General Education Assessment

General Education Assessment at Howard University


General education is a term used to describe a required set of courses or curriculum 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 judgements 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 assess 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 21 (HUGE 21), a faculty initiative that identified the skills and competencies a Howard graduate should have. While many of the HUGE 21 outcomes are assessed each semester through authentic 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 list of the seven core outcomes are listed below. A complete list of the HUGE 21 outcomes can be found here.

General Education Outcomes

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

A Howard graduate will be able to understand and evaluate problems and issues, gather relevant evidence, make appropriate assumptions and come to a logical conclusion or summary that is based on existing evidence and assumptions. With regard to problem solving, a Howard graduate will be able to define a problem identify strategies, propose hypotheses and solutions, evaluate potential alternative solutions, implement solutions and evaluate outcomes.

Written Communication

A Howard graduate will use varied writing technologies, texts, data, and images to develop and express ideas clearly in writing. The graduate will also write in a variety of genres and styles for diverse audiences through iterative experiences across the curriculum.

Oral Communication

A Howard graduate will speak competently and confidently to diverse audiences as well as listen to and analyze speeches and messages from others. The graduate will also effectively use various means, including technology and nonverbal language, to support his/her delivery.

Quantitative Literacy

A Howard graduate will read and interpret graphs and statistics, understand the relationships described in equations appropriate to his or her discipline, write some equations that accurately describe relations relevant to his or her discipline and perform accurate and pertinent computations to simplify equations or derive quantitative answers.

Information Literacy

A Howard graduate will recognize when there is a need for information and be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibly use and share that information for the problem at hand – whether this information is located or shared through printed, oral, electronic, digital or other media.

African American Diaspora Awareness

A Howard graduate will demonstrate an understanding of the various cultural, social, political, and economic forces and circumstances that have shaped the broad experiences of people of African descent (including the continent of African its global diaspora).  Graduates will also demonstrate an ability to apply research skills specific to their particular academic discipline to address some of the major problems arising out to circumstances of racial oppression that arose in the Western hemisphere.


A Howard graduate will be able to demonstrate a sound understanding of the nature and operation of technology systems; to demonstrate proficient use of technology relevant to their major area of study and general information gathering and analysis; to apply strategies for identifying and solving routine hardware and software problems that occur during everyday use; to understand the ethical, legal, cultural and societal issues related to technology and consequences of misuse; to practice responsible use of technology systems information and software relevant to information gathering, analysis and their area of study; and have positive attitudes toward technology uses that support lifelong learning, collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity.

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