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Core Assessment Program

Beginning in Fall, 2014, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) required all Texas universities to adopt and assess the six Texas Core Curriculum Objectives which are:

  1. Critical Thinking Skills (CT): To include creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information.
  2. Communication Skills (COM): To include effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral and visual communication.
  3. Empirical and Quantitative Skills (EQS): To include the manipulation and analysis of numerical data or observable facts resulting in informed conclusions.
  4. Teamwork (TW): To include the ability to consider different points of view and to work effectively with others to support a shared purpose or goal.
  5. Social Responsibility (SR): To include intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national and global communities.
  6. Personal Responsibility (PR): To include the ability to connect choices, actions, and consequences to ethical decision-making.

The THECB requires that these core objectives be integrated into core curriculum courses offered at the University of Houston-Downtown. No single course is required to address all six core objectives; the core objectives assigned to each core curriculum course correlate with that course's assigned Foundational Component Area.

The university was also required to translate the Core Objectives into learning outcomes and to construct a comprehensive assessment model to measure the effectiveness of the Core in achieving the Core Curriculum Objectives. The project was initially overseen by the Core Assessment Committee (CAC), a task force appointed by the University Curriculum Committee. The result was an assessment plan which included seven learning outcomes.

The direct measures of student learning for all Core outcomes is a rubric-based evaluation of "Signature Assignments" that are aligned with the AAC&U VALUE rubrics. UHD faculty from throughout the university have revised these AAC&U rubrics on several occasions to ensure that they meet the needs of their respective disciplines, departments, and programs.

Once the assessment model was complete, the General Education Committee, assumed responsibility for the ongoing implementation of the Core Assessment Program and the rubrics listed below are used in evaluation sessions which occur twice annually; once in January to evaluate student work produced in the previous fall semester and again in May to assess student work produced in the spring

Critical Thinking

All courses in the core, including seminar courses, are responsible for critical thinking.

Critical Thinking Rubrics

Communication - Written

All courses in the core including seminar courses are responsible for written communication.

Written Communication Rubric

Communication - Visual

All courses in the core are responsible for Communication. Charts, graphs, diagrams, models, concept maps, PowerPoint slides and illustrations are just a few examples that fall into the category of visual communication.

Visual Communication Rubric

Communication - Oral

All courses in the core except those in the Social & Behavioral Sciences are responsible for oral communication.

Oral Communication Rubric

Quantitative and Empirical Reasoning

Courses in Mathematics, Life & Physical Sciences and Social & Behavioral Sciences, including seminar courses in these bands, are responsible for quantitative and empirical reasoning.

Quantitative & Empirical Reasoning Rubric


Core courses in Written & Oral Communication, Life & Physical Sciences, and Creative Arts, including seminar courses in these bands, are responsible for teamwork.

Teamwork Rubric

Personal Responsibility

Written & Oral Communication, Language, Philosophy & Culture, American History and Government, including seminar courses in these bands, are responsible for personal responsibility.

Personal Responsibility Rubric

Social Responsibility

Language, Philosophy & Culture, Creative Arts, American History, Government, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, and seminar courses in these bands, are responsible for social responsibility.

Social Responsibility Rubric