Core Assessment

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) recognizes that no single course, nor any six-hour course sequence, can guarantee college-level proficiency in the core intellectual competencies." Specifically, if a core" curriculum is to prepare students effectively, it is imperative that . . . intellectual competencies be included among the objectives of many individual core courses". The Coordinating Board therefore provides a framework of component areas for the core curriculum, assuring that these competencies are addressed across a spectrum of disciplines. The Palo Alto College Core Curriculum adheres to this framework. Consequently, the assessment of the core curriculum follows a broad, cross-curricular assessment of student learning outcomes.


Palo Alto College Faculty assess the effectiveness and quality of the core curriculum through the Program Review process, the Unit Planning Process, the assessment of Program Learning Outcomes for each program, the assessment of General Education Competencies as defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for the General Education Core Curriculum, and the assessment of an institution-wide student learning outcomes. Additionally, Palo Alto College participates in the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) every year from 2003 to 2007 and continues to administer this instrument every other year to get a measure of curriculum quality and effectiveness.


Palo Alto College's Core Curriculum's Exemplary Outcomes, Intellectual Competencies, and Core Perspectives are specified by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) on its on-line document "Core Curriculum Assumptions and Defining Characteristics". In addition to the on-going assessment of core courses provided by Program Review and Unit Planning, Palo Alto College Core Faculty reviewed core course outcomes and assessments and cross-walked these to the THECB's Exemplary Outcomes, Intellectual Competencies, and Core Perspectives Spring 2010. This cross-walk was one component whose results were highlighted in the Palo Alto College Institutional Core Curriculum Evaluation Report and the accompanying appendix files submitted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board April, 2010.