General Education is the heart of student learning at VHCC and is tied to the College’s mission, values, and strategic goals. VHCC has developed student learning outcomes for each of its general education goals. Up through 2003-2004 the College used the Schoch-Tucker Assessment of General Education (STAGE) to assess its General Education program. In February 2000, the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education in the Commonwealth of Virginia called for the creation of a Quality Assurance Plan. What resulted was a plan to conduct assessment for general educational competencies in the areas of writing, information literacy, quantitative reasoning, scientific reasoning, critical thinking, and oral communication. These assessments include value-added testing on a rotating schedule. First-time freshman are tested in the Fall semester and graduates are tested in the Spring semester. The results of these core competency tests are analyzed by the VCCS assessment office and forwarded to each community college’s assessment office. VHCC’s Vice President for Instruction and Student Services reviews these reports with the Institutional Effectiveness Officer and recommendations are provided to the Deans for improvement in programs. In addition to assessing General Education competencies, these assessments are used to assess student learning in Transfer programs (see illustration above).
Faculty also complete a Curriculum Outcomes Matrix by discipline and program in order to map specific curricular courses for each of the general education goal areas. (See Institutional Effectiveness Handbook Appendix G - [pdf])