Office of Institutional Research
and Assessment
Wilson Hall, Room 512
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48309-4486
(248) 370-2387
fax: (248) 370-2973

General Education Assessment

Questions about General Education Assessment?  Contact:

Ongoing assessment is a valuable process for determining whether general education is meeting its program goals. From the results of assessment, important information is gained about how students benefit from general education and how program effectiveness can continue to be improved.

The General Education Committee is responsible for the assessment of OU’s General Education program. Department chairs are responsible for providing information regarding general education courses in their departments.

OU will continue its triennial review cycle for general education. OU’s General Education program emphasizes ten knowledge areas plus U.S diversity and a capstone. Throughout the undergraduate course of study, a student will be taught skills and mentored in experiences to develop these competencies. Faculty in each academic unit will define these competencies in terms of measurable objectives that can be assessed at the completion of the undergraduate experience. Any general education program must be developed in partnership with a plan to measure its effectiveness.

Each year, four courses in four of these areas will undergo review. In addition to the current review of syllabi, the new triennial review will include assessment of student performance on the general education learning outcomes and indirect assessment of the cross-cutting capacities (graduating senior survey). For more information about the assessment process and program review, see the Assessment abstract from the Proposal for the Renewal of General Education at Oakland University

To ensure continuous quality of the general education curriculum a complete program review will be conducted in 2009 (four years after inception) and every seven years thereafter (after two triennial cycles). The program review will look at course assessments and identify other areas of the program that could be improved, such as facilities, staffing, ratio of full to part-time faculty, class size, relationship to other programs, etc.
Forms and
Faculty Resources
General Education: Application Forms
General Education: Assessment Reports


The phrase “learning outcomes” describe what Oakland University expects students to know or be able to do after receiving instruction or engaging in a learning activity. The new general education program has three major parts: foundations, exploration and integration. Within these main divisions there are ten knowledge areas plus diversity and a capstone. There are two learning outcomes for each. The number of general education outcomes (2) that a course must cover has intentionally been kept small since it is expected instructors will also want to include additional course-specific learning outcomes.

Foundations of Knowledge Areas

Formal Reasoning
The student will demonstrate:

  • knowledge of one or more formal reasoning systems such as computer programming, mathematics, statistics, linguistics or logic
  • application of formal reasoning to read, understand, model and solve problems across a variety of applications

The student will demonstrate:

  • knowledge of the elements, writing processes, and organizing strategies for creating analytical and expository prose
  • effective rhetorical strategies appropriate to the topic, audience, context, and purpose

Knowledge Exploration Areas

The student will demonstrate:

  • knowledge of cultural or historic artistic traditions in visual, auditory, movement, theatrical, or cinematic art
  • knowledge of the role of art as critical commentary on society and as an aesthetic expression of experience

Foreign Language and Culture
The student will demonstrate:

  • knowledge of a foreign language and culture
  • knowledge of linguistic and cultural diversity and the contributions of such diversity to the global society

Global Perspective
The student will demonstrate:

  • knowledge of the environments, political systems, economies, societies and religions of one or more regions outside the United States and awareness of the transnational flow of goods, peoples, ideas and values
  • knowledge of the role that different cultural heritages, past and present, play in forming values in another part of the world, enabling the student to function within a more global context

The student will demonstrate:

  • knowledge of how literature is an expression of culture
  • knowledge of literary form

Natural Science and Technology
The student will demonstrate:

  • knowledge of major concepts from natural science or technology, including developing and testing of hypotheses; drawing conclusions; and reporting of findings through some laboratory experience or an effective substitute (Laboratory experiences are met by either a limited number of interactive experiences, collecting and interpreting raw data, or other effective experiences such as a virtual laboratory)
  • how to evaluate sources of information in science or technology

Social Science
The student will demonstrate:

  • knowledge of concepts, methods and theories designed to enhance understanding of human behavior and/or societies
  • application of concepts and theories to problems involving individuals, institutions, or nations

Western Civilization:
The student will demonstrate:

  • knowledge of the historical events and/or philosophical ideas of European or American culture
  • knowledge of how Western ideas or institutions have evolved over time

Integration Knowledge Areas

Capstone Experience
The student will demonstrate:

  • appropriate uses of a variety of methods of inquiry and a recognition of ethical considerations that arise
  • the ability to integrate the knowledge learned in general education and its relevance to the student’s life and career

Knowledge Applications
The student will demonstrate:

  • how knowledge in a field outside of the student’s major can be evaluated and applied to solve problems across a range of applications
  • knowledge of the personal, professional, ethical, and societal implications of these applications

Diversity Area

U.S. Diversity
The student will:

  • demonstrate knowledge of how diverse value systems and societal structures are influenced by at least two of the following: race, gender, ethnicity
  • identify major challenges and issues these raise in society
Assessment Schedule

General Education Assessment Schedule (subject to change)