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DDC Assessment Procedures: Five-Year Schedule

The UCDC Assessment Subcommittee, chaired by Professor Pam Pennock and advised by Academic Success Coordinator Jessica LaGrange, has developed the following procedures for Dearborn Discovery Core Assessment.

AY1 (2015-16): Written and Oral Communication, Quantitative Thinking and Problem Solving, and Critical and Creative Thinking

Only courses approved for the Written and Oral Communication, Quantitative Thinking and Problem Solving, and Critical and Creative Thinking categories and offered during the 2015-2016 academic year need to submit DDC assessment reports. 

AY2 (2016-17): Social and Behavioral Analysis, Humanities and the Arts, and Natural Sciences

Only courses approved for the Social and Behavioral Analysis, Humanities and the Arts, and Natural Sciences categories and offered during the 2016-2017 academic year need to submit DDC assessment reports.

AY3 (2017-18): Upper-Level Writing Intensive, Intersections, and Capstone Experience

Only courses approved for the Upper-Level Writing Intensive, Intersections, and Capstone Experience categories and offered during the 2017-2018 academic year need to submit DDC assessment reports. 

AY4 (2018-19): Evaluation and Recommendation Stage

At the beginning of Year 4 (Fall 2018 semester), a survey created by the Assessment Subcommittee shall be sent to Dearborn faculty which will solicit feedback on the DDC.

In addition, for each DDC category, a five-member committee consisting of four faculty members and one non-voting student shall review the course assessment reports. The committee faculty members shall be responsible for writing a summary report by the end of the Fall 2018 semester.

The members of the committees shall be selected in the Winter 2018 semester. The Dearborn Discovery Core Subcommittee shall select the faculty members of each committee. The faculty members shall have taught at least one course in the DDC category that they have been selected. The Student Government President shall select the student representative for each committee.

During the Fall 2018 semester, the Dearborn Discovery Core Subcommittee shall research current best practices in the area of general education.

At the beginning of the Winter 2019 semester, the Dearborn Discovery Core Subcommittee shall use the faculty survey, summary reports, best practices research, and any other relevant information gathered to make a recommendation to the Faculty Senate concerning the future structure of the DDC. The Dearborn Discovery Core Subcommittee's final report shall be submitted to the Faculty Senate no later than April 2019.

AY5 (2019-20): Implementation Stage

During the Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 semesters, the DDC shall be modified based on the changes approved by the Faculty Senate. The implementation process shall be prescribed by the Faculty Senate. The revised DDC shall go into effect for freshmen in the Fall 2020 semester and for transfer students in the Winter 2022 semester.

Three-Step DDC Assessment Process:

These three steps occur during a category's reporting year:

Step One: Assessing Students' Understanding of DDC Learning Outcomes

Instructors who are teaching DDC courses during the designated category reporting year will assess their students' understanding of the category's Learning Outcomes while the course is in progress.  To conduct this assessment, instructors will use the provided Rubric to measure each student's performance on specific classroom assignments or exams.  Assessment works best when it is tied to each student's work on specific graded assignments/exams, instead of overall impressions of students' learning. Faculty should use the assignments that align with the category's Learning Outcomes as identified on their DDC application. 

Each category's assessment rubric consists of the category's three to five Learning Outcomes and a scale from 3 (exceeding outcome) to 0 (not meeting outcome).  The rubrics are very basic.  The Assessment Subcommittee is not dictating the criteria that a course's instructors should use to determine if a student is meeting a DDC Learning Outcome.  Instead, the DDC assessment program is designed to promote faculty autonomy by leaving to the course's instructors the responsibility for developing their own criteria, which are shaped by a particular discipline and/or course.  In fact, faculty have already developed the criteria: the course's DDC application explained how the course addresses each of the Learning Outcomes, and that explanation serves as a basis for criteria in assessing student achievement.

Written and Oral Communication assessment rubric
Quantitative Thinking and Problem Solving assessment rubric
Critical and Creative Thinking assessment rubric
Social and Behavioral Analysis assessment rubric
Humanities and the Arts assessment rubric
Natural Sciences assessment rubric
Upper-Level Writing Intensive assessment rubric
Intersections assessment rubric
Capstone Experience assessment rubric

Instructors can complete these rubrics for each student in whatever way works best for them: pencil and paper, Excel, Word, or Canvas.  The rubrics themselves will not be submitted. Only the aggregated results of the rubrics (the number of students who exceeded, met, approached, or did not meet each Learning Outcome) will be reported in the Assessment Reporting Form at the end of the term.

Using Canvas for DDC Assessment

All of the DDC rubrics currently appear in the Canvas Outcomes rubrics library and can be imported into your course as well as attached to existing assignment rubrics in Canvas. For details on using Canvas Outcomes for DDC Assessment.

Step Two: Assessment Reporting Form

At the end of Fall term and again at the end of Winter, Pam Pennock will send a link to an Assessment Reporting Form to all instructors teaching courses in the DDC categories in the reporting window for that year. On the form, each instructor reports the number of students who exceeded, met, approached, or did not meet each Learning Outcome. The form also asks instructors to explain the instruments (e.g. assignments, exams) used to assess each outcome and to provide some analysis and reflection.

To preview the Assessment Reporting Form questions.
The form, administered with Qualtrics, is an easy way for the Assessment Subcommittee to collect quantitative and qualitative data, and it is especially useful for aggregating data across multiple sections of the same course.
For courses that run multiple sections in the designated assessment year, Pam Pennock will compile the data submitted by faculty members in their Assessment Reporting Forms and deliver it to the course's assessment coordinator.

Step Three: Course Summary Report

Only courses that run multiple sections in the designated assessment year need to create and submit a Course Summary Report.  DDC courses that offer or assess a single section in the designated assessment year do not need to submit this report because the Assessment Reporting Form response will serve as the final assessment report for the course.

Pam Pennock will process and aggregate the data submitted by all of the course's instructors in the Fall and Winter Assessment Reporting Forms and deliver the data to the course's assessment coordinator by the middle of May. (The coordinator was identified in the course's DDC application.)  The course coordinator, possibly in consultation with a committee of other instructors who offer the course, reflects on the aggregated quantitative and qualitative data and writes the summary report.

The Course Summary Report is due in June of the academic year in which the DDC category's assessment occurs, and it should be submitted in Word or PDF format.

Course Summary Report template.

What happens to all of these surveys and reports?

In the fourth academic year of DDC assessment (2018-2019), groups of faculty will use the course assessment reports to analyze the effectiveness of the Dearborn Discovery Core and, if necessary, recommend changes which will be considered by the Faculty Senate. In 2019-2020, any changes to DDC approved by the Faculty Senate will be implemented.

Important Information about the DDC Assessment Procedures

  • If a course is approved for a category but is not offered in the assessment year for that category, it does not have to participate in the assessment reporting.
  • All instructors offering a DDC course in the category's assessment year are required to participate in assessment.
  • If an individual instructor offers more than one section of a DDC course in the category's assessment year, s/he is only required to assess one of the sections. However, we encourage instructors to assess all of their sections, especially if an instructor alters the course in different sections.
  • Not all courses will need to complete the third step
  • For DDC courses that only offered one section during the reporting year, the Assessment Reporting Form in Qualtrics suffices, and the Summary Report is not required. 
  • We encourage course instructors to conduct DDC assessment (data collection) outside of the assessment year window for the category, but it is not a requirement.
  • If a course counts for more than one category in a given reporting year window, DDC assessment must be conducted in both (or all three) categories.​
DDC Assessment and Application Process
This video provides faculty and staff with useful information about the Dearborn Discovery Core's application and assessment processes.
Mitch Sollenberger and Pam Pennock
Dearborn Discover Core Assessment and Readjustment Cycle

DDC Assessment Frequently Asked Questions

My course was approved for the Intersections category. The assessment year for Intersections is 2017-18. I'm offering my course in Fall 2016, but not in 2017-2018. Do I have to conduct DDC assessment and submit a report on the course?

No. Only courses offered during a category's assessment year are required to submit assessment reports.

My course was approved for the Humanities & Arts category. I'm teaching two sections in the Fall and one section in the Winter of its assessment year (2016-2017). Must I conduct assessment and fill out reports for all sections I'm teaching that year?

No. You only have to conduct assessment in one of your sections during a category's assessment year. If other instructors are also offering sections of the course during that year, each of them has to submit an assessment report on at least one of their sections.

The assessment instructions refer to DDC "learning outcomes." What does that mean?

DDC learning outcomes are the three to five statements provided for each DDC category that describe the skills and concepts students who take a course in that category should learn and demonstrate. For example, the first learning outcome in the Written and Oral Communication category is: "Students are able to compose, revise, and edit their own writing for clarity and fluency of expression."  These learning outcomes appear on the DDC category's application, and for each application the instructor explained how the course addresses those outcomes.

What is an "assessment instrument"?

An assessment instrument is a quiz, exam, research paper or some other assignment that an instructor uses to "assess" (or measure) a student's learning of a particular outcome.  An assessment instrument should be something that is graded, and it should measure individual students' abilities (as opposed to a group or team of students' work).

How do I conduct assessment? What do I assess and how?

If you have not seen the DDC application that was approved for your course, that's where you should start (please contact Associate Provost Sollenberger for the application).  Many of the applications specifically state which instrument(s) will be used to assess each DDC learning outcome.  If the application gives multiple options for assessment instruments, then you need to decide which instrument in your class best aligns with each learning outcome. It is advisable to use only one or two assessment instruments per learning outcome. (Don't make this more complicated than it has to be.) Also, you can use the same assessment instrument to assess multiple learning outcomes.

While grading the instrument (assignment/exam/quiz), you should simultaneously complete for each student the DDC assessment rubric for that learning outcome(s). DDC assessment rubrics are provided above, under "Step One: Assessing Students' Understanding of DDC Learning Outcomes."

You will not be required to submit the completed rubrics.  Instead, at the end of the semester you will be asked to report on the Assessment Survey how many students performed at each level (exceeded outcome, met outcome, approached outcome, did not meet outcome) for each learning outcome.

How do I determine the criteria for whether students exceed, meet, approach, or do not meet the DDC learning outcomes?

The Assessment Subcommittee did not create specific criteria for determining those performance categories because there is so much variability across disciplines.  Either individually or with a group of colleagues who teach the course, you decide what it means for a student to exceed, meet, approach, or not meet a learning outcome on a particular assignment/exam.

Do I have to assess the same assignments that my other colleagues teaching this DDC course are assessing?

It depends on how your discipline has decided to handle this course for DDC.  Some disciplines are highly coordinated in their approach and ask all instructors of the course to use the same assignments/exam questions and conduct a fairly uniform DDC assessment process. Other disciplines have set it up in a way to allow for much more flexibility among instructors. The DDC course application should indicate what to do. If you are in doubt, then contact your discipline's assessment coordinator for the course.

I'm one of many instructors offering a DDC course during the category's assessment year. I'm not the assessment coordinator for the course. Once I complete the DDC Assessment Survey at the end of the semester, must I do anything else for DDC assessment?

No.  Using the survey results provided by you and the other instructors of the course, the course's assessment coordinator will complete a final report at the end of the academic year. 

I am the only instructor offering a DDC course during its category's assessment year. Once I complete the DDC Assessment Survey (Qualtrics) at the end of the semester, do I have to do anything else for DDC assessment?


Can I use rubrics in Canvas to conduct DDC assessment?

Yes, learning outcomes for all DDC categories have been entered into Canvas. You can select one or more DDC learning outcomes and use them to create rubrics (or add them to existing rubrics) to use when grading your students' work in Canvas. (You do not have to add these outcomes into the assignment score.) Learn more about detailed DDC assessment using Canvas. 




Jessica LaGrange
Academic Success Coordinator

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