Student Learning Outcomes & Assessment

General Education Outcomes and Assessment

General education is a term used to describe a required set of courses or curricula at an institution of higher learning. This set of courses or curriculum varies from institution to institution. At their core, all general education programs seek to introduce students to a wide variety of disciplines in an attempt to prepare them to meet personal, academic, and career challenges. Indeed, it is the goal of general education programs to introduce and develop skills that will allow students to be successful while they are at the institution and throughout their lifetime after they graduate. The purpose of the Howard University general education program is threefold and aligns with Standard III of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) by:

  1. offering students a general education curriculum that is sufficient in scope to draw them to new areas of intellectual experience,
  2. preparing students to make well-reasoned judgments both within and outside their academic field,
  3. and offering students a curriculum wherein they can acquire and demonstrate essential 21st-century skills.

Howard University assesses seven general education outcomes through the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (IRA) in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Studies (OUS). These seven outcomes are all represented in Howard University General Education Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs), the skills and competencies a Howard graduate should possess. While many of these outcomes are assessed each semester through assessment opportunities across the disciplines, IRA also gathers data to conduct broader assessments of targeted outcomes across the undergraduate curriculum. These assessments come in a variety of forms including indirect and direct measures. A complete list of the General Education ELOs and the process behind their development can be found at the Office of General Education.

Accreditation and Assessment

Many academic units at Howard University rely on external accreditation; these accreditor standards should inform their assessment outcomes. Some examples of accreditation bodies include: the American Bar Association (ABA), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the Liasion Committee on Medical Education (LCME), among others. For more information, visit Discipline Specific Accreditation.


Howard Strategic Plan Pillars and Assessment

Many non-academic units at Howard University still shape student learning outcomes as outlined by Standard III of MSCHE. In addition to the ELOs outlined above, these units might incorporate the five pillars of the Howard University Strategic Plan into their assessment. 

Howard Forward (2019-2014) was articulated to drive a culture of continuous improvement and create an environment that connects employees to Howard University’s mission and reinforces the importance of focusing on strategy and measurable objectives which are rewarded with success. The five pillars and the process behind their development can be found in the Howard Forward Strategic Plan

General Education Reports

Reports on general education assessment at Howard University are created by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (IRA) throughout the academic year. The data represented in the reports comes from a variety of areas that interface directly with the general education program at the university. Both quantitative (direct and indirect measures) and qualitative data of student learning provide a balanced, holistic view of student learning outcomes assessment at the institution. 

General Education Reports