otherwise shows sophisticated critical thinking in an exemplary manner
appropriate to the area of study.
Honors: The thesis shows a thorough knowledge of the fundamental
concepts in the subject area. The thesis shows effective command of grammar,
syntax, structure and style: it is clearly written and sensibly organized. The
thesis engages in sophisticated critical thinking and explores alternate
approaches or resolutions of a problem effectively or otherwise shows
sophisticated critical thinking in a manner appropriate to the area of study.
Unacceptable: The thesis does not show competent knowledge of the
fundamental concepts in the subject area. The thesis does not show mastery
of grammar, syntax, structure, or style. The thesis does not competently
engage in critical thinking or explore alternate approaches or resolutions of a
problem.
35
CUT-OFF SCORE ON STANDARDIZED EXAM
NURSING: Approximately three months prior to graduation, all
seniors will take the Health Education Systems, Inc. (HESI)
examination. This test is a valid predictor of performance on the
National Licensing Examination (NCLEX). Students must achieve
a score of 850 or better on the HESI to graduate. Students who
do not receive a passing score are provided with advising and a
remediation plan and the opportunity to re-take the exam; they
will not graduate until their score is 850 or better.
COMPARISON TO NORMS ON STANDARDIZED TESTS
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MULTIPLE RATERS
MUSIC
CONTENT KNOWLEDGE (Technical skills) and
COMMUNICATION and
CRITICAL THINKING (Creative skills): Graduates will have ability
to perform a cross section of the music from the complete
repertoire of the performance medium and exhibit the appropriate
technical skills for artistic self-expression.
Students in the Bachelors Music program will be evaluated by the
appropriate faculty at jury performances each semester. They are
also required to successfully complete a senior recital, which must
include representative examples from the appropriate repertoire
for the performance medium. A pre-hearing evaluated by three
faculty members must be approved before the recital is
scheduled.
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SAMPLING
LANGUAGES & LINGUISTICS: Will randomly sample the
performance of students writing term papers for program-specific
3000- and 4000-level courses to compare demonstrated research
skills for these with the research-skill performance of students
taking and passing FOL 3880.
Will randomly sample the accuracy of linguistic structures and
attention to linguistic nuance in the essays of students enrolled in
selected 3000- and 4000-level courses to compare rankings of
student performance in linguistics-specific courses with rankings
of students’ linguistic awareness as evidenced in other courses.
JEWISH STUDIES: Periodically selected exams and papers will
be read by members of the Jewish Studies Executive Committee
to ensure that the criteria of the Academic Learning Compacts are
being met by individual students.
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FAU’s Response to FL State Requirements for Academic