Development of the Passport Learning Outcomes involved faculty from two-year and four-year institutions in multiple states through both interstate and intrastate faculty negotiation meetings.
Passport State Facilitators organized the meetings and engaged with and directed faculty representatives with expertise and experience in selected knowledge and skill areas. Each of the seven states involved in development (California, Hawaii, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming) sent two representatives, one from a two-year school and one from a four-year institution, to serve on each of the nine interstate faculty teams. All team members worked with many other faculty at their institutions and others in their states to gather input and refine the PLOs.
After first reviewing each state’s learning outcomes in a specific content or skill area, faculty teams produced an agreed-upon set of learning outcomes – Passport Learning Outcomes – through intensive, in-depth, face-to-face discussions about learning outcomes, course assignments, activities, language, and communications.
This “crosswalk” of all state sets enabled faculty to recognize commonalities among the states and helped maintain the essential elements for inclusion in the Passport Learning Outcomes in all nine of the lower-division general education areas.
Faculty from the participating institutions acknowledged that their institutions’ lower-division general education learning outcomes in these areas were equivalent to the Passport Learning Outcomes. Team members shared their work with stakeholders in their states over several rounds of review and refinement.
Knowledge and Skill Areas
Interstate Passport’s learning outcomes encompass nine knowledge and skill areas that map to the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and that correspond to findings resulting from WICHE’s research on general education in its region. Like other learning outcomes initiatives, Interstate Passport® used a tuning-like process to reach consensus among faculty from institutions in multiple states on outcomes and proficiency.
Learning Outcomes are the Key to Interstate Passport®
The members of Interstate Passport agree to a pre-defined set of learning outcomes and identify the courses on their campuses that deliver Passport’s Foundational Skills, Knowledge of Concepts, and Crosscutting Skills.
The Passport Learning Outcomes in foundational skills reference the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes and describe the learning required to satisfy lower-division general education requirements in oral communication, written communication, and quantitative literacy. Additional academic work in these or other skill areas may be needed to fulfill upper-division general education, academic minor and/or academic major requirements, or graduation or state requirements.
Oral Communication: Public speaking entails a crucial set of skills for higher education students to develop because of its importance for effective participation in classrooms and its central position as a tool of democracy and civic engagement. The ability to prepare and extemporaneously deliver an argument grounded in credible information and organized effectively is usually developed in one or more courses in oral communication and becomes strengthened across the curriculum. The following learning outcomes are not exhaustive but provide a balanced portrait of what receiving institutions can expect from transfer students who have earned a Passport.
Relationship to Institution’s Passport Block: an introductory speech course, outcomes identified in other courses, or equivalent demonstration of speech proficiency is required.
Writing sits at the heart of the mission of the higher education institution. Regardless of the discipline or the curriculum, written communication is the key that unlocks critical thinking, analysis, and logical reasoning. Learning to write effectively as an undergraduate is not accomplished in any one course, but almost always requires at least one dedicated course. Proficiency at writing includes the use of sources, writing process knowledge, convention and mechanics, self-assessment and reflection. This area further includes an introduction to analysis of the content of others’ writings, critical thinking and logical reasoning in addressing that content in an appropriate context.
Relationship to Institution’s Passport Block: an introductory writing course or equivalent demonstration of writing proficiency is required, with an expectation that students have opportunities to write as part of other lower‐division courses.
Quantitative literacy requires comfort and capability with fundamental quantitative methods and incorporation of quantitative concepts into the student’s worldview so the student does not hesitate to apply quantitative skills in any appropriate context. Specific quantitative skills that must be addressed are mathematical process, computational skills, formulation of quantitative arguments, analysis of quantitative arguments, communication of quantitative arguments, and quantitative models.
Relationship to Institution’s Passport Block: a course in mathematics, a course that intensively uses quantitative methods, or equivalent demonstration of quantitative literacy is required.
There are four main categories for the Knowledge Areas: Natural Sciences, Human Cultures, Creative Expression, and Human Society and the Individual.
Proficiency in the natural sciences entails exploration and comprehension of the universe that requires an informed understanding of the scientific method and its scope and an appreciation of the inherent beauty and wonder that one can find in science and its possibilities. It requires the application of the scientific method in conducting research by gathering and subjecting empirical evidence to quantitative analysis. Proficiency also demands understanding that all applicable evidence must be integrated into scientific models of the universe, and that scientific models must evolve.
Relationship to Institution’s Passport Block: this area includes basic proficiency in the knowledge of concept in disciplines such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, physics, and others.
Proficiency in evolving human cultures Increases student knowledge and appreciation of the human condition in different cultures in relation to each other and of cultural diversity and/or cultural evolution over time. Subject matter may include study of the similarities and differences among cultures including cultural values, traditions, beliefs, and customs, as well as the range of cultural achievements and human conditions through time.
Relationship to Institution’s Passport Block: this area includes disciplines such as history, anthropology, archaeology, political science, geography, ethnic studies, gender studies, languages, and others.
Interpretive and creative expression of the potential and limits of the human condition relies on critical analysis of specific texts or works to support its claims.
Relationship to Institution’s Passport Block: this area includes disciplines such as music, visual arts, design, theater, film, media, literature, architecture and, potentially, many others.
Human society and the individual explores human behavior in social settings through scientific inquiry within the context of value systems, institutions, economic structures, social groups and/or environments.
Relationship to Institution’s Passport Block: this area includes social science disciplines such as sociology, geography, history, criminology, psychology, economics, and others.
There are two main categories for Crosscutting Skills: Critical Thinking and Teamwork and Value Systems.
Critical thinking is a cross-disciplinary process based on information literacy that uses inquiry and analysis and leads to problem solving. Critical thinking is also a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating a judgment or conclusion. Critical thinkers deeply reflect on the process and each of the steps below and return to each step as necessary.
Relationship to Institution’s Passport Block: this area may be addressed by a single course or in multiple courses across the lower-division general education curriculum. Options may include science, quantitative literacy, economics, computer science, sociology, philosophy, history, literature and others.
Teamwork is collaborating towards a common purpose through shared responsibility and mutual accountability, while maintaining healthy relationships. Value Systems are a coherent set of ethical standards adopted and/or evolved by a team as a standard to guide its behavior. Teamwork and Value Systems may be embedded in any of the content areas or across multiple courses in the institution’s Passport Block.
Relationship to Institution’s Passport Block: this area may be addressed by a single course or in courses across the lower-division general education curriculum. Options may include science lab courses, psychology, theater, and many others.
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