Core Objective 8: Constitution

The Silver Core Curriculum took effect in the Fall 2016 semester

  • Silver Vein II: Primary Areas of Focused Inquiry
  • Brief Description of Learning Objective: Students will demonstrate familiarity with the origins, history, and essential elements of the Constitutions of the United States and Nevada, as well as the evolution of American institutions and ideals.

Standards or Requirements for Verification

This objective may be satisfied by courses offered in various departments and programs (e.g., Core Humanities, Criminal Justice, History, Political Science, Philosophy) provided they meet the standards below. Where appropriate, majors are encouraged to develop this objective within their courses, and if possible to integrate this objective into the Core Capstone course.

This objective aims to ensure that students learn about the core principles embodied in the United States and Nevada Constitutions along with the central ideas, debates, policies, and structures that have shaped the United States. Courses satisfying this outcome may examine various aspects of American history, politics, society, and culture, provided they include some meaningful study of the Constitutions.

Courses satisfying this Core Objective will meet the expectations for the Core Constitution requirement and should:

  1. Include the Core Objective, together with its brief description, on the course syllabus in its original form.
  2. Include 1 or more student learning outcomes addressing this Core Objective on the course syllabus, along with other student learning outcomes appropriate to the course.
  3. Identify in the course syllabus the teaching techniques and student experiences that will help students acquire the competencies described in the Core Objective.
  4. Assess whether students have acquired the competency described in the student learning outcomes and use methods for collecting and analyzing data that can be reported to the Core Curriculum Board.

Some examples of approved student learning outcomes and assessment methods are listed later in this document. Faculty may incorporate 1 or more of the examples from this list or propose their own student learning outcomes and methods of assessing the objective.

Suggested Student Learning Outcomes & Assessment Methods


Students will demonstrate familiarity with the origins, history, and essential elements of the Constitutions of the United States and Nevada, as well as the evolution of American institutions and ideals.

Student Learning Outcomes

Courses satisfying CO8 might feature student learning outcomes like the ones listed below. Faculty may use outcomes from this list or propose their own outcomes addressing the objective. Learning outcomes must be observable and measurable so that they can be properly assessed.

Students will be able to:

  • outline the sources and evolution of key American institutions and ideals
  • explain the historical origins, philosophical foundations, and core principles of the United States and Nevada Constitutions
  • trace the sources and development of American intellectual traditions and cultural institutions
  • understand the principles of constitutional government as practiced in the United States and Nevada.

Direct Assessment Methods

All courses that are verified as satisfying a Core Objective will be assessed on a regular basis to determine how well students are learning the knowledge and skills described in the objective. Instructors are expected to develop ways of directly measuring student learning (through evaluating the work students produce in the course) and to report these measurements to the Core Board upon request.

The following are some examples of direct assessment methods that might be used in courses satisfying CO8. Examples of student work should be evaluated according to a clear, consistent rubric or set of criteria. Faculty may choose methods from this list or propose alternative assessment methods:

  • an essay tracing the origin and evolution of 1 or more ideas or institutions that have shaped American culture and society over time (e.g., liberty, slavery, the federal government, capitalism, democracy, manifest destiny), evaluated by normed raters using a rubric of criteria keyed to this outcome and a scale of agreed-upon standards for performance
  • an essay explaining the historical origins of the Constitutions and the key ideas expressed in the documents, evaluated via rubric as described above
  • percent correct/acceptable answers to quiz or exam questions that test students' knowledge of American history, political and economic structures, cultural characteristics, or social conditions
  • percent correct/acceptable answers on a worksheet that requires students to identify, explain, and compare the key ideas and principles expressed in the United States and Nevada Constitutions.