The Office of Assessment & Research assesses general education and core competencies in accordance with its Institutional Effectiveness Handbook and General Education Timeline. The Office uses both competency-based methodology to indicate student’s level of proficiency and value-added methodology to analyze pre- and post value-added in assessing general education competencies and student learning outcomes (SLO). The College follows the general education guidelines found in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) Task Force Report, the VCCS Policy Manual for Education Programs, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) guidelines, and approved by the VCCS Advisory Council of Presidents (ACOP).
The college has seven general education competencies: (1) Communication (oral and written), (2) Critical Thinking, (3) Information Literacy, (4) Quantitative Reasoning, (5) Scientific Reasoning, (6) Personal Development, and (7) Cultural and Social Understanding. Six of the above make up the Virginia Community Colleges’ core competencies: (1) Oral Communication, (2) Written Communication, (3) Critical Thinking, (4) Information Literacy, (5) Quantitative Reasoning, and (6) Scientific Reasoning.
General Education Curriculum Maps identify how each program integrates general education into its curriculum, Capstone Course Comparisons show how graduates can apply their general education skills, and Value-Added Comparisons show the student learning outcomes’ growth from when they first entered the college to when they graduate. The Shock-Tucker Assessment of General Education (STAGE Test 2011)( STAGE 2012 )is a test developed by IR staff members and faculty from various colleges within Virginia Community College System (VCCS) to evaluate annually all general education competencies. The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) is a national test which assesses general education proficiencies and comparisons with peer colleges and nationally.
Standardized core competency tests developed by James Madison University in conjunction with faculty within the Virginia Community College System are also used to evaluate student learning outcomes (SLO)as they relate to the six core competencies. The core competencies are assessed by the VCCS on a 6-year cycle.