General Education Assessment

Ethical Reasoning

In August 2015, BCTC will be rolling out a new plan for general education outcome assessment that focuses on ethical reasoning. It will be a college-wide initiative supporting and improving BCTC students' ethical reasoning abilities.

Take time to reflect on how you, through your courses and contact with students, can improve BCTC's students' ethical reasoning capabilities.

What is Ethical Reasoning?

According to the definition provided by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) as part of their Project, Valued Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE), “Ethical Reasoning is reasoning abut right and wrong human conduct. It requires students to be able to assess their own ethical values and the social context of problems, recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings, think about how different ethical perspectives might be applied to ethical dilemmas, and consider the ramifications of alternative actions. Students’ ethical self-identify evolves as they practice ethical decision-making skills and learn how to describe and analyze positions on ethical issues.” (https://www.aacu.org/ethical-reasoning-value-rubric)

The VALUE rubric for Ethical Reasoning is one of 16 rubrics that were developed as part of an AACU project. With input from faculty across the United States, they were able to articulate fundamental criteria for sixteen common learning outcomes. The components identified for the Ethical Reasoning Rubric include:

  • Ethical Self-Awareness
  • Understanding Different Ethical Perspectives/Concepts
  • Ethical Issue Recognition
  • Application of Ethical Perspectives/Concepts
  • Evaluation of Different Ethical Perspectives/Concepts

Ethical Reasoning VALUE Rubric

Multi-State Collaborative To Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment

The Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment (MSC) is an assessment initiative for general education outcomes/essential learning outcomes based on actual student work. Currently many schools use a nationally normed test to evaluate general education outcomes. This new model is based on authentic student work rather than a national test. It is sponsored by the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).

In fall 2014, a pilot assessment project was implemented by nine states (approximately 68 other two-year and four-year institutions). Hazard Community and Technical College, University of Kentucky and Northern Kentucky University are the other Kentucky schools participating in the project.

This innovative model uses common rubrics developed as part of the Association of American Colleges and Universities ongoing VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) initiative. The pilot assessed the feasibility of using authentic student work to assess general education competencies in quantitative literacy and written communication. Participating faculty submitted actual work of students from five courses in five different subject areas for quantitative literacy and five for written communication from our fall courses. In spring 2015, faculty from each participating institution sent faculty to a two-day workshop to be trained on using the VALUE rubrics.

Volunteers Needed for 2015-2016!

In 2015-2016 BCTC will be participating in the first year of implementation for this project. Volunteers are needed in three areas:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Quantitative Literacy
  • Written Communication

Faculty volunteering to participate will find the project virtually painless. They will be provided the specific assignment specifications for their assignment along with a cover sheet noting which rubric parameters are applicable to the students' work. The documents will be "de-identified" before being uploaded into the TaskStream database. In summer 2016, all of the artifacts will be assessed by faculty trained in using the VALUE rubrics. A summary of BCTC's findings will be made available to us.

This is a very exciting project of cross-institutional and cross-state efforts to improve the assessment of our students in achieving key learning outcomes along with a great opportunity to work with faculty nation wide in developing an innovative assessment model.

If you are interested in participating or would like additional information, contact Karman K. Wheeler (karman.wheeler@kctcs.edu) or (859) 246-6567.