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Core Learning Areas

Core learning areas are indicative of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are fundamental to the development of an educated person. To provide a common starting point and to facilitate an understanding of learning assessment, Norfolk State University identified ten foundational general education goals that correspond to six core learning areas:

- Critical Thinking
- Information Literacy
- Oral Communication
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Scientific Reasoning
- Written Communication

The breadth of knowledge and skills that encompass the core learning areas form the knowledge base necessary to encourage life-long learning. The core learning areas are consistent with NSU’s mission, tailored to NSU students, reflect NSU general education program goals, and are closely aligned with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia’s (SCHEV) competencies assessment mandate. In addition, NSU's core learning areas assessment program addresses SACSCOC Comprehensive Standard 3.5.1 -- "The institution identifies college-level general education competencies and the extent to which graduates have attained them."

Core Learning Areas Assessment
The learning outcomes of each core learning area and the assessment processes used for each are coordinated by collaboratively run, faculty-led core learning area assessment committees. The core learning outcomes are designed to enhance student learning in the general education core and to complement the depth of knowledge that students will acquire in their specialized fields. In order to develop a comprehensive student learning outcomes assessment process, the core learning areas were embedded into the curriculum of each general education course. Multiple assessment methods that adhere to the specific learning outcomes of each core learning area are used. Each core learning area will be assessed annually.


Attachments

The Evolution of AssessmentPolicy A View from Virginia.pdf
Virginia Public Higher Education Policy on the Assessment of Student Learning.pdf
Virginia Public Higher Education Policy on the Assessment of Student Learning Guidance Document on Implementation.pdf

Resource Box


Marinara, M., Vajravelu, K., & Young, D.L. (2004). Making sense of the "loose baggy monster": Assessing learning in a general education program is a whale of a task. Journal of General education, 53 (1), 1-19.
Penn, J.D. (2011). Future directions for assessing complex general education student learning outcomes. New Directions for Institutional Research, 149, 109-117. doi:10.1002/ir.384
Penn, J.D. (2011). The case for assessing complex general education student learning outcomes. New Directions for Institutional Research, 149, 5-14. doi:10.1002/ir.376