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Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum Survey - 1997

Overview

In 1997 CU-Boulder began an extensive review of the Arts and Sciences Core curriculum. As part of the assessment, students were surveyed in Fall 1997 to determine their opinions about and experiences with the Core. In many instances, survey findings contradicted widely held beliefs about students' assessment of the Core curriculum requirements.

Highlights:

  • Fewer than half of respondents had completed the Social Science MAPS (including Geography) prior to enrolling at UCB.
  • More than half of respondents had yet to complete the Critical Thinking Core requirement at the time of graduation check-out.
  • Written Communication was most often selected as the one most beneficial requirement; nearly three-quarters who selected it said the content was useful/important to know.
  • Arts and Humanities and Social Science students found the Natural Science requirement most troublesome; the most common stated reason for difficulty was too many hours required.
  • Natural Science majors most frequently listed Written Communication as most troublesome.
  • When asked about changes to the Core, the largest percentage of students indicated that the number of hours/requirements should be reduced; however, more than one-quarter said the Core was "just fine."

Sections:

METHODS

Population and Sample: The population was all graduating seniors in Arts & Sciences. The sample was all students attending A&S graduation check-out sessions during the fall 1997 semester.

Contact Method: Students were surveyed during the fall of 1997 at A&S graduation check-out sessions. All A&S graduating seniors are required to attend a session prior to graduation, at which time their completion of graduation requirements is assessed. The Core Curriculum questionnaire was included in a packet of materials that students were asked to complete while at the session. Three versions of the questionnaire were developed (see Questionnaire Design below); students randomly received one of the three versions.

Questionnaire Design: Three versions of the questionnaire were developed. All versions assessed:

  • completion status of the five MAPS (Minimum Academic Preparation Standards) requirements (completed in high school, completed at another college/university, completed at UCB, still need to complete at UCB before graduating)
  • completion status of the 11 A&S Core curriculum requirements (completed when entered UCB, already completed at UCB, still need to complete)
  • assessment of the extent to which each Core requirement was beneficial and troublesome for the student
  • identification of the one requirement that was most beneficial and the one that was most troublesome, and reasons why each was beneficial or troublesome

In addition, each student was asked one of three open-ended questions:

  1. Did completion of the Core and/or MAPS requirements influence your choice of major(s)? If so, please explain how.
  2. Assume you have a brother or sister starting at UCB next year; what would you want the Core or MAPS to look like?
  3. If you could change one thing about the Core/MAPS requirements, what would it be? How would you change it?

Respondents: Questionnaire data were collected from 979 students. While exact numbers are not available, this number represents approximately 53% of the students attending the graduation check-out sessions. See respondent demographics for characteristics of survey respondents.

Analysis: In addition to reporting results for all respondents together, results are also presented by the following major-discipline groups: Social Science, Natural Science, and Arts & Humanities. PBA consulted with A&S to determine which majors to assign to each discipline group. Groupings were made as follows:

Arts and Humanities: Art History, Studio Arts, Chinese, Classics, Dance, English, Film Studies, Fine Arts, French, German, History, Humanities, Italian, Japanese, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Russian, Spanish, Theater

Natural Science: Biochemistry, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, EPO-Biology, Geography, Geology, Kinesiology, Mathematics, MCD-Biology, Physics

Social Science: American Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Central and Eastern European Studies, Communications, Economics, Ethnic Studies, International Affairs, Latin American Studies, Linguistics, Political Science, Psychology, Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Sociology, Women's Studies

RESPONDENT DEMOGRAPHICS

Characteristic                    %/mean

Class Standing
  Senior                            94% 
  Junior                             6% 

Transferred to UCB                  36% 

Mean Transfer hours                  40 
Mean GPA                            3.1 
Expect to graduate by summer 98     90% 

MAPS COMPLETION STATUS

Students were asked to indicate their completion status of the 5 MAPS (Minimum Academic Preparation Standards) requirements (see Table below) (See graduation requirements for details on MAPS requirements). Nearly all students completed the English, Math, and Natural Science requirements in high school; over three-quarters (78%) completed the Foreign Language requirement while still in high school. However, less than half (49%) completed the Social Science (including Geography) requirement before arriving at UCB. These figures are similar for each of the three major-discipline groups.

COMPLETION STATUS OF MAPS REQUIREMENTS -- for ALL respondents (n=920)

                        MAPS Requirements were completed in        Will
                                                                complete at
                                     Another                     UCB this
                           High      College/                     term or
MAPS Requirements         School    University    CU-Boulder       later        #

MAPS--English              94%          0%            3%            1%         875
MAPS--Math                 86%          3%            7%            2%         871
MAPS--Natural Science      85%          1%           11%            1%         868
MAPS--Foreign Language     78%          2%           15%            4%         880
MAPS--Social Science       46%          3%           47%            2%         878
BY THE FOLLOWING A&S MAJOR DISCIPLINES -- (69 double-majors are shown in more than one major group)

SOCIAL SCIENCES
                        MAPS Requirements were completed in        Will
                                                                complete at
                                     Another                     UCB this
                           High      College/                     term or
MAPS Requirements         School    University    CU-Boulder       later        #

MAPS--English              93%          1%            3%            2%         396
MAPS--Math                 86%          4%            6%            3%         393
MAPS--Natural Science      83%          1%           14%            1%         391
MAPS--Foreign Language     78%          2%           14%            5%         401
MAPS--Social Science       44%          4%           48%            2%         401


NATURAL SCIENCE
                        MAPS Requirements were completed in        Will
                                                                complete at
                                     Another                     UCB this
                           High      College/                     term or
MAPS Requirements         School    University    CU-Boulder       later        #

MAPS--English              95%          0%            4%            0%         269
MAPS--Math                 91%          3%            4%            0%         268
MAPS--Natural Science      92%          1%            6%            0%         268
MAPS--Foreign Language     80%          3%           13%            3%         269
MAPS--Social Science       50%          2%           44%            2%         267



ARTS and HUMANITIES
                        MAPS Requirements were completed in        Will
                                                                complete at
                                     Another                     UCB this
                           High      College/                     term or
MAPS Requirements         School    University    CU-Boulder       later        #

MAPS--English              95%          0%            2%            1%         227
MAPS--Math                 83%          2%            9%            4%         225
MAPS--Natural Science      86%          0%           11%            1%         224
MAPS--Foreign Language     78%          0%           15%            4%         226
MAPS--Social Science       43%          3%           49%            3%         226

CORE REQUIREMENTS COMPLETION STATUS AND ASSESSMENT OF BENEFIT/TROUBLE

Completion Status

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of the students completed the Foreign Language Core requirement before entering UCB; nearly one-quarter (23%) did so for the Quantitative Reasoning requirement (see Table below). Core requirements with the lowest completion rate at the time of graduation check-out were Critical Thinking (56% still needed to complete) and Written Communication (34% still needed to complete). (See graduation requirements for details on Core requirements).

For the most part, completion status is similar across the three major-discipline groups. For all groups, the requirement most likely to be incomplete at the time of graduation check-out was Critical Thinking. Not unexpectedly, Natural Science majors were more likely than other majors to have completed their Quantitative Reasoning and Natural Science requirements.

Assessment of Benefit and Trouble

For each Core requirement, students were asked to rate the extent to which the requirement had been beneficial and the extent to which each had been troublesome. Ratings were made on the following three-point scale: not at all, somewhat, and very. Only students who had completed the requirement at the time of graduation check-out rated the requirement.

All Students

Half (50%) of the students rated the Critical Thinking requirement as very beneficial. Other requirements judged as very beneficial included Natural Sciences (42%), Foreign Language (42%), and Written Communication (41%). Quantitative Reasoning was judged least beneficial, with 30% of the respondents saying it was "not at all" beneficial. Interestingly, two of the requirements judged as very beneficial were also judged as very troublesome by more than one-quarter of the students. Twenty-seven percent of the students rated Natural Sciences as very troublesome, as did 26% for Written Communication.

COMPLETION STATUS OF THE CORE REQUIREMENTS for All Respondents (N=920)

                                                        WILL
                                                    COMPLETE at	    
                            Completed    COMPLETED    UCB this        ------ HOW BENEFICIAL -------     ------- HOW TROUBLESOME -----
                             BEFORE         at        term or            Not at                          Not at
CORE Requirements          entering UCB  CU-Boulder     later      N      All    Somewhat  Very   Mean    All    Somewhat Very   Mean
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Foreign Language                74%          20%         5%       901     17%      40%     42%    2.2     58%      28%     13%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Quantitative Reasoning          23%          66%        10%       896     30%      48%     21%    1.9     38%      41%     19%    1.8
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Written Communication            6%          59%        34%       882     16%      41%     41%    2.2     28%      45%     26%    2.0
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Critical Thinking                1%          42%        56%       877      9%      39%     50%    2.4     46%      41%     12%    1.7
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Historical Context              12%          75%        11%       897     18%      52%     29%    2.1     47%      41%     10%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Cultural and Gender Diversity    5%          86%         8%       889     19%      42%     38%    2.2     56%      33%      9%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
United States Context           15%          80%         4%       887     17%      48%     34%    2.2     52%      39%      7%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Literature and the Arts          3%          84%        12%       866     13%      46%     39%    2.3     47%      40%     11%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Natural Sciences                 3%          83%        13%       870     14%      42%     42%    2.3     34%      37%     27%    1.9
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Contemporary Studies            10%          85%         4%       867     14%      51%     34%    2.2     53%      39%      6%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Ideals and Values                8%          85%         5%       886     14%      50%     34%    2.2     52%      40%      6%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

By Discipline-Group

Ratings of the extent to which the various core requirements were beneficial or troublesome varied considerably over the discipline groups. The Natural Science core requirement was the most troublesome for Arts and Humanities and Social Science majors. As compared to the other groups, few Natural Science majors rated any of the Core requirements as very troublesome. The most troublesome requirement for Natural Science majors was Written Communication; however, less than one-quarter (21%) rated it as such. Another 32% of Natural Science majors had yet to complete the Written Communication requirement, and therefore, had not rated it.

The Critical Thinking Core requirement was rated as very beneficial by nearly half or more than half of students in each of the major-discipline groups. In addition, more than half of the Arts and Humanities majors rated Literature and the Arts as very beneficial and nearly half of the Social Science majors rated the Foreign Language requirement as very beneficial.

COMPLETION STATUS OF THE CORE REQUIREMENTS -- By Major Discipline


ARTS & HUMANITIES                                       WILL
                                                     COMPLETE at     ----- HOW BENEFICIAL ------     ------ HOW TROUBLESOME ------
                              Completed    COMPLETED   UCB this
                                BEFORE         at       term or        Not at                           Not at
CORE Requirements           entering UCB  CU-Boulder    later      N    All   Somewhat  Very    Mean     All    Somewhat  Very   Mean
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Foreign Language                 70%          23%         5%      185     14%     35%     49%    2.4      58%      27%     14%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Quantitative Reasoning           20%          65%        14%      217     37%     45%     17%    1.8      34%      41%     24%    1.9
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Written Communication             5%          60%        33%      211     20%     39%     40%    2.2      26%      44%     29%    2.0
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Critical Thinking                 1%          44%        53%      156      9%     34%     56%    2.5      48%      39%     12%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Historical Context               10%          80%         9%      214     11%     47%     40%    2.3      55%      36%      7%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Cultural and Gender Diversity     6%          87%         6%      210     14%     40%     45%    2.3      61%      32%      5%    1.4
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
United States Context            12%          81%         6%      209     16%     41%     42%    2.3      56%      36%      6%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Literature and the Arts           5%          88%         6%      204      7%     35%     57%    2.5      60%      33%      6%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Natural Sciences                  1%          78%        20%      220     17%     52%     30%    2.1      26%      38%     35%    2.1
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Contemporary Studies             12%          82%         4%      207     14%     51%     33%    2.2      52%      40%      7%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Ideals and Values                 8%          84%         7%      208     13%     45%     41%    2.3      55%      38%      6%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


NATURAL SCIENCE                                          WILL
                                                      COMPLETE at       ---- HOW BENEFICIAL -----	------ HOW TROUBLESOME ------
                              Completed    COMPLETED   UCB this
                                BEFORE         at       term or          Not at                          Not at
CORE Requirements            entering UCB  CU-Boulder    later     N      All    Somewhat  Very  Mean     All    Somewhat  Very  Mean  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Foreign Language                 77%         18%          4%      216      21%     42%    36%    2.2       63%     25%     11%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Quantitative Reasoning           32%         62%          4%      242      18%     49%    32%    2.1       45%     42%     12%    1.7
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Written Communication             7%         60%         32%      226      15%     41%    44%    2.3       38%     40%     21%    1.8
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Critical Thinking                 1%         36%         61%      165       8%     42%    49%    2.4       47%     40%     12%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Historical Context               11%         74%         14%      234      24%     55%    20%    2.0       44%     44%     11%    1.7
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Cultural and Gender Diversity     6%         82%         12%      240      26%     45%    28%    2.0       56%     31%     12%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
United States Context            17%         77%          5%      244      22%     52%    25%    2.0       50%     42%      7%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Literature and the Arts           5%         77%         16%      245      15%     51%    33%    2.2       45%     38%     16%    1.7
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Natural Sciences                  5%         92%          1%      247       5%     24%    69%    2.6       54%     34%     10%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Contemporary Studies             12%         80%          6%      248      19%     57%    22%    2.0       47%     44%      8%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Ideals and Values                 9%         82%          7%      257      16%     56%    26%    2.1       47%     46%      6%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


SOCIAL SCIENCES                                          WILL
                                                      COMPLETE at      ---- HOW BENEFICIAL -----	 ------ HOW TROUBLESOME -----
                              Completed   COMPLETED    UCB this
                                BEFORE        at        term or          Not at                           Not at
CORE Requirements            entering UCB CU-Boulder     later     N      All   Somewhat Very   Mean       All   Somewhat  Very  Mean  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Foreign Language                 74%         19%          5%      329      16%     37%    45%    2.3       57%     28%     13%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Quantitative Reasoning           20%         69%         10%      371      34%     49%    16%    1.8       35%     41%     23%    1.9
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Written Communication             7%         58%         34%      352      18%     41%    40%    2.2       22%     47%     30%    2.1
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Critical Thinking                 1%         45%         53%      299      10%     40%    49%    2.4       46%     42%     11%    1.7
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Historical Context               13%         75%         11%      356      17%     53%    29%    2.1       48%     40%     11%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Cultural and Gender Diversity     4%         87%          7%      372      19%     39%    41%    2.2       54%     35%     10%    1.6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
United States Context            15%         83%          1%      368      14%     47%    37%    2.2       54%     37%      8%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Literature and the Arts           2%         85%         12%      376      15%     49%    35%    2.2       42%     44%     12%    1.7
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Natural Sciences                  2%         81%         16%      376      18%     47%    34%    2.2       27%     38%     34%    2.1
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Contemporary Studies              9%         89%          1%      366      10%     46%    42%    2.3       59%     35%      5%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Ideals and Values                 9%         88%          2%      372      13%     47%    39%    2.3       54%     38%      7%    1.5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MOST BENEFICIAL CORE REQUIREMENT

Most beneficial requirement

Students were asked to select the one core requirement they found most beneficial and describe why.* Results for all students and by major-discipline group are shown below. Interestingly, across all discipline groups, Written Communication was most often selected as the one most beneficial requirement. This was true even for Natural Science majors who could select the Natural Science requirement as most beneficial.

* = Note that some students may have selected a Core for which they had completed some but not all of the required credit hours (e.g., Natural Science or Written Communication). However, in many instances, student may not have selected a Core requirement because they had not completed it yet.

ONE CORE REQUIREMENT THAT WAS MOST BENEFICIAL-- BY MAJOR DISCIPLINE GROUP  (69 Seniors fall under more than one group)

                                                                  Discipline group

                                       ALL         ARTS+HUMANITIES   NATURAL SCIENCE   SOCIAL SCIENCES

 MOST BENEFICIAL                    N       Pct       N       Pct       N       Pct       N       Pct
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Foreign Language                   89       11       25       12       16        7       48       14
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Quantitative Reasoning             25        3        2        1        8        4       15        4
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Written Communication             154       20       40       19       50       23       64       18
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Critical Thinking                 104       13       27       13       25       12       52       15
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Historical Context                 35        5       14        7        7        3       14        4
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Cultural & Gender Diversity        94       12       26       12       17        8       51       15
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 United States Context              37        5       13        6        9        4       15        4
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Literature & the Arts              55        7       17        8       18        8       20        6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Natural Science                    83       11       15        7       37       17       31        9
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Contemporary Studies               45        6       13        6       12        6       20        6
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Ideals & Values                    50        6       17        8       18        8       15        4
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 All Core Requirements               4        1        .        .        .        .        4        1
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 No Requirements                     2        0        .        .        .        .        2        1
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 ALL                               777      100      209      100      217      100      351      100
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Why most beneficial?

Students indicated in their own words why they found the chosen Core requirement most beneficial. These "open-ended" responses were coded into categories according to themes for approximately half of the survey respondents. We did not transcribe comments for all students because it became obvious after transcribing the first half that the same themes were being repeated. We are confident that comments for the first half of surveys transcribed represent themes stated by all survey respondents.

Results are shown in the table below. For 7 of the 11 requirements (see * in table), the most frequently given reason for why it was most beneficial was that the content was useful or important to know. Among those who selected Natural Science and Contemporary Studies as most beneficial, the most frequently cited reason for why was that the requirement was important to the student's major. Literature and the Arts and Historical Context were the only requirements for which most students who selected the requirement indicated that it was beneficial because they would not have taken the course otherwise.

Reasons Why Core Requirement Most Beneficial

FL=Foreign Language, QR=Quantitative Reasoning, WC=Written Communication
CT=Critical Thinking, HC=Historical Context, CG=Cultural & Gender Diversity
US=US Context, LA=Literature & Arts, NS=Natural Science
CS=Contemporary Studies, IV=Ideals & Values, MG=MAPS Geography

                                           ALL      FL*     QR*     WC*     CT*     HC      CG*     US*     LA      NS      CS     IV*

 Total Number                              406      39      10      73      61      16      53      19      30      54      22      29

 Useful/important/need to know/valuable     44%     54%     50%     73%     48%     19%     58%     58%     23%     11%     32%    24%
 Important to major/fit with major          17%      8%     20%      5%      8%     31%      6%     11%     10%     46%     45%    21%
 Use later in life/career                   12%     21%     10%     10%     13%      6%      8%     16%     10%     13%     14%    10%
 Would not have taken otherwise, exposure   11%      5%      0%      1%      5%     31%     11%      0%     37%     13%      5%    24%
 Enjoyable, fun, interesting, like          10%      5%      0%      1%      8%     19%      8%      0%     27%     13%     18%    24%
 Learned a lot, challenging                  9%      3%      0%      7%      8%      6%      9%     16%     10%     15%      0%    21%
 Course/instrctr high quality, organized     8%      8%     10%      5%     16%     19%      6%     11%      3%      6%      5%     7%
 Other                                      11%     18%     30%     18%     11%      0%      4%      5%      0%     11%      9%     7%

* = most common reason for selecting requirement as most beneficial was useful/important/need to know.

Student Comments

MOST TROUBLESOME CORE REQUIREMENT

Most troublesome requirement

Students were asked to select the one core requirement they found most troublesome and describe why.* Results for all students and by major-discipline group are shown below. The Natural Science requirement was selected most often by Arts and Humanities and Social Science majors as the most troublesome. Natural Science majors most often selected Written Communication as most troublesome, though only 21% did so.

* = Note that some students may have selected a Core for which they had completed some but not all of the required credit hours (e.g., Natural Science or Written Communication). However, in many instances, student may not have selected a Core requirement because they had not completed it yet.

ONE CORE REQUIREMENT THAT WAS MOST TROUBLESOME
                                                                  Discipline group

                                       ALL         ARTS&HUMANITIES   NATURAL SCIENCE   SOCIAL SCIENCES

 MOST TROUBLESOME                   N       Pct       N       Pct       N       Pct       N       Pct
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Foreign Language                   66        9       15        7       26       12       25        7
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Quantitative Reasoning            120       16       43       21       18        8       59       17
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Written Communication             154       20       42       20       47       22       65       19
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Critical Thinking                  17        2        5        2        8        4        4        1
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Historical Context                 47        6        2        1       26       12       19        5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Cultural & Gender Diversity        62        8        9        4       25       12       28        8
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 United States Context              31        4        7        3       12        6       12        3
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Literature & the Arts              40        5        2        1       21       10       17        5
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Natural Science                   169       22       63       30        8        4       98       28
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Contemporary Studies               24        3        9        4        8        4        7        2
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Ideals & Values                    24        3        8        4        9        4        7        2
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 All Core Requirements               2        0        .        .        1        0        1        0
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 No Requirements                    17        2        3        1        8        4        6        2
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 ALL                               773      100      208      100      217      100      348      100
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Why most troublesome?

Students indicated in their own words why they found the chosen Core requirement most troublesome. These "open-ended" responses were coded into categories according to themes for the first half of survey respondents. As with the "most beneficial" comments, we did not transcribe comments for all students because it became obvious after transcribing the first half that the same themes were being repeated. We are confident that comments for the first half of surveys transcribed represent themes stated by all survey respondents.

Results are shown in the table below. For 7 of the 12 requirements (11 Cores and one MAPS - Geography, see * in table), the most frequently given reason for why it was most troublesome was that the requirement was judged as useless or irrelevant. Among those who selected Written Communication, Critical Thinking, and Culture/Gender Diversity as most troublesome, the most frequently cited reason for why was poor instruction or poor quality of the course. Students having difficulty with the Natural Science requirement most often criticized the number of hours required, and students selecting the Foreign Language requirement as most troublesome most often cited the difficulty of the course or the grade they received as a reason for problematic.

Reasons Why Core Requirement was Most Troublesome

FL=Foreign Language, QR=Quantitative Reasoning, WC=Written Communication
CT=Critical Thinking, HC=Historical Context, CG=Cultural & Gender Diversity
US=US Context, LA=Literature & Arts, NS=Natural Science
CS=Contemporary Studies, IV=Ideals & Values, MG=MAPS Geography

                                                                                 Core Requirement
 Troublesome
                                      ALL     MG*    FL      QR*     WC      CT      HC*     CG      US*     LA*     NS      CS*   IV*

 Total Number                         393      6     29      56      85      13      25      28      18      24      89      10     10

 Useless, irrelevant, redundant       33%    50%     17%     50%     33%     15%     48%     25%     44%     46%     17%     40%   80% 
 Poor instruction/course/choices      28%     0%     10%     20%     36%     77%     36%     43%     39%     38%     13%     30%   20%
 Grading, hurt GPA, hard course       19%     0%     41%     18%     25%     15%      0%     14%     11%      8%     22%      0%    0%
 Too many hours/courses required      16%     0%     21%      0%      0%      0%      4%      0%      0%     13%     57%     10%    0%
 Forced to take, did not like         12%     0%      0%     14%      6%      0%     16%     21%     11%     13%     20%     20%   10%
 Took in HS or other college/AP        7%    17%     14%     18%      0%      0%     20%      0%     11%      0%      4%      0%    0%
 Other (personal)                      9%    17%      7%      9%     21%      0%      4%      7%      6%     13%      1%     10%    0%

* = most common reason for selecting requirement as most troublesome was useless, irrelevant, redundant.

Student Comments

SUGGESTED CHANGES TO THE CORE

Students were asked one of three "open-ended" questions:
1. Did completion of the Core and/or MAPS requirements influence your choice of major(s)? If so, please explain how.
2. Assume you have a brother or sister starting at UCB next year; what would you want the Core or MAPS to look like?
3. If you could change one thing about the Core/MAPS requirements, what would it be? How would you change it?

Responses were coded into categories according to the themes they addressed. Most students asked the first question answered "No," and therefore, only results for the second and third questions are presented below.

What should Core look like for brother or sister?

More than one-third (36%) of the 158 students responding to this question said the Core should contain fewer requirements; however, more than one-quarter (28%) said the University should make no changes to the Core, that it is working well.

What Core/Maps should look like for brother/sister

 Total Number                                 158

 Fewer reqs/drop reqs/exempt                  36%
 No change, working well                      28%
 More requirements, make harder               15%
 More flexibility in choices                  11%
 Increase/improve advising, clear              5%
 Should relate to student majors               4%
 Other                                        13%

Student Comments

If you could change one thing, what would it be?

At total of 111 students responded to this question. Among those responding, nearly half said they would reduce the number or Core requirements if they could make one change. Most of these comments centered on reducing the number or Natural Science hours required by the Core.

If you could change one thing, what would it be?

 Total Number                                111

 Fewer reqs/drop reqs/exempt                  48%
 More flexibility/more choice                 14%
 More requirements, make harder                8%
 Should relate to student majors               5%
 No change, working well                       3%
 Other                                        13%

Student Comments

Last revision 07/08/05


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