General Education

College-level Competencies in General Education

The College made a decision in 1999 to form a sub-committee of the Institutional Effectiveness Committee for the purpose of establishing new general education learning goals/outcomes and creating an annual assessment and use of results process.  The committee began their work in late 1999 and the first pilot assessment was done in 2000. Annual assessment of general education outcomes has been conducted every year since 2000.  All reports are linked below.

The Committee

The General Education Committee consists of faculty and staff from a wide variety of disciplines. Many people from across the college have served on this committee over the years.  The members of the committee for the 2012-13 year and their disciplines are available here.

The committee began its work in 1999 by reviewing the old goal statements listed in the catalog and working with their departments to make revisions in the goal statements.  The committee made sure the goals/outcomes were:

  • Measuring what the faculty deemed important in the subject area
  • Broad enough in nature so as to be inclusive of all subject matter
  • Further operationally defined by specific disciplines
  • Measurable and benchmarked


The committee had to make several decisions in the early years and have revisited them several times. Some of those decisions were:

  1. Do we care only if graduates have these competencies or all our students who take the general education core courses?
  2. Do we want to measure these goals/outcomes in specific courses (where it makes sense) or across the curriculum?
  3. How often do we want to conduct assessments?
  4. How many students should be selected to participate?
  5. Do we want to use mostly embedded assessments in classrooms, create new assessments or use standardized tests?


The Decisions

Graduates or All Students

The committee felt that all students enrolling in general education courses should be assessed – whether they eventually graduated, transferred or stopped attending. Early on, the committee did an analysis of the top 25 highest enrolled courses at the College and found that all of them were included in the general education core – and – they accounted for approximately 35-40% of the total enrollment and FTE production of the College.  Because of the importance of these courses to the College’s enrollment, the decision was made to assess all students, not just graduates.

Additional assessments are also done during the program review process to capture student skills in upper division courses.

Specific Courses or Across the Curriculum

While the committee aspires to eventually asses some of the general education goals/outcomes across the curriculum, the decision was made to assess students in the courses where it made sense to assess them.   Enrollment data were analyzed and courses were selected based on student choice and enrollment (e.g. most all students selected Psychology 150, Sociology 210 and History 131 for their behavioral and social science requirement so those courses were selected for assessment.) See attached Table 2 with five years of enrollment numbers. Because CPCC offers anywhere from six to 116 sections of these specific courses, a random selection of at least ten sections is extracted each fall.  Faculty perform the designated assessments in each course, grading analysis are conducted in the spring, and the written report is completed in the summer.

How Often Do We Measure

The committee decided to conduct annual assessments.

How many Students Should Be Selected to Participate?

Because the college is large, random selection is used but numbers assessed have steadily grown over the years.  Class size has increased over the 11 year period and several content areas now assess everyone instead of the random selection.  When the committee conducted the first full assessment, 1,216 students were involved across all units.  During the 2009-10 year, 3,921 students were assessed. The average percent of students passing the general education assessments has increased from 72% to 79% (83% in some years).  See attached Table 3 for General Education sections selected for Fall 2011.

Embedded Assessments, New or Standardized Tests

Because the overall purpose of assessing learning outcomes is for faculty to evaluate and use results to improve the teaching and learning process, embedded assessments were selected where possible. Click here to view the assessments used in these subject areas.

The General Education Process

The general education assessment process is as follows:

  • Course sections are selected in the fall term.
  • The random selection always includes a variety of campus locations and distance education sections
  • Department liaisons distribute notification to appropriate faculty members of section selection
  • Assessments are collected in the fall
  • Assessments are graded and analyzed in the spring by faculty groups
  • Faculty discuss and report on strengths, weaknesses and strategies for improvement
  • The department liaisons develop the written report for their department
  • The written reports are collected and worked into a final report
  • Sample works are collected and placed in an institutional portfolio


Annual general education assessment reports are linked below.

2014-2015 Report on Assessment of General Education

2013-2014 Report on Assessment of General Education

2012-2013 Report on Assessment of General Education

2011-2012 Report on Assessment of General Education

2010-2011 Report on Assessment of General Education

2009-2010 Report on Assessment of General Education

2008-2009 Report on Assessment of General Education

2007-2008 Report on Assessment of General Education

2006-2007 Report on Assessment of General Education

2005-2006 Report on Assessment of General Education

2004-2005 Report on Assessment of General Education

2003-2004 Report on Assessment of General Education

2002-2003 Report on Assessment of General Education

2001-2002 Report on Assessment of General Education

Initial Report Assessment of Gen Ed at CPCC