General Education assessment


The purpose of assessing the General Education Program is to improve student learning. Assessment is a course-embedded activity that collects information on student learning with respect to the programs' student learning outcomes. This information gives instructors at the course level and the General Education Committee at the program level an understanding of student achievement as it relates to the program outcomes. This data is then used as a source of information to facilitate both programmatic and course level improvements.

Student Learning Outcomes

The General Education Program has adopted the following six student learning outcomes (SLO). Note that these are program-level outcomes and not course-level outcomes.

Students will demonstrate knowledge and abilities relating to:
  1. human cultures and the natural world;
  2. critical and creative thinking;
  3. aesthetic perspectives and meaning;
  4. effective communication;
  5. interaction in intercultural contexts;
  6. individual, social, and environmental responsibility.

The Assessment Process


  • Assessment of the General Education Program is executed by the General Education Assessment Committee (GEAC) under the direction of the General Education Committee (GEC). The University Assessment Coordinator provides consultation and technical assistance throughout.
  • Assessment operates on a two-year cycle.
    • The biennium begins on even-numbered years.
    • Each course within the General Education Program must be assessed at least once within each biennium. Course assessment is not required if
      • the course is not offered at any time during the biennium OR
      • GEC has granted a waiver that exempts the course from assessment for the biennium. Departments and Programs must apply for exemption.
  • GEC analyzes relevant data and makes modifications to the program. The committee utilizes all available data streams including
    • The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
    • The results of the General Education Assessment process

Major Steps to the Course Embedded Assessment Process

  1. Assessment Planning Survey: Due during the spring before the start of a new assessment cycle (in even years). For each course, the offering department completes a survey that indicates:
    1. the semesters during which the course will be offered
    2. the year when it will be assessed; and
    3. which of the six GE Program SLOs will be assessed.
      Note: Departments are free to assess each course during any semester and year they choose within the two-year cycle. Departments may also choose to assess more than once within the biennium.
      • The summary of the GE Assessment Survey is submitted to GEAC, and accepted if complete.
      • GEC will send Assessment Plan Survey results back to the Chairs for review one year after their submission. Any changes should be noted on a revised GE Assessment Plan Survey and returned to GEC/GEAC. If the revision results in a Department or Program becoming non-compliant with any GE Assessment Policies, a waiver must be requested from GEC.
  2. Assessment Plan (Task & Rubric):
    1. Due by October 1of the academic year of assessment
    2. The department writes a course-specific SLO that aligns with one of the six GE SLOs.
    3. The department develops an assessment task to assess the course-specific SLO.
    4. The department develops an assessment rubric to classify all students in all sections of the course with respect to the course-specific SLO, based on their performance on the task into five levels of performance (exemplary, proficient/more than satisfactory, competent/satisfactory, underdeveloped/less than satisfactory, unsatisfactory). For assessment rubrics which will require a great deal of time to evaluate, classifying the performance of a random subsample of students may be appropriate; this approach should be described in detail in the Assessment Plan (Task & Rubric).
    5. These items are documented for purposes of General Education Program Assessment by submission to GEAC on the Assessment Plan (Task & Rubric).GEAC must review and approve the Assessment Plan (Task & Rubric) prior to the implementation of the assessment.
  3. Assessment Findings (Results) and Operational Plan (Action Steps):
    1. Due by July 1of the academic year of assessment
    2. The department assigns the task to all students in all sections of the course.
    3. The department uses the rubric to classify students' performance on the task.
    4. The department analyzes the results and indicates whether changes to curricula, pedagogy, assessment task, or assessment rubric are warranted.
    5. These items are documented for purposes of General Education Program Assessment by submission to GEAC in Taskstream in the Assessment Findings (Results)and Operational Plan (Action Steps) areas
  4. Status Report (Update on Actions):
    1. Due by July 1 the year following the Assessment Findings (Results)and Operational Plan (Action Steps) submission
    2. The department documents any changes that were actually made to curricula, pedagogy, assessment task or assessment rubric. This Status Report (Update on Actions)must directly address the analysis and action included on Assessment Findings (Results) and Operational Plan (Action Steps) submissions.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • General Education Committee. GEC coordinates the General Education Program and all policies related to program level assessment. The General Education Committee uses assessment data when fulfilling its obligation to regularly review the program. (refer to Faculty Senate By-Laws, Part II, Section J)
  • General Education Assessment Committee. GEAC reports to GEC and executes the assessment policies established by GE. (refer to Faculty Senate By-Laws, Part II, Section I)
  • Departments/Programs. Departments and Programs are responsible for complying with the assessment policies established by GE. Departments/Programs are responsible for the design, implementation, and use of their assessment instruments.
  • University Assessment Coordinator. The Assessment Coordinator serves as consultant to both GE and GEAC. The Assessment Coordinator also serves as a resource for Departments seeking to comply with the assessment policies established by GE.