LaGuardia Community College has developed a new framework for advanced student learning. The new framework’s Core Competencies and Communication Abilities are designed to help ensure that all LaGuardia graduates develop their capacity to build and use knowledge with the higher order thinking processes essential to success in advanced education and career. The Competencies and Abilities articulate key benchmark goals for general education and programmatic learning, structure assessment in both areas, and reflect the College’s collective vision for student learning.
These FAQs are organized into 4 inter-related sections: Background & Context; Curriculum Mapping; Assignments; and Support.
Hundreds of faculty and staff from Academic and Student Affairs took part in 6 months of discussion, led by the Provost’s Core Competency Task Force. After discussions in every department and other settings, College governance unanimously passed a new Core Competency framework in January 2014. See http://www.laguardia.cuny.edu/Assessment/Resources/ for a copy of the Task Force report.
The new framework passed by governance identifies three Core Competencies (Inquiry & Problem-solving, Global Learning, and Integrative Learning) and three Communication Abilities (Written, Oral and Digital). See www.laguardia.cuny.edu/Assessment/Resources for definitions and provisional rubrics for each Competency and Ability.
Guided by faculty, students will use Communication Abilities to demonstrate Competencies. Assignments designed to produce artifacts of student learning for the assessment process will address at least one Competency and one Ability. For example, a research assignment might ask students to create a paper, thereby using Written Communication to demonstrate Inquiry and Problem Solving. See Task Force report at www.laguardia.cuny.edu/Assessment/Resource for more information...
As faculty design activities that address a particular Competency and Ability, assignments ask students to demonstrate skills and knowledge via essays, research papers, class presentations, lab reports, digital stories, etc. Students deposit these artifacts into the assessment area of the ePortfolio system which makes them available to be read by faculty teams as part of PPRs and Benchmark readings. ..
75 faculty and staff worked to develop provisional rubrics, presented to the College in Sept. 2014. (See www.laguardia.cuny.edu/Assessment/Resources) Now, Program Directors and Chairs are leading a broad effort to create Curriculum Maps for programs and the Required Common Core, identifying courses and assignments used to build and assess students’ knowledge and skills. These tools (rubrics, maps and assignments) will be tested in Spring 2015 and then revised..
Curriculum Maps are matrices showing how a program’s curriculum will address the Competencies and Abilities, including depositing for assessment. Program Directors submitted draft maps in Dec. 2014 and are now preparing to revise them. See www.laguardia.cuny.edu/Assessment/Resources/ for a sample map.
By the start of Spring I 2015, each program should have a revised map that A) responds to feedback from Prof. Debra Engel, chair of College-wide Curriculum and the Assessment Leadership Team (or her designee) and B) incorporates courses from the Required Common Core as well as courses in the program core. These maps, demonstrating how programs plan to build and assess student capacity in each Competency and Ability, will guide provisional implementation in Spring 2015...
Chairs and faculty responsible for these courses have determined which Competencies and Abilities Required Common Core (RCC) courses will address. Programs can use RCC courses in their Curriculum Maps. STEM programs should use science courses designated for STEM majors; Non-STEM programs should use Non-STEM designated courses. The chart below identifies the Competency/ Ability combinations associated with specific RCC courses.
First Year Seminars are designed to address all three Competencies, and can be used to assess college Baseline work. Courses in different departments vary in terms of addressing the Abilities – check with the FYS coordinator in your area. All Urban Studies Courses may eventually address Global Learning and Written Communication, but the plan is not yet final. A decision on this will be communicated as soon as possible..
When Maps have integrated the First Year Seminar and the Required Common Core, every Competency/Ability should be addressed, at least three times across the curriculum – Early, Middle and Late. Programs are welcome to add additional deposit points in order to achieve a more fine-grained assessment for their PPRs. The Assessment Leadership Team recommends using courses controlled by the program, including Capstone courses, for “Middle” and all “Late” work.
Curriculum maps and related assignments should be designed so the selected Core Competency/ Ability grows out of, meshes with, and reinforces the content and objectives of the course.
Since Competencies and Abilities typically grow out of existing course content and objectives, in most cases courses need not pass through CWCC. If a competency is being newly integrated into a course, then it should eventually pass through CWCC (for example, a course that was not dealing with global issues, but now is being redesigned to have a global perspective).
Co-curricular learning can enhance student learning related to the new Competencies and Abilities. But the College is not yet ready to broadly integrate co-curricular learning into Curriculum Maps. Student Affairs will launch a process in Spring 2015 to work with faculty to develop co-curricular experiences that explicitly address Competencies and Abilities. Planning for this process will address ways to assess a broad range of co-curricular learning. These processes will supplement, not replace, learning that takes place in designated courses.
In Departments that use common assignments across sections, Program Directors and Chairs are coordinating the process of identifying assignments that already address or could be modified to address specific Competencies and Abilities. These assignments will be shared with faculty in their areas in time for incorporation in Spring 2015 courses.
That depends on how the program or department operates. Some programs have designed a single assignment to be used in all sections of a given course; other programs may invite faculty to design their own assignment for their own sections. Either way, the goal is to implement assignments that address the selected Competency and Ability, as defined by the rubric.
Assignments should aim to address at least 75% of the dimensions of any given rubric. The provisional rubrics (available at www.laguardia.cuny.edu/Assessment/Resources) developed by faculty and staff will be used for holistic assessment, looking across dimensions to consider the strengths of any given artifact. The more dimensions an assignment actually addresses, the more likely it will be to fit the rubric.
The Spring 2015 implementation of our Competencies and Abilities is designed to enable the College to test rubrics, maps and assignments. The goal for Spring 2015 is that students in at least 25% of the sections of a designated course deposit appropriate artifacts in the assessment area of the ePortfolio system. The broader the Spring 2015 implementation is, the more meaningful it will be for faculty, programs, and the rubric and assignment testing process. The College will aim for broader implementation in 2015-16.
The Center for Teaching and Learning and the Assessment Leadership Team are offering assignment development/revision workshops in Fall II. Program directors and Chairs are encouraged to decide what workshops would be most helpful and who should attend. Please see attached schedule, also available at www.laguardia.cuny.edu/Assessment/Resources/ .
The Center for Teaching and Learning and the Assessment Leadership Team will collaborate to offer multiple forms of support. CTL mini-grants will support the efforts of programs and departments. (See application form: www.laguardia.cuny.edu/Assessment/Resources.) The CTL will consult with programs and departments who want help developing Spring I mini-seminars. And in March 2015, CTL will announce 2015-16 seminars to support faculty in the long-term process of effectively addressing the new framework.