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Abstract

This article outlines a systematic and manageable method for learning community program assessment based on collecting empirical direct measures of student learning. Developed at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi where all full-time, first-year students are in learning communities, the approach ties integrative assignment design to a rubric for grading the assignment developed by teams at a planning retreat each semester. The rubric specifies competencies from each class included in the assignment as well as a criterion for success of earning an overall grade of B or better (80 points or higher). The authors describe an advocacy letter assignment designed for a political science course in state and local government, a first-year composition course, and a first-year seminar. An appendix includes the assignment along with the grading rubric as well as the method used by administrators to aggregate data across all learning communities.

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