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Skidmore College
Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment at Skidmore College

Our major is regularly reviewed for accreditation. Won't that meet the need to assess general education or the major?

To answer that question, you have to determine whether your accreditation review requires that you assess actual student learning. If you do assess student learning for the major program, then it does meet what is expected when we assess our academic programs. Regarding general education, however, the issue then is whether your accreditation and assessment of the major also assesses general education competencies or learning outcomes. For example, do you assess your students' ability to write or solve problems or use technology as part of their learning? If you do, then your assessment of the major may indeed be a way to assess general education.

Then our question becomes: what of the other majors? Do they also assess general education competencies or learning outcomes? If some majors do and others do not, then our challenge becomes: how do we assess general education learning outcomes in a way that assures us that we are somehow assessing general education learning outcomes for all of our students? And if different majors assess general education in differing ways, does the total picture that such assessments give us enable us to learn what we want to learn about the effectiveness of our general education efforts?

If we can answer yes to that last question, then, yes, accreditation reviews can serve to assess general education learning outcomes.