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American Public University System: American Military University and American Public University
2016/2017 Catalog
    
 

Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment

The American Public University System (APUS) has adopted the Lumina Foundation’s Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) framework across its associate, bachelors, and master’s degree programs.   The DQP framework illustrates students’ expected knowledge and skill set upon earning a degree.  Based on more than a decade of research across all levels of higher education, the framework defines expected learning outcomes that all graduates need regardless of academic specialization. 

The DQP framework is aligned with APUS’s mission of providing a quality higher education while preparing students for service and leadership in a diverse, global society.  To ensure that AMU and APU students are prepared for success, student learning outcomes are defined at three levels:  institutional (outlined in this catalog); degree program (identified in the degree program descriptions on the AMU/APU websites); and course (identified in the syllabi for each course) levels.

Institutional Student Learning Outcomes

AMU and APU students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in the following learning areas upon completion of any academic program in any discipline:

  • Applied learning is used by students to demonstrate what they can do with what they know.
  • Intellectual skills are used by students to think critically and analytically about what they learn, broadening their individual perspectives and experiences.
  • Specialized knowledge is the knowledge students demonstrate about their individual fields of study.
  • Broad knowledge transcends the typical boundaries of students in the first two years of higher education and encompasses all learning in broad areas through multiple degree levels.
  • Civic learning is that which enables students to respond to social, environmental and economic challenges at local, national and global levels.
  • Digital Information Literacy is concerned with responsibly, safely, ethically, effectively and efficiently accessing, evaluating, collaborating, organizing, and distributing information in the digital world.  It includes using tools, technologies, techniques, and best practices, to develop responsible and safe consumers and communicators of information in the digital information world to support research and to solve real world problems. 

Program Level Student Learning Outcomes

AMU and APU students are expected to achieve student learning outcomes at the degree program level upon graduation from a particular degree program.  Student learning at the degree program level is assessed through end-of-program capstone experiences to ensure the student has achieved proficiency of the knowledge and skills expected of a professional in the respective discipline.  Signature assessments, standardized tests, and rubrics are examples of measures used to evaluate the effectiveness of students achieving desired learning outcomes at the degree program level.

Course Level Student Learning Outcomes

AMU and APU students are expected to achieve course level student learning outcomes upon completion of a course.  Course developed exams, simulations, case studies, discussion boards, collaborative research projects, and writing assignments are examples of measures used to evaluate the effectiveness of students achieving desired learning outcomes at the course level.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

APUS is committed to student learning assessment and its impact on the quality of teaching and learning. The learning outcomes assessment program at APUS:

  • Provides students with useful information about their current skills, knowledge, and competencies.
  • Enables the university to evaluate the effectiveness of its academic courses and programs in terms of achieving the desired learning outcomes for its students.
  • Is used for continuous improvement at all levels of the institution.
  • Ensures that students are prepared for success in work and citizenship in a diverse, global society.

APUS uses a variety of direct and indirect assessment measures to evaluate student learning and improve the quality of teaching and learning at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The assessment of student learning at APUS is guided by the student learning outcomes posted in the catalog, AMU/APU websites, and courses. Student learning outcomes assessment is conducted at the institutional, degree program, and course level, whereby each level is aligned and designed to complement each other; providing a comprehensive view of student learning and the effectiveness of academic programs.

Students are required to participate in learning outcomes assessment activities at APUS and will be given adequate notice of any course and/or non-course related assessment activities they are responsible for completing. APUS is committed to protecting the privacy of its students including ensuring the confidentiality of student work submitted for assessment as well as the feedback resulting from assessment activities. For more information, the APUS Learning Outcomes Assessment website establishes the framework for the conduct of student assessment across the institution.

Student Learning/Competency Areas

  • Broad knowledge of disciplines and fields outside the major
  • Specialized knowledge in a major
  • Applied learning – using what is learned in the real world
  • Intellectual skills – thinking critically
  • Civic learning – using studies to influence the world
  • Digital information literacy in the internet age

Associate level, the student:

Specialized Knowledge 

Broad, Integrative Knowledge

Intellectual Skills

Applied Learning

Civic Learning

Digital Information Literacy

Knowledge acquired in a specialized field of study

Knowledge acquired in general education fields

Identifies, categorizes and distinguishes among ideas, concepts, theories and practical approaches to problems. (Analytic inquiry)

Describes in writing a case in which knowledge and skills acquired in academic set- tings are applied to a challenge in a non-academic setting; evaluates the learning gained; and analyzes a significant concept or method related to the course of study in light of learning from outside the classroom.

Describes his or her own civic and cultural background, including origins, development, assumptions and predispositions.

Summarize security, privacy, ethical, and legal issues related to the digital world

Describes the scope and principal features of the field of study, citing core theories and practices, and offers a similar explication of a related field.

Describes how existing knowledge or practice is advanced, tested and revised.

Identifies, categorizes and appropriately cites information for an academic project, paper or performance. (Use of information resources)

Locates, gathers and organizes evidence on an assigned research topic addressing a course-related question or a question of practice in a work or community setting; offers and examines competing hypotheses in answering the question.

Describes historical and contemporary positions on democratic values and practices, and presents his or her position on a related problem.

Describe the principles related to responsibly locating, retrieving, and using information in the digital world

Illustrates the field’s current terminology.

Describes and examines perspectives on key debates within the field and in society.

Describes how cultural perspectives could affect interpretation of problems in the arts, politics or global relations. (Engaging diverse perspectives)

Takes an active role in the community (work, service, co-curricular activities) and examines civic issues encountered and insights gained.

Use technology to enhance communication, community, and collaboration

Generates substantially error-free products exhibits, or performances in the field.

Illustrates core concepts of the field while executing analytical, practical or creative tasks.

Presents accurate calculations and symbolic operations and explains their use either in the field of study or in interpreting social or economic trends. (Quantitative fluency)

Use technology to categorize, organize, and critique information collaboratively

Selects and applies recognized methods in interpreting discipline-based problems.

Presents substantially error-free prose in both argumentative and narrative forms to general and specialized audiences. (Communication fluency)

Assembles evidence relevant to problems, describes its significance, and uses it in analysis.

Describes the ways in which at least two disciplines define, address and justify the importance of a contemporary challenge or problem.

Identifies, categorizes and distinguishes among ideas, concepts, theories and practical approaches to problems.

At the Bachelor's level, the student:

Specialized Knowledge 

Broad, Integrative Knowledge

Intellectual Skills

Applied Learning

Civic Learning

Digital Information Literacy

Defines and explains the boundaries, divisions, styles and practices of the field.

Frames a complex scientific, social, technological, economic or aesthetic challenge or problem from the perspectives and literature of at least two academic fields and pro- poses a “best approach” to the question or challenge using evidence from those fields.

Differentiates and evaluates theories and approaches to complex standard and non- standard problems within his or her major field. (Analytic inquiry)

Presents a project, paper, performance or other appropriate task linking knowledge and skills from work, community or research activities with knowledge acquired in academic disciplines; explains how elements were combined to shape meaning or findings; and shows the relationship to relevant scholarship.

Explains diverse perspectives on a contested issue and evaluates insights gained from different kinds of evidence reflecting scholarly and community perspectives.

Defines and properly uses the principal terms in the field, both historical and contemporaneous.

Produces, independently or collaboratively, an investigative, creative or practical work that draws on specific theories, tools and methods from at least two academic fields.

Incorporates multiple information resources in different media or languages in projects, papers or performances, with appropriate citations; and evaluates the relative merits of competing resources with respect to clearly articulated standards. (Use of information resources)

Formulates a question on a topic that addresses more than one academic discipline or practical setting, locates appropriate evidence that addresses the question, evaluates the evidence in relation to the problem’s contexts, and articulates conclusions that follow logically from analysis.

Develops and justifies a position on a public issue and relates this position to alternative views within the community or policy environment.

Analyze security, privacy, ethical, and/or legal issues related to the digital information world

Demonstrates fluency in the use of tools, technologies and methods in the field.

Explains a problem in science, the arts, society, human services, economic life or technology from the perspective of at least two academic fields, explains how the methods of inquiry and research in those disciplines can be brought to bear, judges the likelihood that the combination of disciplinary perspectives and methods would contribute to the resolution of the challenge, and justifies the importance of the challenge in a social or global context.

Constructs a cultural, political or technological alternate vision of either the natural or human world through a written project, laboratory report, exhibit, performance or com- munity service design; defines the distinct patterns in this alternate vision; and explains how these patterns differ from current realities. (Engaging diverse perspectives)

Completes a field-based assignment in the course of study that employs insights from others; evaluates a significant question in relation to concepts, methods or assumptions in at least one academic field; and explains the implications of learning outside the classroom.

Collaborates in developing and implementing an approach to a civic issue, evaluates the process and, where applicable, weighs the result.

Summarize policies to responsibly handle information

Evaluates, clarifies and frames a complex question or challenge using perspectives and scholarship from the student’s major field and at least one other.

Translates verbal problems into mathematical algorithms, constructs valid arguments using the accepted symbolic system of mathematical reasoning, and constructs accurate calculations, estimates, risk analyses or quantitative evaluations of public information through presentations, papers or projects. (Quantitative fluency)

Appraise sources of information in the digital world

Constructs a project related to a familiar but complex problem in the field of study by assembling, arranging and reformulating ideas, concepts, designs or techniques.

Constructs sustained, coherent argument or presentation on technical issues or processes in more than one language and in more than one medium for general and specific audiences; and works through collaboration to address a social, personal or ethical dilemma. (Communication fluency)

Use technology to categorize, organize, and critique information collaboratively

Constructs a summative project, paper or practice-based performance that draws on current research, scholarship and/or techniques in the field.

Use multimedia tools to capture, consolidate, and communicate information

Determine the nature and extent of information needed, access and evaluate that information; and efficiently and ethically use the information for a specific purpose.

At the Master's level, the student:

Specialized Knowledge 

Broad, Integrative Knowledge

Intellectual Skills

Applied Learning

Civic Learning

Digital Information Literacy

Elucidates the major theories, research methods and approaches to inquiry, and/or schools of practice in the field; articulates relevant sources; and illustrates their relationship to allied fields.

Articulates how the field has developed in relation to other major domains of inquiry or practice.

Disaggregates, adapts, reformulates and employs in an essay or project principal ideas, techniques or methods at the forefront of the field. (Analytic inquiry)

Creates a discrete project, paper, exhibit, performance or other appropriate task reflecting integration of knowledge acquired in practicum, work, community or research activities with knowledge and skills from at least two disciplines representing different segments of the curriculum (e.g., computer science and anthropology); documents the sources of the knowledge and skills reflected in the integration; articulates in writing how these elements influenced the resulting product; and assesses the significance of the work in light of major debates or developments in the primary field(s).

Assesses and develops a position on a significant public policy question in the student’s field, taking into account scholarly and community perspectives.

Appraise security, privacy, ethical, and/or legal issues related to the digital information world

Assesses the contributions of major figures and organizations in the field; describes its major methodologies and practices; and implements at least two such methodologies and practices through projects, papers, exhibits or performances.

Designs and executes an applied, investigative or creative work that draws on the perspectives and methods of other fields and assesses the resulting gains and difficulties.

Provides adequate evidence through papers, projects, notebooks, computer files or catalogues of expanding, assessing or refining either a recognized information resource or an information base within the field. (Use of information resources)

Creates, designs and implements a performance or project in an out-of-class setting requiring application of advanced knowledge to a practical challenge; articulates in- sights gained from the field experience; assesses, with appropriate citations, selected approaches or scholarly debates applicable to the problem; articulates a reasoned judgment on selected issues in the field; and assesses standards for professional performance and continuing development with specific reference to the experience.

Analyze information to solve real world problems

Articulates major challenges involved in practicing the field, elucidates its leading edges, and delineates its current limits with respect to theory, knowledge and practice.

Articulates and defends the significance and implications of his or her specialized work in terms of challenges, trends and developments in a social or global context.

Addresses in a project, paper or performance a core issue in the field from the perspective of a different point in time or a different culture, political order or technological context, and elucidates how the perspective contributes to results that depart from current norms, dominant cultural assumptions or technologies. (Engaging diverse perspectives)

Use technology to effectively and efficiently access, analyze, and use information to support research

Initiates, assembles, arranges and reformulates ideas, concepts, designs and techniques in carrying out a project directed at a challenge in the field beyond conventional boundaries.

Not seeking a degree in a quantitative field employs and applies mathematical, logical or statistical tools to problems within the field in a project, paper or performance, while the student seeking a degree in a quantitative field articulates and undertakes multiple appropriate applications of quantitative methods, concepts and theories. (Quantitative fluency)

Evaluate and use technology to enhance communication, community, collaboration, and critical thinking.

Creates sustained, coherent explanations and reflections on the student’s own work in two or more media or languages to both general and specialized audiences. (Communication fluency)

Evaluate technology to communicate, collaborate, categorize, organize, and critique information collaboratively

Establish the nature and extent of information needed, access and evaluate that information; and efficiently and ethically use the information for a specific purpose.