CA1 Assessment and Learning Outcomes

Introduction and Criteria (Updated Spring 2013)

Arts and Humanities courses should provide a broad vision of artistic and humanistic themes. Guided by trained and experienced artists, designers, musicians, playwrights, actors, writers and scholars, courses in Content Area 1 enable students to explore their place within the larger world so that they, as informed citizens, may participate more fully in the rich diversity of human values and practices.  Education in the arts and humanities challenges students by introducing them to ideas rooted in evaluation, analysis, creative thought, ambiguity, and knowledge framed by process, context and experience.

The broadly-based Content Area 1 category of Arts and Humanities includes  study in many different aspects of human endeavor. In areas traditionally included within the Arts , students  explore modes of aesthetic, historical and social expression and inquiry in the visual arts, multimedia arts, the dramatic arts, music and/or analytical and creative forms of writing. Students come to appreciate diverse expressive forms, such as cultural or symbolic representations, belief systems, and/or communicative practices, and how they may change over time. In areas traditionally included within the Humanities, students engage in modes of inquiry relating to literature, history, philosophy, communication, theology or culture.

Courses appropriate to this category introduce students to and engage them in at least one of the following:

  • Investigations and historical/critical analyses of human experience;
  • Inquiries into philosophical and/or political theory;
  • Investigations into cultural or symbolic representation as an explicit subject of study;
  • Comprehension and appreciation of written, visual, multi-modal and/or performing art forms;
  • Creation or reenactment of artistic works culminating in individual or group publication, production or performance.

Courses bearing 3 or more credits in this category must be supplemented by written, oral and/or performative analysis or criticism.

Learning Goals

Learning Goals specify what students should know after the completion of two courses in the Arts and Humanities Content Area. The learning goals are derived from the criteria of Content Area 1 courses (CA-1).

  • Through reading, writing and discussion students will reflect upon aesthetic, performative and humanistic values in the arts and the humanities.
  • Students will learn how to access, and critically evaluate works relevant to the Arts and the Humanities.
  • Students will learn how to understand the local and global dimensions of the Arts and Humanities in historical and contemporary contexts.
  • Students will appreciate diverse expressive forms, cultural traditions, belief systems, and/or communicative practices.
  • Students will learn how to engage with imaginative and creative endeavors in their daily lives.

Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are assessable and/or demonstrable student achievements and abilities gained upon completion of the CA1 requirements. These are measurable reflections of the content area’s learning goals.

Students will be able to:

Recognize arts and humanities works as expressions of individual and human values within diverse historical and social contexts; Respond critically to works in the Arts and Humanities with regard to form, structure, performative and aesthetic qualities:

  • Identify and analyze similarities, differences, and interrelationships among the Arts and Humanities;
  • Apply appropriate vocabulary and concepts for the description and analysis of artistic, literary, historical, socio-political and philosophical works;
  • Explain how artistic and literary works from past and present societies are individual expressions of socio-cultural and historical philosophical forces;
  • Engage in the production and/or re-creation of works of arts to articulate their understanding of creative processes;
  • Articulate how critical and creative thinking, expressive forms, traditions, belief systems, or communicative practices become relevant to their lives.

Assessment Tools

Examples of tools that can be used to assess basic learning goals and objectives for courses in the Arts and Humanities:

  • Problem-based learning activities
  • Portfolios, short and long-term projects, oral presentations and/or writing samples
  • Music, art and drama creation, performance or presentation
  • Formal or informal observations or performance assessments
  • Formal, informal, and research papers
  • Note-taking collections, reflective essays, journals
  • Case studies, student interviews and peer assessment


May 2013 Report
Appendix 2
Appendix 3
Appendix 4
Interview Summaries