3.5.1 General Education

The institution identifies college-level general education competencies and the extent to which students have attained them.


JUDGMENT: Compliant


Southwest Texas Junior College identifies college-level general education competencies and the extent to which students have attained them. General education competencies are embedded in courses and assessed directly and indirectly. SWTJC faculty have primary responsibility for developing and implementing assessment plans and for evaluating results.

Identifies College-Level General Educational Competencies

The fundamental general education competencies for SWTJC, and all Texas community colleges, were guided from 1999 through the 2013-14 academic year by standards developed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The THECB document Core Curriculum: Assumptions and Defining Characteristics outlines basic general education intellectual competencies and their characteristics. This document specifies the “defining characteristics” tied to the basic competencies of reading, writing, speaking, listening, critical thinking, and computer literacy.

Describing the Extent to Which Students Have Attained Gen Ed Competencies

The table below indicates the on-going assessment of the mastery level of students from their participation in a variety of SWTJC courses. A complete listing of eligible courses from which the outcome measures below were derived is available on the SWTJC “Institutional Manager."

SWTJC identifies the extent to which students have attained general education competencies using end of course exams and common finals aligned with those competencies. Student attainment of general education competencies is recorded in a proprietary assessment database owned by SWTJC and used in assessment and review of SWTJC programs and services. 

Program Outcomes Five-Year Assessment Report

The table below indicates the general education competencies assessed by the ETS “Proficiency Profile” for SWTJC students taking the assessment in 2014. The ETS “Proficiency Profile” is a nationally normed gauge of general education outcomes.

ETS Proficiency Profile

Comparing the “mean” column figures to the “50th Percentile” column figures reveals that the tested SWTJC graduates consistently scored at the 50th percentile. Examination of the 2008, 2010, and 2012 ETS “Proficiency Profile” results for SWTJC students indicates similar consistency.

Continuing Assessment of General Education Competencies

Southwest Texas Junior College faculty and Institutional Effectiveness staff are committed to the systematic and consistent assessment of students’ general education competency levels. The ETS “Proficiency Profile” will continue to be used as a standardized method of such assessment. Likewise, SWTJC will continue to utilize common final exams in selected courses to assess students’ level of attainment with respect to general education competencies.

With the advent in fall 2014 of a new set of General Education competencies provided by Texas legislative mandate, SWTJC has developed an additional assessment of those competencies. Faculty have created student learning experiences which produce student artifacts (e.g., essays, projects, speeches) which will be evaluated in “assessment summits” held twice per year. SWTJC faculty and staff have chosen the Association of American College and Universities (AAC&U) VALUE rubrics to assess the student-produced artifacts. The VALUE rubrics were developed as part of the AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. The VALUE rubrics were created by teams of college faculty and other educational professionals and were tested nationally before release for widespread use.

Because Fall 2014 was the first semester for the new Core curriculum to be put into effect, the initial collection of student artifacts has only just been assessed. Thus, no results are available to share at the time of this writing. SWTJC faculty and staff will use the initial assessment to create a baseline against which future assessments will be measured.


THECB Core Curriculum: Assumptions and Defining Characteristics
SWTJC Program Outcomes
SWTJC ETS Proficiency Profile
SWTJC Core Matrix
Texas Administrative Code 4.28: Core Curriculum
SWTJC Civic Engagement Value Rubric


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