General Education Assessment and Core Learning Objectives 

General Education Assessment

Since 1995, MU has administered a standardized exam to senior students. This standardized exam provides data on MU students’ knowledge in a range of content areas. However, it has limited value for achieving MU’s assessment goals: to assess how well students learn at MU and to gain information for improving teaching and learning. MU continues to administer a standardized exam to a sample of senior students but our focus is on other assessment strategies.

In May of 2005, the Committee on Undergraduate Education endorsed “Core Learning Objectives” for all students as a complement to the General Education course requirements. In 2007, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council endorsed them as well. These objectives focus on the performance skills that all students should develop as they fulfill their general education requirements. Of course, not every objective will be addressed in each course, but the goal is for all of them to be addressed within each student’s general education experience. By aligning courses and curricula to agreed-upon performance objectives, MU provides coherence to students’ general education experience. This also makes it feasible to conduct effective assessment of general education by embedding the assessment in students’ specific programs, assessment that can lead to quality improvement.

Core Learning Objectives

In order to meet the needs of the people of the state of Missouri, the nation and the global society, the University of Missouri-Columbia shall provide its baccalaureate graduates with a sound intellectual foundation in the liberal arts and sciences and in the student’s chosen major field of study. Toward that end, in addition to having every Bachelor’s degree recipient fulfill appropriate coursework requirements for general education and for degree programs, MU strives to have all students achieve the following goals:

Goal 1

Graduates of MU will be able to perform systematic inquiry and identify and evaluate new information in light of previous knowledge.

MU graduates should be able to:

  • Identify issues and problems important to society, define their scope, and identify information needed to address them.
  • Find existing sources of information on a topic.
  • Evaluate the accuracy, validity, and reliability of information presented in a wide variety of media.
  • Conduct appropriately focused library, field or laboratory research.
  • Analyze and synthesize information gathered, demonstrating strategic and logical reasoning skills.
  • Demonstrate understanding of costs, benefits, and/or consequences of proposed resolutions of issues and problems important to society.
  • Organize information, data, and ideas for further analysis and/or presentation.

Goal 2

Graduates of MU will possess the knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary to communicate effectively.

MU graduates should be able to:

  • Communicate information to a variety of audiences and for a variety of purposes.
  • Revise and edit their presentations to improve clarity and accuracy.
  • Engage in the healthy and positive exchange of ideas.
  • Apply communication skills in furthering their post-MU careers.
  • Use multiple formats and technologies to communicate ideas effectively.

Goal 3

Graduates of MU will possess the knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary to serve society responsibly.

MU graduates should be able to:

  • Know the duties of responsible citizenship.
  • Identify and analyze the requisite behaviors for carrying out their academic and professional lives with integrity.
  • Work collaboratively with others where appropriate.

Goal 4

Graduates of MU will know how to observe and critically analyze the diverse human experience.

MU graduates should be able to:

  • Engage in life-long learning.
  • Appreciate fine art and literature.
  • Understand the contributions of diverse groups and experiences to life at the individual, community, national, and the world levels.