General Education Assessment

Illinois is committed to ensuring that its General Education goes through a rigorous assessment and quality assurance process. General Education is an integral element of the premier education that the University pledges to deliver to our students at Illinois. The University is unwavering in its commitment to continually refine our curriculum, drawing on the valuable feedback provided through our assessment processes.

Building on previous ad hoc assessment efforts, in 2021 the General Education Assessment Committee (GEAC) was charged as a standing committee to craft assessment strategies to systematically gauge the learning outcomes of students within the University’s General Education program.

General Education Learning Outcomes by Category

Initiated in spring 2019 through a dynamic process that engaged hundreds of faculty, staff, and students, the General Education learning outcomes are continuously updated and improved. Each of these outcomes has been mapped to one of the General Education program’s four overarching thematic outcomes, namely, Foundational Knowledge, Contextual Knowledge, Inquiry Skills, and Application Skills.

Thematic Outcomes

  • Foundational Knowledge: Students will be able to explain the fundamental concepts, theories, knowledge, and perspectives of a particular discipline.
  • Contextual Knowledge: Students will be able to analyze concepts, issues, or human experiences within or across contexts.
  • Inquiry Skills: Students will be able to use information or methods to investigate a question or problem and draw an interpretation.
  • Application Skills: Students will be able to communicate and apply subject matter knowledge to new contexts and problems.

To view the current learning outcomes and their thematic classifications, click through the categories below. To propose modifications or updates to the General Education learning outcomes, please fill out this form.

Natural Sciences Learning Outcomes

Quantitative Reasoning Learning Outcomes

Social & Behavioral Sciences Learning Outcomes

Course-embedded Assessment

Since its inception, the GEAC conducted pilot studies to identify flexible yet systematic processes to assess the diverse Gen Ed learning outcomes. The committee recommended a course-embedded assessment approach, where instructors assess student learning outcomes in their courses using rubrics crafted by the committee. These rubrics align with the Gen Ed learning outcomes and are intended to be implemented through learning management systems or compatible alternatives. The subsequent assessment data will be aggregated and analyzed in accordance with the four key thematic outcomes: foundational knowledge, contextual knowledge, inquiry skills, and application skills.

Provost’s Initiative on General Education Assessment

From Spring 2024 through Spring 2026, the General Education Assessment Committee will host the Provost’s Initiative on General Education Assessment (PIGEA). This initiative aims to support Gen Ed instructors in adopting course-embedded assessments and to foster the ongoing enhancement of the University’s assessment strategies and best practices.

General Education Assemblies on Assessment Topics

General Education Assemblies engage stakeholders in dialogues regarding various aspects of General Education. The following Assemblies focused on learning outcomes assessment:

In the 2019-2020 academic year, the General Education Assembly on Learning Outcomes convened faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students to develop learning outcomes for each general education category.

Starting in 2019 and continuing through 2021, these assemblies continued to gather faculty teaching in the newly established U.S. Minority Cultures category to review preliminary findings from ad hoc assessment projects and to discuss pedagogical strategies.   

In the past two academic years, the GEAC has held assemblies to update the university community on the progress of assessment efforts. These events also serve as a platform for General Education faculty to discuss the feasibility of the proposed assessment plans and express any concerns.