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Journal of General Education: A Curricular Commons of the Humanities and Sciences

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Student outcomes and the reform of education, Educational evaluation, Universities and colleges -- Departments -- Evaluation, Critical pedagogy, Program evaluation in education, Curriculum-based assessment


This article argues that general education assessment is an opportunity for engaging faculty and the general education program as a whole in critical reflection on the practices and pedagogies that affect the entire undergraduate body. Through intentional assessment practices tied to learning outcomes, pedagogical expectations, and faculty and student classroom experience, an assessment program can meet accreditation expectations while serving as a rich location for critical reflection and continuous improvement. To illustrate, this article takes the reader through a year in the life of University Studies' assessment at Portland State University. It provides details about the individual elements of our assessment program (e.g., review of student ePortfolios, mid-term feedback, and course evaluations) and how these each provide opportunities for faculty and programmatic critical reflection. It describes both long-standing practices as well as new or experimental elements that arise from the current programmatic context, providing examples of the ways in which we continually evolve our practices. Finally, it weaves the elements together and identifies the strengths and challenges of our approach, as well as opportunities for deeper, increasingly impactful critical practice in the future.


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