General Education Program

Frequently Asked Questions about GE Assessment

The below FAQ is intended to answer students' questions about their participation in the GE assessment process.

Q. What is General Education (GE)?

A. SUNY New Paltz’s General Education (GE) Program provides the foundation for your intellectual development. GE courses provide you with a broad knowledge base and essential communication skills and expose you to new perspectives, ways of thinking, arguing, and being. You can learn more here: 

Q. What is assessment?

A. Assessment is not a test and is not graded. It is a way to measure student learning. The General Education board uses assessment to gather information about what skills and knowledge students gain throughout their education. We want a bigger picture of your education than a single class or assignment, so assessment is designed to give you an opportunity to reflect and share what you have learned. 

Q. What is the purpose of assessment?

A. The purpose of assessment is to determine whether our students have mastered the content and skills of a liberal education. Assessment is a requirement for our university’s accreditation. Beyond these requirements, assessment helps faculty to gain information that they can use to improve their courses. 

Q. Why is my participation important?

A. Your participation is important for the university to gain helpful knowledge about student learning, and we hope that it will be a meaningful way for you to reflect on your education at New Paltz. 

Q. What if I did not take my GE classes at New Paltz?

A. It is important for us to learn about all the students who attend and graduate from SUNY New Paltz, not just students who took their GE classes here.   

Q. Why am I participating in assessment now? I took my GE class years ago!

A. The students in your class were chosen because you are near the end of your education at New Paltz. While the specific GE course you took planted the seeds for these skills and areas of knowledge, we hope that your other classes have enriched and encouraged them to grow throughout your education. 

Q. What if I don’t remember anything about my GE classes?

A. Assessment is not about measuring your recall of specific information.  We are more interested in broader capabilities, like your ability to analyze a piece of writing, provide historical context for an idea, or demonstrate your knowledge of presentation skills.

Q. Am I supposed to study or prepare for assessment?

A. No advance study or preparation is required.

Q. What happens to my essay or presentation after I submit it?

A. Faculty volunteers who teach in the GE category will evaluate student responses. This data is collected into a report for faculty and administrators. You will not be graded and your name will not be a part of the data that we gather.