An objectives-based approach to assessment of general education

Lori J. Bechtel, Suzanne Light Cross, Renata S. Engel, Ronald L. Filippelli, Arthur L. Glenn, John T. Harwood, Robert N. Pangborn, Barbara L. Welshofer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper describes the development of an innovative strategy to assess how students and faculty perceive and accomplish the objectives of general education at Penn State. The University's general education curriculum is intended to achieve a number of educational goals, including the exploration and development of knowledge domains and skills that are consistent with, and complementary to, the learning outcomes associated with the students' major programs of study. A diverse team was assembled to evaluate three crucial aspects of general education, namely, its design, delivery and reception. The collaboration began with examination of coursetaking patterns and framing of the University Faculty Senate's expressed objectives for general education in the context of the program goals and learning outcomes for selected technical and non-technical majors. Focused interviews with students and information solicited from course instructors were then used to gain an understanding for how these stakeholders actually view their experiences and course goals/delivery mechanisms, respectively, in terms of this objective-based matrix. A first attempt to implement an on-line methodology was made with limited success. The lessons learned shed light on the challenges and opportunities for scaling up a process that would allow efficient and widespread program assessment, across many disciplines of study, to facilitate academic advising and curricular improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10915-10925
Number of pages11
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2005
Event2005 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: The Changing Landscape of Engineering and Technology Education in a Global World - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Jun 12 2005Jun 15 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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