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Development of an Assessment Plan for the Howard Univ College of Liberal Arts Undergraduate Program

The mission of the Howard University College of Liberal Arts is to provide its graduates with an education that is rooted in Pursuit of knowledge, social justice, artistic expression and intellectual freedom (Howard University, 2013). It seeks to foster creative and critical thinking in artistic and scholarly arenas. Furthermore, it intends on providing solutions to human and social problems. Nurturing cultural diversity is part of its mission. The College intends on building responsibility towards the global community. The assessment plan will dwell on measurement of critical thinking and oral and written communication skills. Since critical thinking has been mentioned as one of the goals in the Liberal Arts College, then the analysis will openly indicate whether this goal is being achieved. Measurement of written and oral communication skills will assist in artistic expression as well as creativity, which are all cited in the College’s mission. They will contribute towards achievement of the knowledge, intellectual freedom and social justice goals, as well. … Technical correctness is not such a valuable trait, and using curriculum-specific tests would reinforce it. Instead of such an approach, students need to be tested on their ability to inquire and question various situations. Critical thinking, oral and written communication skills are the parameters that are most relevant to rational inquiry. 2. Tools and Instruments for assessment i) CLA CLA (Collegiate Learning Assessment) is designed to measure a range of tertiary competencies that include problem solving, written communication competencies, analytic reasoning and critical thinking. The measurement of such broad abilities makes the assessment applicable to almost all types of colleges. Furthermore, the measures cut across different disciplines. One should note that this is not an assessment of intellect or any content abilities. The test is designed in such a way that it gives students holistic tasks to which they must respond. Some of the tasks may focus on written communication while others dwell on work sample performance. Usually, those questions come from real-world scenarios such as education, policy and daily work practice. The concerned students must employ analytic and critical thinking skills in the situation. They must them communicate these decisions in proper written English and then justify their choices (Hatfield, 2009). Usually, the test is administered online and the responses to the essay-type questions will be scored online through particular software. Humans need to participate in marking the performance- type questions. However, they must have undergone thorough training so as to grade the answers on the basis of certain standards. An example of a task is the argument type assignment, which asks

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