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Benchmark Assessment Results





As our new General Education program rolled out in fall 2014, it was important to also have an assessment plan in place. The plan will allow us to assess the new Gen Ed program to ensure students are meeting benchmarks for student learning outcomes.

General Education assessment has three main goals:

  1. Make the assessment process meaningful and useful.
  2. Make the process of assessment as streamlined as possible for those involved.
  3. Engage faculty in the process to help support a culture of assessment on our campus.

What is the process by which General Education will be assessed?

Learning outcomes will be assessed on a staggered, rotating schedule. Each outcome will be assessed for two consecutive years, for the first five years of the plan, with two new outcomes rotated in each year.

Assessment tools for each outcome will be developed by faculty working groups. Working groups in the summer of 2014 developed tools for assessment of the Quantitative Literacy and Sustainability outcomes. Working groups will continue to meet each spring and summer until all tools are developed. Assessment tools may take the form of inventories, prompts, or other means deemed appropriate by the working group. Working groups will establish performance benchmarks for each tool as a part of the development process.

Five Year Assessment Schedule


  • Quantitative Literacy
  • Sustainability


  • Social Sciences
  • First Year Seminar
  • Quantitative Literacy
  • Sustainability


  • Humanities
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Social Sciences
  • First Year Seminar
  • Quantitative Literacy (if needed)
  • Sustainability (if needed)


  • Natural and Biologial Sciences
  • Global Culture
  • Humanitites
  • Ethnic Studies


  • Fine Arts
  • Capstone
  • Humanities
  • Ethnic Studies

How will the results of General Education assessment be used?

Assessment data and results will be provided to the Working Group to review and forward to the General Education Council (GEC) by the beginning of the following academic year. The GEC will use the data to evaluate the degree to which benchmarks are met. This information will inform continual revision of the General Education Program, and may take the form of expanding or changing the courses offered, providing targeted faculty development through the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, or other revisions suggested by the results of the assessment.

What will the assessment data tell us?

The data will tell us if students are meeting benchmarks that are set for each of the student learning outcomes. The data will also tell us if the student learning outcomes are appropriately written for the goals of the Gen Ed plan. Additionally, it will reflect whether a given course is covering content or skills needed for it to successfully be included in the Gen Ed program.

What are the benchmarks for the Student Learning Outcomes?

We have set an overall benchmark goal of 85% of or each learning outcome. A student who receives an accomplished, or competent, mark for assessment 75% of the time is considered to meet that learning outcome. This means that our goal is for 85% of our students to meet the standard benchmark 75% or more of the time.

How can we assure the data is meaningful and useful?

The Working Groups will norm assessment tools and methods to insure that they both provide reliable data, and that they are appropriately written for use by faculty. Each of the areas of the Gen Ed program will be assessed for at least two years (four semesters) on their first time around in order to assure the tools are functioning correctly and the data is useful. The Working Groups will ask for faculty feedback on the assessment tools and methods so they may fine - tuned to best meet the needs of both the faculty who are doing the assessment and the GEC.

Which courses and how many will be assessed each year?

Using the 10 year plan, the Director of Institutional Research will select courses in each of the areas being assessed in a given year. For areas in which students need to fulfill 3 Gen Ed credits we will assess three courses per semester (180 students per year), while in those areas that require 6 Gen Ed credits we will assess five courses per semester (300 students per year). The courses will be selected to include different delivery type and size courses.

How will faculty be involved in the process and why is it important?

The faculty will be involved in two ways. The Working Groups are comprised of faculty from different disciplines. The Working Groups will work in summer and spring to create common assessment tools or methods for each of the areas of the Gen Ed program. They will then work with resulting data and feedback to norm the tools and to make suggestions to the GEC. Faculty will also be involved through those courses selected for assessment. At the beginning of each semester, faculty whose courses have been chosen for Gen Ed assessment will receive an email with all of the details of the ssessment they’re being asked to perform, including information about the expectations and incentives. They will be given the option not to participate. If they decline another course/faculty will be chosen in their place.