Faculty & Staff

GenEd Monitoring and Assessment

GenEd Learning Outcomes Repository

The IU Bloomington GenEd Learning Outcomes Repository (LOR) was developed to simplify the process of reporting and archiving course syllabi, learning outcomes, and assessment data for GenEd courses, in accordance with the BFC-mandated GenEd assessment plan. Instructors who teach GenEd courses can upload documents and assessment data to the site by following the instructions below.

When you log into the GenEd Learning Outcomes Repository, you will be presented with a list of all of your GenEd-approved classes (“The Class List”). Selecting a class from the list takes you to a “Class View” page, where you upload a syllabus and identify the GenEd learning outcomes that are addressed by your class. Next, you create an “Assignment Record,” which contains basic information about an assignment used to assess one or more GenEd learning outcomes; and for each GenEd learning outcome assessed by this assignment, you create an “Assessment Record,” including aggregate assessment data for that learning outcome. You may create additional Assignment Records, if you wish, and each Assignment Record can include several Assessment Records (if the assignment assesses for more than one GenEd learning outcome).

Instructors of GenEd courses may visit the GenEd Learning Outcomes Repository at

For more information about using LOR, see GenEd Learning Outcomes Repository.

Learning Outcomes Assessment

Assessment of student learning begins with the instructor asking three basic questions:

  • "What do I want my students to learn?"
  • "How do I know if my students are learning what I want them to learn?"
  • "How can I help my students learn better what I want them to learn?"

Every instructor considers these questions when planning a course. Learning outcomes assessment is simply a way to formalize this basic component of teaching. By answering the first question—“What do I want my students to learn?”—the instructor is identifying the broad learning goals for the course. By asking the question in a somewhat different way—“What should my students be able to do after taking this course?”—the instructor is taking the first step toward identifying measurable student learning outcomes.

The process of learning outcomes assessment is often depicted as a loop. Here’s a concise version:

  1. identify learning outcomes
  2. select method(s) of assessment
  3. assess learning outcomes
  4. collect assessment data
  5. interpret assessment data
  6. consider and revise learning outcomes, methods of assessment, methods of instruction, and plan for future assessment.

Taking what we have learned from the one round of assessment and applying that to how and what we assess (and how and what we teach) the next time around is commonly referred to as “closing the loop.” Thus, learning assessment is an ongoing, cyclical process, and each round of assessment ends with reflection on lessons learned and revision of the plan for instruction and assessment.

General Education Assessment at IU Bloomington

Every course has its own learning outcomes. Courses that are part of the IU Bloomington General Education curriculum include a wide variety of student learning outcomes, some of which are course-specific and not directly related to the GenEd Program; but each course that has been approved to carry GenEd credit was approved with the understanding that every offering of the course would address some of the GenEd Learning Outcomes in the area for which the course was approved. A course approved for IUB GenEd A&H credit, for example, is expected to address most (though not necessarily all) of the A&H learning outcomes (see GenEd Learning Outcomes).

When the IUB General Education Program was created, the Bloomington Faculty Council charged the IUB General Education Committee (GEC) with instituting a process for ongoing assessment of the GenEd Program. To facilitate this process, the GEC defined learning outcomes for each of the Common Ground categories (English Composition, Mathematical Modeling, Arts and Humanities, Social and Historical Studies, Natural and Mathematical Sciences, World Languages and Cultures) and formed the General Education Monitoring Subcommittee (GEMS), which outlined a plan for the ongoing assessment of the GenEd Program.

Shared Responsibility for GenEd Assessment

In accordance with the GenEd assessment plan (see GEMS Policies and Procedures), the responsibility for ongoing assessment of the General Education Program is shared by departments, schools, instructors, and the General Education Monitoring Subcommittee (GEMS). Academic units (i.e., departments and schools) that offer IU Bloomington General Education Common Ground courses are responsible for

  • specifying the learning outcomes of their Common Ground courses
  • assessing the effectiveness of those courses in achieving the learning outcomes
  • ensuring the continued alignment of course learning outcomes with the relevant Common Ground learning outcomes.

Instructors of GenEd courses are responsible for

  • ensuring that both the course learning objectives and the GenEd learning outcomes addressed by the course are spelled out clearly in the course syllabus
  • providing GEMS with the syllabus for each GenEd-approved course
  • choosing at least one of the relevant GenEd Learning Outcome(s) to be assessed in the course
  • identifying one assignment that will be used to assess the chosen GenEd Learning Outcome(s)
  • creating a grading rubric for the specified assignment, indicating how the chosen GenEd Learning Outcome(s) will be assessed within the context of the specified assignment
  • providing GEMS with aggregate assessment data on that single assignment.

The General Education Monitoring Subcommittee (GEMS) is responsible for

  • monitoring the assessment of the GenEd curriculum
  • gathering assessment data from the academic units
  • ensuring the ongoing assessment of GenEd Learning Outcomes in all GenEd-approved courses
  • reporting on the effectiveness of the GenEd Program, both to the BFC and to the IUB community as a whole.

While the monitoring of GenEd-related student learning outcomes assessment is an integral part of the IUB General Education Program as defined by the Bloomington Faculty Council, it is also important to note that Indiana University’s accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission, requires the assessment of student learning outcomes in general education and the use of assessment data to improve student learning. (For more on the Higher Learning Commission criteria for accreditation, see Criteria for Accreditation and Core Components.) Thorough and ongoing assessment of the General Education Program is essential for maintaining our accreditation status.

The GEMS plan provides for a five-year phase in of GenEd assessment. Foundations courses (English Composition and Mathematical Modeling courses) were the first to institute GenEd assessment in 2011–12. Beginning in 2012–13, GEMS began monitoring the GenEd assessment of World Languages courses and World Cultures courses. Natural and Mathematical Sciences assessment began in 2013–14. Arts and Humanities assessment began in 2014–15, and Social and Historical Studies in 2015–16.

Guidance for Conducting Learning Outcomes Assessment

The IU Bloomington Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) is an excellent resource for those who are seeking guidance in defining and assessing learning outcomes. CITL staff are ready to provide assistance to instructors and departments as needed. If you have questions about the creation and use of learning outcomes, please don’t hesitate to contact them. Other helpful resources are listed below. For additional questions about the GenEd assessment process, please send email to

iRubric at IU Bloomington

iRubric—a powerful and flexible tool for creating and using rubrics to assess student learning outcomes—is now available in Oncourse for all instructors at IU Bloomington. iRubric works directly with the Oncourse Gradebook tool and provides an easy way for instructors to grade with a rubric. The software can be used for assessment in any course, but for instructors of GenEd-approved courses, iRubric offers an instructor with the opportunity to align a grading rubric with one or more GenEd Learning Outcomes, which can greatly simplify the reporting of aggregate GenEd assessment data.

For details on using iRubric for Oncourse, please visit the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. There you can find the IU Bloomington Quick Start Guide for iRubric, register for an iRubric training workshop, or arrange for a consultation.


Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning: Teaching Resources (

College of Arts and Sciences: Assessment Tools for Instructors (

Association of American Colleges and Universities: LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes ( and VALUE Rubrics (

Rcampus: iRubric (