Assessment of students’ learning in General Education programs presents special challenges. In contrast to assessment of majors, the outcomes of General Education are diffuse, pervasive, and expressed in every course a student takes across the entire institution. The General Education curriculum is the responsibility of faculty across the institution but often administered by a special office not directly tied to any academic department. Thus, assessment of General Education requires a certain institutional level of “systems thinking." AGLS has used this concept to prepare a Guide to Assessment and Program Review that many institutions have found to be helpful in planning and preparing for assessment of General Education.
Improving Learning in General Education:
An AGLS Guide to Assessment & Program Review
“Congratulations to AGLS for taking on the important work of improving student learning in general education.”
George R. Boggs, President and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges
“This small document will give excellent guidance to faculty members and academic administrators when they review their general education programs . . . .”
Jerry Gaff, Senior Scholar, Association of American Colleges & Universities
The Guide, as it is often referred, is grounded in the most current thinking regarding quality general education and student learning. General Education luminaries such as John Nichols, NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor at St. Joseph’s College; Rob Mauldin, AGLS President from 2002-2004; and Jerry Gaff, Senior Scholar at AAC&U, have led the writing and editing of the booklet. A host of experienced program administrators and faculty from two and four-year, private and public institutions have contributed to the writing, reviewing, and editing.
Improving Learning in General Education invites an institution to review its commitment to the principles of a student-centered, outcomes-and-assessment approach to general and liberal education. The Guide’s comprehensive set of continuous-quality-improvement questions and its supporting materials are intended to promote program coherence. The questions center on fundamental issues such as the connection between mission and general and liberal learning, and then ask users to consider how they actualize, judge, and improve their programs. These questions are sure to enable campus leaders to focus discussion on the essential principles and practices of quality programs.
During its annual conference, AGLS recognizes the recipients of the AGLS Award for the Improvement of General Education Exemplary Program Award. Award consideration will be based on a program’s use of the principles and practices described in The Guide. Institutions will receive their awards during a special ceremony, and they will be invited to present aspects of their program during the conference sessions. Learn more here.
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Improving Learning in General Education is the first of a planned series of AGLS publications addressing current general and liberal education issues; it is a product of the 2006 AGLS strategic planning session at the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College.
This page updated October 1, 2015