As part of our participation in the Higher Learning Commission’s Pathways initiative, Illinois College proposes a three-pronged test of the Degree Qualifications Profile. First, to assess student attainment of knowledge and skills within the Civic Learning area, the college will complete a curriculum audit to identify courses with a significant civic learning and/or service learning focus. Several courses already have been identified, and two particular courses—Leading the Way: Meaningful Leadership in a Democracy (IS 205), the gateway course for the Leadership Program, and Social Stratification (SO 206), a dedicated service-learning course—will provide student cohorts for a comprehensive assessment of learning outcomes for the Civic Learning area. The professors of these two courses respectively serve as the college’s directors of the leadership and service learning programs, and they have adapted the AACU’s Civic Engagement VALUE rubric (based on the identification of “Essential Learning Outcomes”) to address both the context of Illinois College and the Civic Learning standards identified in the Degree Qualifications Profile. A small sample of students from IS 205 will be tracked longitudinally over semesters as they move into future courses, and finally, both professors will work on forming partnerships to embed civic learning and service learning content and activities into other courses.
Second, Illinois College’s Education Department has embedded the Degree Qualification Profile within its assessment plan for its new master’s degree program. The Education Department plans to assess all five of the DQP’s areas of learning for its graduate students, but it sees particularly strong links between its curriculum and the areas of specialized knowledge and applied learning. For candidates seeking national board certification, the Education Department has adopted and implemented, with the assistance of Stanford University, an assessment tool known as the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT/TPAC) that yields both valuable quantitative and qualitative evidence to demonstrate the ability of a teacher to affect student learning. For all candidates, the Education Department will work with the Office of Institutional Research to jointly interpret and report on submitted proficiency ratings from a common rubric for each DQP outcome area and its subcategories.
Third, to assess how closely our new general-education program aligns with the Degree Qualifications Profile, Illinois College proposes to use its Art Department as a case study. The Art Department has completely redesigned its major to align each course directly with the new general education program, and this integration appears very visibly on the department’s revised course syllabi. In many ways, the Art Department stands out as a model of the intentionality and interdisciplinary connectedness that the college hopes to strengthen with the general education reform. Several art courses also require civic learning or service learning activities, and therefore, the department’s assessment will complement the work within the first prong of our test proposal.