Learning Assessment and Rowan Core

Learning Assessment and Rowan Core

Learning Assessment and Rowan Core Committee

LARC logo

The LARC Committee, which merges the previous Rowan Core and Learning Outcomes & Assessment committees, was created in Spring 2020. It is currently chaired by Nathan Bauer. In Fall 2021, Nathan Bauer and Jennifer Nicholson will co-chair the committee. Starting Spring 2021, Jennifer Nicholson will be the chair of LARC.

A complete statement of Rowan Core policy, incorporating all approved Senate resolutions, can be found here: Rowan Core Policy.

A list of all current Rowan Core courses (filterable by literacy) is available here: List of Current Rowan Core Courses.

Guidance for creating a Rowan Core, WI or LIT course is available below.

 

Committee Charge

The Learning Assessment & Rowan Core (LARC) Committee has the following responsibilities:

  • Ongoing review of Rowan University’s assessment principles and practices.
  • Develop and approve changes to Rowan Core policy. (Significant changes require Senate approval.)
  • Review and approve new course assessment plans, including Rowan Core, WI and LIT assessment. (This review must be completed before a course receives the Rowan Core, WI or LIT course attribute.)
  • Review and approve proposed changes to course assessment plans.
  • Communicate regularly with departments regarding Rowan Core policy, the status of Rowan Core courses, and assessment requirements.
  • Manage the Rowan Core program in coordination with the Director of Assessment (e.g., maintain a shared database, systematic review and analysis of assessment data).
  • Periodic review of existing course assessment plans to ensure that they remain relevant and follow best practices in assessment.
  • Revoke the Rowan Core, WI or LIT attributes from a course if the department fails to do the approved student assessments.
  • Work with departments on program assessment, including the optional integration of program assessment with Rowan Core, WI and LIT course assessment plans.
  • Review student appeals of transfer credit to fulfill Rowan Core, WI or LIT requirements.
  • Revise existing Rowan Core learning outcomes (or add new ones) as needed.

About Rowan Core

Rowan Core is the general education model at Rowan University that began running in Fall 2018. Students complete course requirements in six Rowan Core literacies: Artistic, Communicative, Global, Humanistic, Quantitative and Scientific. Student learning is assessed based on a set of outcomes for each literacy.

Rowan Core Updates (and a Potted History)

  • Start of Fall 2021 set as the date on which incoming transfer students will begin following the Rowan Core requirements [see the full Senate resolution]
  • Resolution establishing the review responsibilities of the Senate Curriculum and LARC Committees for Rowan Core, WI and LIT courses [approved by the Senate Nov. 20, 2020]
  • Plan for the future of WI and LIT courses [approved by the Senate Nov. 20, 2020]
  • New LARC Committee replaces the existing Rowan Core and Learning Outcomes & Assessment Committees [Fall 2020]
  • New Rowan Core Transfer Credit Policy approved [April 24, 2020]
  • New online alternative to Public Speaking developed [April 24, 2020, link includes FAQ]
  • Full rewrite of the Rowan Core learning outcomes [Spring 2020, implementation in progress]
  • Amended Rowan Core policy approved [a full rewrite of Rowan Core policy, Spring 2019]
  • Initial Implementation of Rowan Core [Fall 2018, initially for first-year, native Rowan Students]
  • Quasi-curricular proposal creating the Rowan Core Committee and model approved [Fall 2015; note: this policy document is fully superseded by the Amended Rowan Core policy above]
  • (several years of contentious debates about the future of general education at Rowan)
  • Original Rowan Core Literacies and outcomes approved [Fall 2011; superseded by the new outcomes approved above]
  • Start of the initiative to reform general education at Rowan [Fall 2010]

A complete and current summary of Rowan Core policy is available here.

Rowan Core is the general education model at Rowan University that began running in Fall 2018. Students complete course requirements in six Rowan Core literacies: Artistic, Communicative, Global, Humanistic, Quantitative and Scientific. Student learning is assessed based on a set of outcomes for each literacy.

How to Create a Rowan Core, WI or LIT Course

Starting Fall 2021, the LARC Committee will no longer be involved in the curricular process. Proposals to create a new Rowan Core, WI or LIT course—or to add one of these attributes to an existing course—will be submitted to and reviewed by the Senate Curriculum Committee.

However, the approved course will not receive the Rowan Core, WI or LIT course attribute until it has completed a post-curricular assessment review managed by the LARC Committee. To do so, departments must prepare a Course Assessment Plan. This document should follow the official template, which ensures that all information required for LARC's review is included. This file should be submitted—as an editable Word Document, not a PDF—to the LARC Committee chair: bauer@rowan.edu.

A pre-formatted Word Document template of the Course Assessment Plan is available here:

Assessment Plan Recommendations

The assessment plan review process is meant to be collaborative, and the LARC Committee's goal is to help your department develop the best possible plan for effectively and meaningfully assessing your Rowan Core, WI or LIT course. You are welcome to send ideas, drafts, questions, etc. to the LARC Committee chair (bauer@rowan.edu) ahead of your official submission.

Departments are urged to consult our sample assessment plan, which includes explanatory comments and tips for designing your own plan. Also available is a list of Rowan Core Outcomes for each Literacy (rewritten in Spring 2020).

For those WI or LIT courses that also satisfy a Rowan Core literacy requirement, we urge departments to do what they can to reduce the assessment burden for instructors. Whenever possible, we recommend that they develop assignments that can do double-duty: being used for both Rowan Core and WI / LIT assessment. For instance, a WI and Global literacy course might create an essay assignment with some rubric dimensions linked to a Global outcome, and other rubric dimensions linked to one of the Communicative outcomes designated for WI use. Just by entering the scores for this one assignment, faculty would be completing both the Global literacy and WI assessments.

All approved assessments (Rowan Core, WI and LIT) should be included together, for ease of use, in a single course assessment plan. Departments using the course for program assessment are encouraged to include this in the course plan as well.

Options for WI Assessment

Assessment for WI courses should involve a major, multi-stage writing project. Because every instructor teaching the course will do the same assessment, this requirement could potentially constrain how they teach the course. Here are two options for dealing with this issue.

  1. Common Writing Project:
    In some courses, it might make sense for every instructor to use the same writing project for assessment—either because there are not very many sections or because the course is fairly standardized in terms of content. For this option, departments would include the specific assignment in the course assessment plan, along with a rubric for the assignment that aligns with one of the WI-approved outcomes. An example of this approach is provided in the sample assessment plan (above).
  2. Generic Project and Assessment Rubric:
    In other courses, it may not be feasible to use the same writing project in every section of the course. Here, departments would instead provide a general description of the project (e.g., a term paper of a certain length, meeting certain general requirements). The project would then be assessed using a generic rubric based on one of the three WI-approved outcomes. Here are these three generic rubrics.

Generic WI Rubric #1: Context, Audience and Purpose: Students can communicate in ways that are sensitive to context, audience and purpose.

 

Proficient

Intermediate

Basic

Developmental

Audience

The writer’s choices reveal a comprehensive understanding of their audience’s knowledge, preferences, assumptions and dispositions.

The writer’s choices reveal an incomplete understanding of their audience’s knowledge, preferences, assumptions and dispositions.

The writer’s choices reveal a flawed understanding of their audience’s knowledge, preferences, assumptions and dispositions.

It is not clear the writer made choices with respect to their audience.

Purpose

The purpose of the text is clear and thoroughly executed throughout the text.

The purpose of the text is clear but inconsistently executed in the text.

The purpose of the text is indistinct.

There is no discernable purpose of the text.

Context

The text works well within the broader context of the discipline or genre.

There is some contextual dissonance between the text and the discipline or genre.

The text does not work within the broader context of the discipline or genre.

There is no discernable context in which the text would work.

Generic WI Rubric #2: Conventions: Students can navigate the conventions of various communities, genres, media and modes.

 

Proficient

Intermediate

Basic

Developmental

Appropriate Conventions

The writer follows conventions that are appropriate for the community, genre, media and mode.

The writer inconsistently follows conventions that are appropriate for the community, genre, media and mode

The writer follows conventions that are inappropriate for the community, genre, media and mode.

The writer follows conventions very inconsistently with no discernable rationale.

Effective Use of Conventions

The writer’s use of conventions (possibly including artful departure from those conventions) contributes to the text’s effectiveness.

The writer’s inconsistent or weak use of conventions fails to contribute to the text's effectiveness.

The writer’s use of conventions subverts the text’s effectiveness.

The writer uses conventions very inconsistently with no discernable rationale.

Generic WI Rubric #3: Analysis and Critique: Students can employ analytical and critical skills in their own communications and in their evaluation of others’ communications.

 

Proficient

Intermediate

Basic

Developmental

Analysis

The writer’s analysis successfully clarifies something that is otherwise challenging to comprehend.

The writer’s analysis somewhat clarifies something that is otherwise challenging to comprehend.

The writer attempts to clarify something that is otherwise challenging to comprehend.

There is no evidence that the writer is attempting to clarify something that is challenging to comprehend.

Critique

The writer’s critique is insightful and well argued.

There are aspects of the writer’s critique that are insightful and well argued

The writer’s critique is simplistic or insufficiently argued.

There is no evidence of a critique.