SCHEV Competency Areas


The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia Policy on Student Learning Assessment and Quality in Undergraduate Education

(Approved by Council action July 18, 2017)

This policy focuses on core competencies that are critical to the success of all Virginia undergraduates, regardless of their field of study or which institution they attend. The Council recognizes that all Virginia public institutions are required to conduct comprehensive assessments of their educational programs in order to maintain their accreditation with regional and specialized accrediting agencies. As accrediting agencies and Council share a goal to ensure the quality and effectiveness of postsecondary education, institutions are encouraged to optimize their assessment efforts by integrating assessment activities being done in fulfillment of each agency’s requirements.

The University of Mary Washington conducts assessment on the four required competency areas (Written Communication, Quantitative Reasoning, Critical Thinking, and Civic Engagement), as well as two of our own institutional priorities that reflect internal goals for student learning (Digital Fluency and Oral Communication). There is a rotating cycle of reporting, with two competencies reported each year.


Written Communication:

The ability to subject one’s own and others’ ideas, arguments, assumptions, and evidence to careful and logical scrutiny in order to make an informed judgment, draw a sound conclusion, or solve a problem.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate satisfactory knowledge of the varying strategies to convey arguments, main ideas and support/evidence.
  • Students will demonstrate satisfactory knowledge of the varying patterns of composition organization and development.
  • Students will demonstrate satisfactory knowledge of the audience, the role of the writer, and rhetorical strategies.
  • Students will demonstrate satisfactory knowledge of writing conventions and correctness.
  • Students will understand the process of editing and revising their written work.

SCHEV Written Communication Report 2019


Oral Communication:

The ability to communicate effective oral messages in a variety of settings, including public speaking, group discussion, and interpersonal communication; the ability to plan, organize, support, and deliver ideas and arguments, and utilize a variety of research techniques to synthesize information and support their messages..

Learning Outcomes

  • Delivery: The speaker spoke clearly and expressively, using appropriate articulation, pronunciation, volume, rate, and intonation.
  • Word Choice: The speaker demonstrated careful word choice appropriate to the audience and showed sensitivity in the use of language regarding gender, age, ethnicity, or sexual/affectional orientation.
  • Organization: The speaker presented ideas using an appropriate organizational structure that included an introduction, main points, transitions, and a conclusion.
  • Purpose: The speaker distinguished between different purposes and goals in communication (persuading, informing, etc.), and included a clear, specific, appropriate purpose for the speech.
  • Support: The speaker provided appropriate support material and developed the content of the message to enlighten the audience.

SCHEV Oral Communication Report 2019


Critical Thinking:

The ability to subject one’s own and others’ ideas, arguments, assumptions, and evidence to careful and logical scrutiny in order to make an informed judgment, draw a sound conclusion, or solve a problem.

Learning Outcomes

  • Accuracy: The speaker presented the issue in a manner that demonstrated clarity, precision, and consistency of thought.
  • Perspective: student can examine topic in balanced and comprehensive manner representing different points of view and convey the complexities and nuances of issues related to it.
  • Logic: Student can present arguments in a logical fashion showing how one point led to another until a reasonable conclusion could be reached
  • Fairness: student can exhibit a healthy skepticism of any assertion or claim until evidence sufficient to support the validity of said assertion or claim could be advanced.
  • Strategy: The speaker crafted a conclusion appropriate for the purpose of the speech.

SCHEV Critical Thinking Report 2019


Civic/Community Engagement:

An array of knowledge, abilities, values, attitudes, and behaviors that in combination allow individuals to contribute to the life of their communities. It includes course-based or extra-curricular efforts to identify and address issues of public or community concern and exploration of one’s role and responsibilities in society.

Learning Outcomes

  • Student connects and extends knowledge (facts, theories, etc.) from one’s own academic study/ field/ discipline to community engagement and to one’s own participation in community life, politics, and government.
  • Student provides evidence of experience in community-engagement activities and describes what the student has learned about themselves as it relates to a growing sense of public identity and commitment to public action.
  • Student demonstrates independent experience, accompanied by reflective insights or analysis about he aims and accomplishments of community action while making connections to other community issues.

SCHEV Civic Engagement Report 2020


Quantitative Reasoning:

The ability to manipulate, analyze, and/or evaluate numbers and numerical data. It may involve calculation and/or analysis and interpretation of quantitative information derived from existing databases or systematic observations, and may be based in a variety of disciplines, not limited to mathematics and the natural and physical sciences.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to produce and interpret quantitative information in various forms such as graphs, equations, diagrams, etc.
  • Students will use appropriate methodologies to draw valid conclusions based on quantitative information.
  • Students will be able to discern the validity and accuracy of an argument or conclusion derived from available numerical information.
  • Students will apply quantitative techniques to address multiple issues of contemporary significance in technology or society.

SCHEV Quantitative Reasoning Report 2021


Digital Fluency:

Digital fluency is the ability to consume and produce digital knowledge critically, ethically, and responsibly, as well as to adapt creatively to emerging technology.

Learning Outcomes

  • Student will successfully locate and critically evaluate information using the Internet, library databases, and other digital tools.
  • Student will safely, ethically, and effectively produces and exchanges information and ideas using digital tools.
  • Student will creatively adapt to emerging and evolving technology.

SCHEV Digital Fluency Report 2021