How do you know if a college education is worth it? How does college help you become a better communicator, writer and thinker? How do you measure the skills that you’ve learned?

Boston University College of General Studies assesses the success of the CGS education using rigorous tools and established best practices. Our results show students making leaps in their communication, analytical, critical thinking, and quantitative skills.

Recording the Student’s Learning Journey

All students at CGS capture their learning journey on one e-Portfolio site that stores their assignments, interdisciplinary reflections, and their final Capstone project. Students can see where they started and where they end up and have a place to showcase their best work.

Assessing Student Learning

Over the course of the two-year program at CGS, faculty members measure the effectiveness of our teaching methods by assessing a sample of CGS students each year. Using the e-Portfolio to gather a complete picture of the student’s work, faculty assess students’ progress in seven areas:

  • written and oral communication
  • gathering, analyzing and documenting information
  • awareness of specific historical, literary, and cultural contexts
  • rhetoric and aesthetic conventions
  • critical thinking and perspective-taking
  • integrative and applied learning
  • quantitative methods


Are CGS students building skills in communication, analysis, and critical thinking? The data say yes. Several extensive studies show that student improvement averages 7% in the first two years of college studies. In 2015, CGS students showed gains in the range of 22 to 32%, exceeding what researchers find in other general education and liberal arts programs.