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Our Ability-Based Curriculum

Our eight core abilities represent the very building blocks needed to create an effective and relevant learning experience. These abilities are the building blocks for learning and the foundation of “The Alverno Experience.” It’s what sets us – and you – apart from the crowd.

At any good liberal arts college, you’ll complete a rigorous core curriculum plus a comprehensive range of courses for your major and minor. But at Alverno College, we expect more.

As an Alverno student, you also must demonstrate the mastery of eight abilities – Communication, Analysis, Problem Solving, Valuing, Social Interaction, Developing a Global Perspective, Effective Citizenship and Aesthetic Engagement. It’s a distinctive approach that’s been proven to dramatically impact the lives of women who have graduated.

You are unique, and you learn in unique ways. Individualized learning is one reason we don't use standardized tests and traditional exams. The ability-based curriculum looks at the whole student, giving you opportunities to demonstrate learning as it applies in real life.

The reason ability-based education works is simple – it’s a model of the real world. It’s an effective and relevant learning experience that is valued by students, graduate schools and the professional world.

In every area of study, you’ll be expected to show evidence of learning. And you’ll have numerous opportunities to showcase your command of the eight core abilities; the same abilities needed for effectiveness in your work, family and community.

Assessments gauge your progress toward mastering the abilities. You’ll receive assessment feedback from instructors, working professionals and fellow students. You’ll even assess yourself.  Assessments are learning opportunities at Alverno, but they are also exhilarating, empowering and insightful.