Examples of Assessment by Institution

Barnard College implemented revisions to its general education requirements for the class entering in fall 2000, replacing the existing distribution model with a more highly defined format called the Nine Ways of Knowing.  From the outset, the aim was to compare student understanding of the new requirements to student views of the former system (e.g., on clarity, purpose, satisfaction), and to examine certain changes in the pattern of course selection by students associated with the new curricular requirements.


To these ends, a four year study of graduating seniors was undertaken, designed to obtain their perspectives on the requirements to which they were subject; the first two classes were the last under the earlier requirements and the second two classes were those which graduated under the Nine Ways of Knowing.  The study was based on small focus groups of seniors interviewed by a retired Barnard faculty member in Sociology or one of the class deans.  The second component of the assessment involved a transcript analysis conducted by the Registrar to ascertain whether certain patterns of course-taking changed in the transition to the new requirements.  For example, the new requirements specify that all students must take a literature course, and encourage students to complete the requirement in the foreign language they use to fulfill another element of the Nine Ways of Knowing.  The transcript analysis will show whether the change has affected the number of students who continue to the literature-level of study in that foreign language        



Barnard College