Trends in General Education

Characteristics of Gen Ed ProgramsThe American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) surveyed chief academic officers at member institutions in 2015 to collect information related to learning outcomes, assessment, general education design, high-impact practices, and data tracking and goal setting around equity and quality learning. The AAC&U also conducted structured interviews with 14 of the CAOs, focusing particularly on those who were tracking data in at least some disaggregated ways.

The second of three planned reports, Recent Trends in General Education Design, Learning Outcomes, and Teaching Approaches,” highlights findings from the survey of respondents from across the full spectrum of public, private, two-year, and four-year institutions. Among the key findings:

  • While there is a measure of consensus on learning outcomes, more work is needed to help students understand outcomes.
  • High-impact educational practices offered widely but rarely are the required.
  • There is much room for improvement in the use of digital learning tools and strategies.
  • General education redesign should be a priority,
  • More attention should be given to integration and applied learning (as opposed to broad knowledge acquisition).

The full report, released in January 2016, may be found here:


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