Quality in Undergraduate Education Georgia State University
A Projet by the Education Trust & the National  Association of System Heads (NASH) in Association with Georgia State University

Disciplinary Standards

About QUE
Sub Topics:

What is Que? | Institutions Involved with Que | How does QUE define standards? | How does QUE use standards? | What are the advantages of standards-based education? | Objectives of QUE & Deliverables of QUE

How does QUE use standards?

QUE expects all students to reach at least an acceptable performance level for the standards at a given benchmark. An expectation is that students will understand material sufficiently well that they can use it in appropriate settings. Thus, content standards are not detailed lists of items that are tested by simple recall. Content standards emphasize concepts and principles rather than facts. In all cases standards must be assessable. The QUE project will assemble and/or develop multiple ways in which students can demonstrate deeper learning and understanding.

Standards are being developed for disciplinary courses in the general education curriculum and for the series of courses that constitute a major. Standards are not normally set for a given course in the major. An individual course may contribute to several standards in the major, but successful attainment of standards in the major will generally require a mix of courses to enable a student to demonstrate proficiency.

No student can be expected to become an "expert" in all areas of a discipline during four years of undergraduate education. An academic program that attempts to give equal and indiscriminate priority to all its subject matter will be forced to limit itself to a superficial treatment of the field. On the other hand, a program that balances general content knowledge with an in-depth investigation of specialized topics gives students the opportunity to ask questions, evaluate alternative theories, and take an active role in deciding the direction their education will take.

QUE provides faculty with an opportunity to examine a student's whole educational experience in relation to the state of learning in the discipline and to set standards that will be sufficiently broad to accomplish the above balance. Thus, faculty can ensure that all department graduates are at least proficient in a set of learning goals. This approach not only provides students with a deep understanding of fundamental concepts but also enables them to acquire the skills necessary to continue their exploration into the disciplinary field and to continue their intellectual growth long after they complete their undergraduate education.