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graphic detailing SFA’s cycle for core assessment

Core Objectives and the Core Curriculum

The core objectives form the foundation of SFA’s General Education Core Curriculum. Each semester, student work will be collected from both lower level courses that are part of the core curriculum and any upper level course in each major in which students are expected to demonstrate high level mastery of the core objectives. For upper level courses, a course should be identified for each objective, but the same course may be identified for multiple objectives.

Six Core Objectives

  • Critical Thinking Skills
    Creative thinking, innovation, inquiry and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information
  • Communication Skills
    Effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written oral and visual communication
  • Empirical and Quantitative Skills
    Manipulation and analysis of numerical data or observable facts resulting in informed conclusions
  • Teamwork
    Ability to consider different points of view and to work effectively with others to support a shared purpose or goal
  • Social Responsibility
    Intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national and global communities
  • Personal Responsibility
    Ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to ethical decision-making

Assessment of the Core Objectives - Why We Do This

Student work provides a direct and convenient way to assess student performance on the core objectives. While standardized tests provide general measures of student knowledge, the assessment of student work can be used to gain more detailed information on student learning and help identify specific areas of needed improvement. Student work should be a natural outgrowth of instruction tied to the core objectives required in each core course. Existing assignments can be used to assess student performance on core objectives. Faculty should identify assignments to be used for core assessment by reviewing existing assignments to determine if they can be used for this purpose.

Collection of Student Work for Core Assessment - How We Collect Work

Student work from core courses will be collected electronically, through drop boxes in Brightspace/Desire 2 Learn.  Students are responsible for providing a copy of the assignment to their instructor and a copy to the core assignment drop box in D2L. See the instructions for uploading assignments into D2L.

Student work from upper level courses will also be collected via D2L drop boxes or by other means suitable to the type of work being collected. Collection of student work that is not suitable for D2L drop boxes should be coordinated with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. After the student work has been collected, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness will generate a sample and select student work to be assessed from the uploaded material. See the schedule for core assessment collection.

Assessment of Student Work - How We Assess

Student assignments are assessed using LEAP VALUE rubrics for each objective that were modified by faculty teams representing academic departments offering core courses responsible for coverage of specific objectives. Faculty eligible to be nominated by departments for service on rubric teams included tenured, tenure track, non-tenure track faculty with 50% or greater appointments, and administrators with teaching responsibilities. Team members were nominated by academic departments and colleges.


Indirect Assessment Tools

THECB Requirement

SFA is required to submit a TCC assessment report every ten years. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board staff review TCC assessment reports and provide feedback. It is the institution's responsibility to implement institutional changes based on the TCC assessment, if needed.

The TCC assessment report includes the following components (Texas Administrative Code, Title 19, Chapter 4, Section 4.30):

  • Assessment of the Core Objectives
    • Description of Assessment: for each of the six Core Objectives.
    • Assessment Methods: explanations of measures, methodology, frequency and timeline of assessment activities, including representative sampling methodologies.
    • Criteria/Targets: explanation of targets used to benchmark the attainment of the six Core Objectives
    • Results: evidence of level of attainment targeted and achieved for each of the six Core Objectives.
    • Analysis: analysis and interpretation of assessment information.
    • Actions and Follow-ups: actions planned, based on assessment results, for the improvement of student learning and achievement.
  • Evaluation of the Assessment Process
    • Description of the strengths and weaknesses of the assessment process.
    • Possible actions planned to improve the assessment process.


Office of Institutional Effectiveness

Ferguson Building 
Room 290 

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 6172, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962

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