Core objective #3: Critical analysis and use of information

Silver Vein I: Fundamental practice

Brief description of learning objective: Students will be critical consumers of information, able to engage in systematic research processes, frame questions, read critically, and apply observational and experimental approaches to obtain information.

Standards or requirements for verification

Only Core Writing courses may be verified for CO3. These should be lower-division (100-200 level) general education courses, for 3 or more units each.

NOTE: Core Objectives 1-3 will not be satisfied in the same manner as subsequent Core Objectives. These three objectives are not satisfied by a single course. Instead, a foundation for these objectives is built in Core Writing and Core Math requirements, and developed in other General Education courses. A discipline-specific competency should then be developed within the major and integrated into the Core Capstone course. These objectives should be assessed in the Core Writing, Core Math, and Core Capstone courses.

The foundation for this objective is built by the Core Writing requirement and developed in the Core Natural Science, Core Humanities, and Core Social Science requirements, as well as other courses within majors. If possible, this objective should also be integrated into the Core Capstone course.

CO3 focuses on the critical analysis and use of information, and each of the primary terms included in CO3 (critical, analysis, use, and information) are defined as follows:

  • Critical: deliberate, systematic, purposeful, and informed
  • Analysis: systematic search and review of information, comparative consideration of information, framing questions appropriately for the task and resources at hand, and building from and toward the information gathered
  • Use: searching for and finding information through appropriate research methods, evaluating that information, and ensuring the appropriate use of that information
  • Information: any data, ideas, constructs, discussions that can be taken in or generated via critical academic work.

Courses building a foundation in this Core Objective will meet the expectations for the Core Critical Analysis & Use of Information requirement and should:

  1. include the Core Objective, together with its brief description, on the course syllabus in its original form
  2. include three 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

Capstone courses that integrate CO3 should demonstrate alignment between this Core Objective and course assignments, as well as evidence of critical analysis, use of information, and research processes.

Suggested student learning outcomes and assessment methods

Faculty may incorporate one or more of the examples from this list or propose their own student learning outcomes and methods of assessing the objective.

  • Critical analysis and use of information

    Students will be critical consumers of information, able to engage in systematic research processes, frame questions, read critically, and apply observational and experimental approaches to obtain information.

  • Student learning outcomes

    Courses building CO3 might feature outcomes like these:

    Students will be able to:

    • identify the need for information, conduct topic exploration, and articulate a manageable focus for a research assignment
    • develop and execute a research strategy appropriate to the task, including the finding and interpreting of information sources
    • critically evaluate information from a variety of sources (expert people, popular and specialized periodicals, scholarly journals, books)
    • synthesize and integrate information from multiple sources to contribute to the scholarly conversation
    • develop and evaluate possible solutions that lead to well-grounded conclusions
    • explain and apply many of the ethical, legal, and social issues related to information and its use.

    Capstone courses integrating CO3 might feature outcomes like this:

    Students will be able to:

    • synthesize and integrate results from academic research to construct a literature review
    • execute appropriate research strategies and practices to produce a lab report
    • use advanced search strategies in library research databases and tools to find primary and secondary sources for a presentation or essay
    • differentiate among and integrate information from a variety of sources (popular journalism, peer-reviewed journals, trade publications, statistics, web, government information, experts in the field, primary sources) to produce a report or research essay
    • evaluate evidence and arguments used in information sources to summarize current thought on the issue being investigated
    • frame original research in the context of prior literature, demonstrating an understanding of the discipline's scope and methods.
  • 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.

    Outcomes in Capstone courses integrating critical analysis and the use of information might be assessed by a range of methods, including review essays, research-based essays, lab reports, annotated bibliographies, presentations, posters, reflections, quizzes, or exams. Because many of these assessments are performance-based, rubrics can be used to rate samples of student work to identify levels of proficiency. For quizzes or exams, certain questions can be added to address the outcomes here, and item analysis of relevant questions can be conducted to assess students' success in the acquisition of these skills.