National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

Occasional Paper 19 - All-in-One: Combining Grading, Course, Program, and General Education Outcomes Assessment


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Richman, W. A., & Ariovich, L. (2013, October). All-in-one: Combining grading, course, program, and general education outcomes assessment. (Occasional Paper No. 19). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment.


In NILOA's nineteenth occasional paper, authors W. Allen Richman and Laura Ariovich discuss Prince George's Community College's All-in-One system, designed to integrate course, program, and general education assessment in order to connect outcomes assessment with grading.

Paper Abstract

Pressed by the ongoing drive for accountability, most U.S. colleges and universities are conducting some form of student learning outcomes assessment. Yet because their efforts are fragmented, many institutions are stymied in their attempts to fully engage with assessment findings to improve student learning. Facing multiple and competing demands for evidence of student learning, institutions typically have created separate, coexisting assessment practices,  handling the assessment of courses, programs, and general education as isolated pieces rather than as interconnected components of the evaluation of students’ knowledge and skills. This fragmentation has made it hard to translate assessment findings into meaningful recommendations for faculty and students.

This paper describes the system developed and implemented by one institution, Prince George’s Community College (PGCC), in Largo, Maryland, to integrate assessment of course, program, and general education and to connect outcomes assessment with grading. PGCC’s assessment system—called “All-in-One”—allows faculty to capture students’ discrete skills by using rubrics to assess and grade key projects across program curricula and then entering the data into a centralized database. All-in-One requires a technology platform that incorporates rubrics for grading student work. It also needs careful, ongoing review of curricula to maintain connections among course, program, and general education learning outcomes. Crucially, faculty collaborate in All-in-One in developing and using common embedded assessments to ensure that all sections of a course are evaluated with a common rubric.

The All-in-One system has allowed PGCC to conduct assessment on a large scale and, at the same time, avoid duplicated efforts in the assessment of course, program, and general education learning outcomes. With All-in-One, assessment has become more valuable for students and more meaningful for faculty because the assessment data directly reflect what instructors do in the classroom and their own students’ performance. Furthermore, the All-in-One system has produced a robust data set, which makes it possible to track the development of individual student skills and aggregate data at the course, program, and institutional level. While discussing the overall positive impact for students, faculty, and the College, the paper also addresses adjustments and lessons learned along the way, including the need for administrative support to ensure college-wide participation in the assessment process, the importance of providing faculty with ongoing professional development, and the acknowledgement that the process becomes easier after the initial implementation.

Biographies of the Authors

Dr. W. Allen Richman is Interim Dean of the Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research and the Director of Outcomes Assessment & Institutional Effectiveness at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Maryland. He is responsible for all aspects of institutional effectiveness and assessment for all units on campus, including oversight of the collection, statistical analysis, summarization, and dissemination of data pertaining to nearly every aspect of the institution.

Dr. Richman's published work has been included in the Peer Review, Proceedings of the NEAIR 39th Annual Conference, Journal of Special Education Technology, The Journal of Research in Childhood Education, and others. He is a frequent conference presenter on topics related to assessment, accreditation, institutional effectiveness, and technology. Some of his presentations include those at the Annual Dream Conference, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the Assessment Institute in Indianapolis, the Association for Institutional Research and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Annual Meeting.

Dr. Richman earned his B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin and his M.A. and Ph.D. both in Developmental Psychology from the University of Kansas.

Laura Ariovich is currently a Research and Planning Analyst at Prince George’s Community College, in Largo, Maryland.  At PGCC, she applies her vast experience in qualitative and mixed methods research to conduct multi-layered assessment of curricular and co-curricular activities, including observation, surveys, and focus groups to capture students’ views, voices, and experiences. As a member of the College’s Assessment Team, she contributed to implementing All-in-One, the college-wide assessment of course, program, and general education learning outcomes.  She has also conducted numerous workshops and presentations to engage the College community in the discussion of research and assessment data. Prior to working at PGCC, Laura conducted survey research on work and family trajectories in Argentina and ethnographic research on union organizing and member activism in the U.S.  She was a recipient of a Fulbright Foreign Scholarship, has published two books, one as a sole author and one as a co-author, and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University.


Click here to see a compendium of NILOA General Education Assessment Resources.

Click here to read R. Stephen RiCharde's NILOA Guest Viewpoint, What to Consider When Selecting an Assessment Management System.

For more information on assessing student knolwedge and skills during or after a course, click on the image below to read Occasional Paper 2 from Trudy Banta, Merilee Griffin, Teresa Flateby, and Susan Kahn.

Banta, T., Griffin, M., Flateby, T., & Kahn, S. (2009, December). Three promising alternatives for assessing college students' knowledge and skills.