Pathways assessment data will be used to inform and improve the Pathways curriculum to enhance student learning at Virginia Tech, not to evaluate individual instructors or courses. Each time a Pathways course is taught, instructors will collect and report assessment data. Submitted data will be aggregated at the student learning outcome level, ensuring that data are not student, instructor, or course identifiable.
To fine-tune the program, faculty (particularly members of the University Curriculum Committee for General Education - UCCGE) will come together to discuss the results and make plans for improvement.
Pathways Assessment Process
There are five steps in the Pathways assessment process. Pathways instructors are expected to complete steps 1-2 either before classes begin or at the beginning of the semester, and complete steps 3-4 during or at the end of the semester. Advance planning will enable instructors to conduct Pathways assessment more efficiently, saving time at the end of the semester.
Instructors teaching a Pathways course should first consult the official course proposal to determine which core and integrative concepts and respective student learning outcomes are addressed in the course. Instructors are responsible for assessing ALL of the Pathways concepts and student learning outcomes specified in the official course proposal.
Useful tool: A list of current Pathways courses and minors, either already approved or in governance, is available here. To access information about approved concepts and student learning outcomes, scroll to the right.
Instructors should select a piece of student work (i.e., a direct measure of student learning) to assess EACH student learning outcome addressed in the course. Pathways instructors should select the type of student work that best fits with their course and assessment plans. Each Pathways student learning outcome should be assessed independently. However, if appropriate, a single piece of student work can be used to measure multiple Pathways concepts and/or student learning outcomes.
More specific information related to selecting student work for Pathways assessment is available in the FAQs, specifically FAQ #6 and #7.
Instructors may find it helpful to review the Pathways Rubrics for the core and integrative concepts addressed in their course prior to selecting student work for Pathways assessment.
Direct measures are observable and demonstrate a student’s knowledge, skills, or abilities. Examples include exams, quizzes, papers, presentations, performances, and capstone projects.
Instructors will apply the Pathways Rubrics to the student work they selected in Step 2 to determine student competency levels for each student learning outcome addressed in the course. Instructors will rate students as below competent, competent, or above competent.
Applying the Pathways Rubrics
Depending on the student work that is selected, instructors may choose to use a Pathways Rubric as is to assess student performance, or the instructor may interpret a Pathways Rubric to determine the extent to which a student has gained the knowledge, skill, or ability articulated in a specific student learning outcome. For example, if an instructor chooses to use 9 multiple choice items from a final exam in order to measure a Pathways student learning outcome, the instructor could rate students who answer 5 or fewer of the 9 items correctly as “below competent”; 6 or 7 of the 9 items as “competent”; and 8 or 9 of the items as “above competent.”
Which Students Need To Be Assessed?
For Pathways courses with large student enrollments, faculty may choose to collect and report assessment data for a minimum sample of 20 randomly selected students. If instructors choose to utilize sampling for their Pathways course, all students in the course should complete the same assignments, but only the work of the sampled students would need to be reviewed by the instructor using the Pathways Rubrics and reported.
Have a large class? Click here for more specific information related to sampling students, including sampling guidelines for large, multi-section Pathways courses.
Instructors will report the number and percentage of students who are below competent, competent, and above competent for EACH student learning outcome addressed in the course. Data will be submitted each time a Pathways course is taught.
An Excel form – the Pathways Assessment Reporting Form – has been created for instructors to use when reporting Pathways assessment data. A sample completed Pathways Assessment Reporting Form that includes detailed instructions for filling out the form in Excel is available here. A Word version of the Pathways Assessment Reporting Form is also available for instructors who do not use Excel.
When complete, Pathways Assessment Reporting Forms should be submitted to Molly Hall (email@example.com) in the Assessment & Evaluation unit in the Office of Academic Decision Support. Deadlines for submitting data are:
What are the due dates?
Fall semester: January 31st
Spring semester: May 31st
Summer session I: July 31st
Summer session II: August 31st
Pathways assessment data will be used for multiple purposes. Most importantly, Pathways assessment data will used to inform and improve the Pathways curriculum to enhance student learning at Virginia Tech. Assessment data will be used to evaluate and improve the Pathways curriculum, not evaluate individual instructors or courses. Submitted data will be aggregated at the student learning outcome level, ensuring that data are not student, instructor, or course identifiable.
At the end of each semester, the Assessment & Evaluation unit in the Office of Academic Decision Support will create a summary of assessment data for all Pathways student learning outcomes and concepts that will be disseminated by the Office of General Education.
Example tables and figures that will be used to share Pathways assessment data are provided here.
Office of General Education, Office of Undergraduate Education
Burruss Hall, Suite 104, Virginia Tech (0717)
Tel: (540) 231-4451