National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment
- Given that approximately 50 to 70 percent of community college students require developmental math courses and only a third of those students actually complete them, the Mathways Project looks to offer an alternative way to ensure these students succeed. For example, the Mathways Project aligns math content to specific fields of study and teaches at an accelerated pace to help students stay on track.
- Faculty buy-in and support is key for outcomes-based education (OBE). Institutions looking to implement OBE policies should look to engage faculty and provide support; such as guidance during program reviews or facilitating conversations about learning outcomes.
- Colleges and Universities know more now than they ever did about student outcomes and the impact their degrees have on graduates’ lives. It is increasingly important to share the results and use them to improve policy.
- Tysen Kendig, vice president for communications at the University of Connecticut, answers several questions on outcomes assessment; specifically which metrics are overlooked by institutions, effective ways to demonstrate learning outcomes to different constituents, and how to create a distinct outcomes narrative for your institution.
- Rob Jenkins offers seven conditions which must exist in order for students to learn and discusses the ways teachers can provide them. Among these are awareness, motivation, engagement, and support.
- Alverno College is looking for institutions to attend the 39th Annual workshop held June 8-10, 2015. Attendees will learn about educational principles and practices, innovations, curricular implications, performance assessment, and the development of competencies.
- “This publication calls for a re-envisioning of general education with clear, purposeful pathways for all students, allowing them to actively demonstrate their learning through high-impact practices and teaching strategies that are transferable across disciplines, departments, institutions, and even state systems. It addresses how this general education framework helps to foster essential capacities for career, citizenship, and global engagement for today's diverse and mobile students.”
- David R. Anderson, president of St. Olaf College, offers a glimpse into the culture at his institution which drives St. Olaf College to not only continuously assess their students learning outcomes but to also make use of and publicly share the results.
- Jo Beld, vice president for mission and professor of political science at St. Olaf College, explores the various assessment strategies that institutions, with a special focus on Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), can utilize. She offers various questions for MSIs to ask themselves before beginning their assessment, an analysis of various assessment instruments, and advice on each approach.
- Jacksonville State College (JSU) is looking to hire an Assessment and Advisement Specialist. This position provides expertise and support to the college for assessment of student learning outcomes, use of results for continuous improvement, and improving academic advisement for students. The position closes June 01, 2015.
- Brian Mathews discusses the ways that Virginia Tech has made use of various library spaces in order to create learning environments for students. Through reimagining what the classroom can look like, they have made multi-purpose rooms that encourage collaboration between students and departments, increase creativity and inquiry, and help increase the ways teaching and learning occur.
- The General Education (GE) Pathways program developed at California State University at Chico is making its way through both California State University at Northridge and Pierce College. Modeled after AAC&U’s General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs), the GE Pathways allows students to develop a clearer path through their general education requirements and aid in the transfer process.
- John Ebersole, president of Excelsior College, shares four lessons learned by his online-only college to help students succeed. Among the lessons are to recognize learning in all its forms and lessen barriers to students, and to make courses as interactive as possible (e.g. animations, videos, interactive exercises) to keep students engaged.
- The new issue of the International Journal of ePortfolio (IJeP) (Volume 5, Number 1) is now available. Included in this issue are articles on the development and sustainability of ePortfolios in counselor education, the role of faculty in general education and ePortfolios, student perceptions of ePortfolio use, and more.
- As pedagogy changes to better engage students and create richer learning experiences, it is useful to consider pedagogical approaches that yield positive insight on how to teach certain groups of students. For example, a study led by Nilanjana Dasgupta at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst found that women feel less anxious when working in groups comprised of mostly women, and they were found to be less likely to speak up when the group is 50% or more male.
- Connect2Complete (C2C) is a model that integrates service-learning and peer advocacy into developmental education to better support underprepared students for college. Early implementation of C2C shows promising results, among them increased retention and persistence rates. The resource guide explains the C2C model, offers resources for implementation and evaluation of C2C, and includes samples of materials developed by other colleges using C2C.
- Northern Virginia Community College is reimagining its academic advising system with the help of a new online approach called GPS to Success. The new approach requires all first-year students to take entrance exams, meet with their advisor before classes begin, and attend orientation. In addition, the college is using an early intervention system known as SAILS to immediately alert counselors if students are struggling academically.
- Boston College used design thinking, an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving, to revamp their curriculum. While the process was brought forth by an outside consulting firm, faculty were still at the center. The fundamental aspects of the curriculum did not change, but two interesting new course tracks were added to the core which feature six-credit courses with lab sections and paired interdisciplinary seminars bound by a common topic.
- Judy Mortrude provides various key takeaways from new studies that confirm long-term impacts of Adult Basic Skills (ABS) programs. Among them are significant increases in long-term educational and economic outcomes, and an increase of overall GED attainment from 16% to 36%.
- The new issue of Peer Review titled Faculty Leadership for Integrative Liberal Learning is now available. Topics covered in this issue include faculty collaboration and community building, creating a culture beneficial for integrative learning, and a case from Bard College on integrative learning.
- Boston College used design thinking, an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving, to revamp their curriculum. While the process was brought forth by an outside consulting firm, faculty were still at the center. The fundamental aspects of the curriculum did not change, but two interesting new course tracks were added to the core which feature six-credit courses with lab sections and paired interdisciplinary seminars bound by a common topic.
The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence recognizes the continuous improvement and strength of community colleges across four domains: completion, labor market, learning, and equity. The 2015 winner is Santa Fe College which had a student transfer rate to a four-year institution double the national average. The report highlights the outcomes of Santa Fe College and the other finalists, and a description on how these colleges achieve excellence. An article on the Aspen Prize can be found in the Chronicle.
- Robert Kelchen analyzed the list of colleges facing financial scrutiny under three accountability measures: cohort default rates, financial responsibility scores, and heightened cash monitoring. After finding little overlap, Kelchen suggests that the U.S. Department of Education make public information on why and how colleges are subject to these measures. This would help prospective students and stakeholders make better informed decision regarding these institutions.
Findings of a NILOA report, Focused on What Matters: Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes at Minority-Serving Institutions, shed light on the issue that Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) are not adequately portrayed in the national picture when it comes to assessing student learning. Additional takeaways from the report are highlighted by the Penn Center for MSIs.
Over the past six years, the attainment rate of Americans with a college degree or credential has only increased by 2.1%. This moderate increase poses a challenge for Lumina Foundation and their goal of having at least a 60% college attainment-rate by the year 2025. In order to help reach their goal, Lumina will increase their focus on underrepresented students, on Americans who have attended college but did not attain a degree, and will include nondegree postsecondary certificates and credentials. Another article on this topic can be found here.
- At Odessa College, accountability is tailored so that faculty are in the driver’s seat. A couple of the key takeaways from Odessa College include using metrics that help predict what students need to succeed and creating a sense of urgency within the institution.
A new report, Not Just Where to Click: Teaching Students How to Think about Information by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), explores various ways to teach students about the nature of expertise, authority, and credibility, and provides practical ways to help students reflect on their beliefs, biases, and interpretations.
The American Enterprise Institute's Center on Higher Education Reform has released two reports on Competency-Based Education (CBE) focused on uncovering employers' perceptions on CBE and best practices for assessing CBE programs, respectively. In addition, Inside Higher Ed has released New Debates About Accountability, a collection of articles and opinion essays on accountability. There will be a webinar discussing New Debates April 29 at 1:00pm CST.
- Ashley A. Smith holds a Q&A with Thomas R. Bailey, Shanna S. Jaggars, and Davis Jenkins from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College and authors of Redesigning Community Colleges. Topics discussed include how guided pathways may impact students' ability to broaden their college experiences and how this plan fits within proposed free community college policies.
- Josipa Roksa and Richard Arum, authors of Aspiring Adults Adrift, discuss whether colleges are preparing students for smooth transitions into adulthood and not just whether a college degree is worth the cost. They find that many students advance through college without improving their critical thinking skills and students are devoting significantly less time to academic pursuits than in previous decades.
- Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA, urges campuses and administrators to increase the involvement of student affairs professionals in numerous activities, not just those related to national headlines. He explains the value that student affairs professionals have and the experiences they share that can advance campus efforts. Various examples are provided of colleges and universities where student affairs partnered creatively with other departments.
- Ithaka S+R, a nonprofit research organization, analyzed 12 studies that compared learning outcomes from face-to-face and online or hybrid courses. There were no significant differences between learning outcomes and the modes of delivery. Researchers suggest future studies focus on cost and long-term results (e.g. retention and graduation rates).
- Norm Jones and Harrison Kleiner, Utah State University, call for faculty-led reform in assessing students' career readiness. They describe their experience with the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) at Utah State University and the outcomes of their degrees – regardless of major – as producing students who are critical thinking citizens that communicate clearly and are equipped with the skills needed for today’s workplace.
- Congress is reassessing the accreditation process for the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. In essence, two proposals call for increased transparency in the process, different levels of accreditation, increased flexibility, and the establishment of new accreditation committees.
- Teachers and faculty should be aware of their learning outcomes in writing courses and appropriately tailor their assignments to fit those goals. A study found that students writing in blogs and journals took different risks in their writing, approached topics differently, and engaged in differing levels of reflection compared to essays.
- Birmingham Young University (BYU) found that students receive the same learning outcomes in flipped and non-flipped classrooms when students are engaged in Active Learning. This style of teaching calls for students to be active participants and construct their own knowledge, as opposed to just being passive receptors, in the learning process.
- Casey Fabris introduces various new teaching methods and technologies that create a new set of challenges for students with disabilities to overcome. Among these are flipped classrooms, online course readings, and the use of clickers. These can reduce participation and engagement by students with disabilities, negatively affect grades, and hamper instead of enhance their learning.
A new handbook by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) serves as a resource for faculty and administrators to design and assess program-level learning outcomes. The handbook includes tips, examples and case studies, and recommendations on methods for developing program-level learning outcomes and assessment.
- Innovations, changing student demographics, and increases in tuition have contributed to growing concerns over the quality of college teaching. This has led educators to adapt various tools and strategies to enhance their teaching. This positive restlessness, or ongoing efforts to continually improve, in the part of both educators and administrators has shown positive results, and can lead to substantial improvements.
- Brian Mathews discusses a teaching method of Tim Baird, Virginia Tech, who promotes intrinsic and self-regulated learning. Baird allowed his students to skip class three times during the semester to explore personal interests, and then present it to the class; a concept he called Pink Time. This would allow students to bring external experiences into the classroom, and hopefully take concepts learned in the classroom and apply them to everyday situations.
- A report by the U.S. Department of Education highlights numerous limitations and consequences associated with a society that has a significant percentage of low-skilled individuals. In addition, the report gives interrelated strategies to meet various goals, such as increasing access to higher education/occupational training and closing achievement gaps.
Anastasia Salter discusses Working Examples, a community website used for sharing and discussing educational projects as they progress in order to draw insights and questions about the process
The Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) at City University of New York has resulted in numerous positive gains for community college students. Transfer rates, increased enrollment, three year graduation rates, and lowered cost per degree are some of the results from this study. Another article on this topic can be found in Inside Higher Ed.
- John Ebersole sees the glass half full when it comes to higher education accountability. He acknowledges the various issues with the quality of instruction, communicating measurable outcomes, and financial aid, and also draws attention to the improvements being made in these areas.
- Eugene Kaufman needs to collect 385 opinions of adults who either educate, coach, or train adults in some organizational setting. The survey, which takes less than 8 minutes to complete, asks participants to compare teaching methods when it comes to training adults. Please take the time to give your opinion. Survey closes on April 1, 2015.
ACE released two papers at an event co-hosted with Blackboard earlier this week. The first paper focuses on credit for prior learning (CPL) and addresses the barriers and successful strategies for incorporating CPL. The second paper focuses on competency-based education (CBE) and highlights the challenges associated with developing a program that moves away from the credit-hour standard.
- A new report by the Penn GSE Center for MSIs can serve as a very complete resource for researchers hoping to study Minority-Serving Institutions. The report offers various suggestions on research topics, tips on how to formulate a research question, and things to keep in mind when considering research methods and where to publish the findings.
- The application deadline for the ACRL program "Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success" (AiA), has been extended to 5 p.m. Central, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. The third year of AiA gives participants the opportunity to explore how their library contributes to student success during this 14-month program.
- The Division of Student Affairs at the University of Illinois is seeking candidates for a full-time Assessment Coordinator position. Please follow the link for further details on position requirements and desired qualifications. The application deadline is March 10.
- Through support from the Lumina Foundation, CAEL is providing training for staff and faculty at 15-20 institutions (5-7 per year) to help them understand competency-based education (CBE) and decide whether to commit to building a program. CAEL is currently looking for 6-7 institutions to participate in the final cohort. They are seeking institutions in the earliest stages of investigating the benefits and challenges associated with CBE. Additional technical assistance will be provided to a subset of the institutions to begin the process of implementing CBE and assessment. The application deadline is March 20.
- Study abroad programs should be refocused towards promoting student learning and should expand to include more students without sacrificing quality. Elizabeth Redden states that the majority of students participate in short-term study abroad programs that affect the rest of their semester coursework. Instead, these programs should be a semester to a full academic year and student learning gains should be assessed.
- MBAE's new report states that the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test is no longer a good indicator for students' college readiness. Instead, the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) seems to be a better alternative, but has yet to be fully implemented. Similar to other states, Massachusetts will use both measures over the next two years to collect data and compare the two assessment tools.
Only 40% of professors use, or are interested in using, innovative teaching techniques/technology in the classroom; with only half of them actually implementing such innovations. The report goes on to note that flipped classrooms and free course content were among the most-adopted approaches.
Community Colleges in Pennsylvania are immersed in the state's Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) initiative. This allows the community colleges to issue credit for students' past educational, work, and life experiences. Another article on this topic which addresses some of the concerns over this program can be found here.
- High schools are receiving more freedom in the ways they evaluate students' college readiness. Eighteen states have aligned graduation requirements for high school students to meet college entrance criteria and 40 states now have policies in place to allow credit to be awarded for personal and work experience. In addition, portfolios, writing samples, and other assessment measures are being used to communicate student learning.
- This report from AAC&U focuses on how VALUE has helped change student learning outcomes assessment. "Author Daniel Sullivan tells us how VALUE relates to the larger aims of a high-quality liberal education, to the capabilities employers seek and reward, and to the public policy pressures of our current environment."
- Nancy Hoffman discusses the benefits of including work-based activities in the learning process, specifically to emphasize career readiness. She gives an example of a program which partners with employers and unions to meet the needs of students and the economy. The report concludes by analyzing barriers and opportunities for deeper learning.
The latest issue of Change (Volume 47, Issue 1) is now available. Articles in this issue include A Better Way to Evaluate Undergraduate Learning by Carl Wieman, an interview with Tim White, Chancellor of California State University system, by Adrianna Kezar, and Do Students Really Learn from Experience? by Susan Ambrose and Laurie Poklop.
- David Gooblar discusses the ways teachers can incorporate active learning strategies into the classroom while diminishing student resistance. Two of the recommendations are that teachers should be explicit about the course design and vary their teaching approaches so that all students are engaged.
- Lee S. Bessette provides a list of faculty development blogs. These can serve as a resource for insights into the profession, teaching tips, best practices, and other advice.
- Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University, wants to prove that students are learning and gaining skills at Purdue. Purdue has used the CLA+ tool to conduct assessment and faculty use various methods to evaluate student learning in the classroom, but assessing the gains students make involves various challenges and requires an appropriate study design.
- Adeline Koh writes about a class activity which worked to better engage and teach students by focusing on "doing" rather than letting students be passive listeners. This activity also helped teach students how to navigate group dynamics, utilize various types of resources, and communication skills.
AAC&U sponsored a meeting Supporting Student Learning Through Holistic Faculty Evaluation. Colleges and universities introduced various assessment methods, such as Russell Sage College's new assessment tool that focuses its evaluations on the student's role in active learning.
From scholars at the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education presents a reframed conception and approach to student learning outcomes assessment. The authors explain why it is counterproductive to view collecting and using evidence of student accomplishment as primarily a compliance activity, and offers both a compelling rationale and practical advice for making student learning outcomes assessment more effective and efficient.
- The Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN), which is funded by Lumina Foundation and allows participants to share information on their experiences with competency-based programs, has added 15 new members- 13 institutions and 2 public university systems. Among them are the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Purdue University at West Lafayette, and the University of Texas system.
ACRL compiled the findings from the first year of Assessment in Action into a report noting promising and effective approaches that demonstrate the library's value to students' academic success. Among the findings were outcomes in student retention, persistence, GPA, and engagement.
- Tyton Partners, formerly known as Education Growth Advisors, has issued a new report outlining their "evidence of learning framework". One of the goals of this framework is to help university leaders identify areas of friction and opportunities for student advancement through higher education and into the employment sector.
Paul Fain discusses the results of the Carnegie Unit, a report from the Carnegie Foundation for the advancement of teaching, which considers an alternative way to measure student learning. The Carnegie Unit is based on competencies rather than the credit-hour system, and could improve learning in both high school and post-secondary education. An additional viewpoint on the Carnegie Unit can be found here.
- Colleen Flaherty talks about AAC&U's Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) initiative and its outcomes, specifically integrative learning. While it can be difficult for institutions and faculty to develop curricula around integrative learning, the goal is to provide knowledge and skills that students will need to adapt to new settings and solve complex problems.
- Santa Fe College, Amherst College, and Purdue University have won the 2015 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award recognizing the staff of an institution's library for programs delivering exemplary services and resources which promote their institution's mission. The ALA press release also provides additional information on the libraries and selection criteria.
A new study done by Hart Research Associates reveals that new college graduates often over-estimate their preparation for the work-force compared to the views of their employers. In addition, the study reveals key findings on the type of learning/skills acquisition that employers prefer and the areas they prioritize when evaluating new hires. Articles on this report can also be found in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.
- The Kettering Foundation, the National Issues Forum Institute, and Augsburg College created a forum to discuss how colleges should adapt to a post-recession world constantly changing due to technology and globalization. The key takeaway came from Byron P. White, vice president for university engagement and chief diversity officer at Cleveland State University, who said universities need to provide "skills-oriented learning infused with the liberal arts, with a heavy dose of real-world experience."
Data released by the Humanities Indicator Project reveal that more community college students are graduating with liberal arts degrees. In addition, more students are enrolling in humanities courses which equip them with an intellectual framework that allows students to compare and contrast different viewpoints and to attain critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance released Those Who Can, Teach; Evaluating Teaching and Learning Strategies in Ontario’s Universities, which offers nineteen recommendations to provincial governments and universities to improve the quality of teaching and education. The report calls for more teaching-focused faculty, support for various assessment and evaluation methods, and more tenured faculty.
Robert Talbert shares how specifications grading has worked in his computer science course, as well as how the assessment was carried out. A couple of takeaways were that students had to put forth their best effort and become engaged, and students were given the reigns over their grades by knowing exactly what requirements were needed to attain a certain letter grade. Another article on can be found here.
- This report from the Council for Aid to Education summarizes the performance of the 169 institutions who used the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus (CLA+) during the 2013-14 academic year. Overall, colleges and universities greatly contribute to student development in the areas of critical thinking, problem solving, and communication, but there is variation in these skills at the institutional level (derived from CLA+ scores).
- Design thinking turns the focus towards the users of a product/service and their needs in order to come up with solutions to real-world problems. Holly Morris and Greg Warman provide an overview on the various principles of design thinking, and how it has and can be used in higher education.
"Research about how students learn shows that teaching strategies that motivate and engage students will improve their learning. So how do students best learn science and engineering? Which teaching strategies are most effective in developing their knowledge and skills? And how can practitioners apply these strategies to their own courses or suggest new approaches within their departments or institutions? Reaching Students strives to answer these questions."
- The latest issue of the Toolbox (Volume 13, Issue 3) is now available. The focus is on "Reflective Practice and Teaching", and how to integrate it into everyday practice.
A 2012 study finds that the U.S. population is falling behind on literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving compared to other developed countries, and the effects of this lag are particularly observable among minority and immigrant populations. The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) has launched a new website to communicate the results of that study and provide resources to raise awareness.
- Jamie Merisotis, President of Lumina Foundation, calls attention to the fact that the American higher education system needs to change to meet the needs of the changing college student demographics. He offers three recommendations for change, including measuring student learning instead of classroom time and maximizing the impact of financial aid.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education offers a downloadable booklet on flipped classrooms, which is a compilation of past articles on the topic. The guide serves as a quick reference to learn about flipped classrooms and the rationale/methods.
- There is a lack of consensus on how to best measure learning outcomes. HEQCO has formed a consortium of six institutions, called the Learning Outcomes Assessment Consortium (LOAC), to explore ways to resolve this issue, develop assessment tools/ techniques, and disseminate findings to other colleges and universities.
The Government Accountability Office reports that student outcomes are not heavily weighed when accreditors gauge academic quality at colleges and universities. Accreditors stated that there is a lack of "quantifiable indicators" that allow learning outcomes to be used when measuring academic quality. The original report can be found here.
- Mildred Garcia, President of California State University at Fullerton, believes that the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) can help narrow the achievement gap. The DQP can serve as a roadmap for students allowing them to clearly see what is expected of them, realize the skills they have acquired, and communicate to employers what they are able to do.
Scholars from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) are pleased to announce the release of a book, Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education, which looks across the landscape of higher education assessment to present a reframing of how we conceptualize and approach the assessment of student learning. Two of the authors, Natasha Jankowski and Jillian Kinzie, will present points from select chapters of the book focusing on fostering greater use of assessment results and organizing assessment to yield meaningful results. Please join us on January 29 from 1:00-2:00pm CST.
- The authors argue that higher education must do a better job at assessing and improving learning, and AAC&U's VALUE approach can be an essential tool. VALUE utilizes rubrics, developed by faculty members, to measure student learning. The VALUE rubrics are regarded as a "high-impact practice" and could reduce the achievement gap in higher education.
- The University of Pennsylvania has introduced a new course, "Case Studies in Higher Education Administration", which features current issues affecting colleges and universities. Professor Shaun Harper requested case studies from various college and university administrators with the aim of both equipping students with problem-solving skills before they work in higher education and to offer administrators solutions to the challenges they are facing.
- Quantitative literacy has been incrementally regarded as a necessary requirement for college graduates, and the DQP and LEAP have included measurements for this, as well. Fitchburg State University (FSU) and Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) worked together to evaluate their rubrics of quantitative reasoning- and three other areas- and compare it with the DQP's and LEAP's. The aim is to develop common rubrics to measure what students know and should do, which in turn should work towards setting common expectations for transfer students.
- The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is seeking applications for teams from all types of higher education institutions to participate in the third year of the ACRL program "Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success" (AiA). The 14-month program examines the impact of the library on student success and contributes to assessment activities on campus.
- James Lang writes about his interview with Michelle Miller, Co-Director of Northern Arizona University's first-year learning program, and her new book, Minds Online: Teaching Effectively With Technology. The various ways that technology can help in pedagogy and learning to increase student motivation and engagement, as well as issues with online programs, are discussed.
- Ball State University has developed two new high-tech classrooms centered on the concept of active learning. By incorporating both technology and changes in pedagogy to enable more in-class collaboration and discussion, as opposed to a lecture-style approach, student engagement is on the rise.
- Dan Barrett highlights efforts by Harvard University and the University of Michigan, which have devoted $40 and $25 million, respectively, to faculty members to experiment with and improve learning. However, while money sends an effective message on the importance of learning, it is not enough if the motivation, time, and infrastructure for innovation are missing.
- Available Faculty Position in Assessment and Measurement at James Madison University
The full-time position at the Center for Assessment and Research Studies (CARS) and the Department of Graduate Psychology at James Madison University seeks someone to contribute to campus assessment activities and the Assessment and Measurement PhD program. Candidates can apply and find more details here using the post number 0406394.
York University's new Teaching and Learning website features various resources on key higher education initiatives and examples of how York has worked to create an enhanced learning environment that promotes student growth.
- Fundamental beliefs about assessment must change in order for assessment to be effectively and efficiently conducted. A part of this change has to do with assessment instruments, such as rubrics, which are often misused to measure and communicate superficial aspects of student learning. Instead, instruments must be used to explicitly state what the instructor values and expects students to learn; which in the end will be the basis for a final grade.
- Robert Talbert interviews Linda Nilson on her new book "Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time", which intends to address some of the issues affecting higher education, such as the disconnect between course grading and intended learning outcomes, making use of feedback, and various grading-related stressors. The interview addresses some of the main ideas and concerns of specifications grading.
The U.S. Department of Education introduced new guidelines for states to evaluate teacher training programs calling for increased attention on graduates' job placement and how much graduates' future students learn. The end goal is to better prepare educators for the classroom and meet learning outcomes, but Kelly Field notes several challenges facing these regulations.
- The inflow of international students to American colleges and universities has become more prominent over recent years, especially at the undergraduate level. While there are various benefits (e.g. preparing students for a more globalized world and including various perspectives into course discussions) there are also many challenges that face pedagogy, policy making, educational quality standards, and curriculum development.
- David Gooblar offers various ways to assess student learning and use the information to tailor teaching methods, be responsive to student needs, and provide students an opportunity to actively evaluate their own learning. Methods such as brief class discussions, handing out surveys in-class or electronically, integrating the "one-minute paper" at the end of class, and using homework assignments to guide the next class meeting are effective ways to know what students know and what/how they are learning.
The National Survey of Student Engagement's (NSSE) latest findings suggest that student experiences in higher education are extremely variable, and an institution's selectivity and size does not correlate with student engagement nor experiences with faculty. This means that less selective institutions often offer experiences that are comparable to those available at highly selective colleges and universities. Results from a study conducted at Purdue University are also discussed. Another article on selectivity and student achievement can be found in the Chronicle.
- This study by the OECD examines tertiary vocational education and training, and addresses the challenges that arise from the increasing demand for a workforce that possesses technical and professional skills. Key takeaways and recommendations focus on institutional and financial barriers, the importance of maintaining quality and flexibility to meet market demands, the role of competency- based approaches, and core elements of effective vocational systems.
- Without proper assessment practices and procedures in place, it is difficult to evaluate what a degree/certificate from colleges and universities in the UK really means. Chris Rust states that it may not be in the best interest of the institutions nor the government to produce data measuring the worth of their credentials, but transparency is important for students, businesses, the economy, and other institutions.
- David Goobar calls attention to the importance of determining what students know, as well as what they do not know, to improve the teaching and learning processes. In order to truly teach and engage students, it is beneficial to engage them in conversations and class discussions, to uncover how they learn best, and to reflect on how group dynamics in the classroom may affect learning.
- Christopher Nelson, President of St. John's College at Annapolis, states that assessment models have a tendency to underestimate the responsibility of the student and overestimate the responsibility of the teacher when evaluating learning outcomes. Instead of developing assessments that measure the students' learning environment and outcomes, focus should be given to assessing students' self-transformation and freedom (e.g. his/her desire to learn and seize educational opportunities).
- Brandman University has implemented an accredited competency-based bachelor's in business administration program by using both the Lumina Foundation's Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) and Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) from AAC&U. Paul Fain discusses the process that Brandman went through, and various aspects of the competency-based education (CBE) program.
- Fourteen community colleges in Texas are participating in Student Success By the Numbers (SSBTN), which is an initiative aimed at supporting college efforts to increase the use of data as a driver for student success. SSBTN provides colleges with coaching, resources, technical support, and professional development opportunities.
- Brown University's BrownConnect program helps undergraduate students from low-income backgrounds attain internships, research opportunities, and funding. The goal is to help students who cannot afford to take unpaid internships be successful and gain experience that will increase their employability. Similar programs are also in place at Duke University and Cornell University.
- Colleen Flaherty discusses some of the main findings from the Undergraduate Teaching Faculty survey conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles. Takeaways include that faculty are moving towards a more student-centered from of pedagogy and are increasing the use of technology to deliver education.
- The internet resources for higher education outcomes assessment that was previously hosted by North Carolina State University has moved; it is now Assessment Commons.
- Blueprints for Student Success is a website driven by the Supporting Student Success project, which found that new college students have trouble navigating the institution's programs and services. The website aims to fill-in the gaps and raise student awareness of the resources available to them.
A NILOA webinar hosted by Pat Hutchings, Natasha Jankowski, and Peter Ewell will be held on December 17, 2014. The webinar will focus on NILOA's Assignment Library initiative and its relevance and utility for faculty. Please follow the link to register.
- The Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE) has a new and improved website. It features a relevant news feed, resource room, a Member's Center, and more.
- NILOA's third assignment charrette will be held March 9, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. Applications are due by January 12, 2015. The charrette is intended for faculty members who are designing and using assignments linked to proficiencies set forth in the DQP. We are especially eager to focus on assignments that address the DQP proficiencies of civic and global learning, as well as assignments from those who work at minority-serving institutions or who teach diverse student populations.
A summary of the authors' report, "The Differential Effects of Internship Participation on End-of-Fourth-Year-GPA by Demographic and Institutional Characteristics," is offered by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The main takeaway is that students with the lowest GPA at the end of their first year had the highest GPA increases by the end of their fourth year as an apparent result of internship involvement. Additional articles on the value of internships for both students and employers can be found here, here, here, and here.
According to a report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), work-integrated learning (WIL) (e.g. internships and field placements) helps college students clarify career interests and attain jobs relevant to their education. A synopsis of the findings is offered, including annual income differences for WIL students and gain variability for students in different academic programs.
- Ross Markle and Terry O'Banion discuss affective measures and provide examples on how improving student placement can have positive effects on retention and completion rates.
- However one defines these programs, at its core Competency-Based Education (CBE) aims to offer a clear representation of students' capabilities and dispositions, which is something that traditional seat-time learning cannot effectively do. By utilizing the University of Michigan's CBE program as an example, Michelle Wiese sheds light on mastery-based learning and CBE.
- Workplace assessments like AMCAT and ACT's WorkKeys can help employers identify highly skilled hires, as well as help current employees identify areas which can be improved upon. In addition, ACT's National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), awards employees one of three possible levels of readiness certificates, and more than 2.6 million of these credentials have been awarded so far.
- Diana Cobbe created an app to help students identify/communicate acquired skills and connect potential hires with employers. The use of mobile devices is increasingly popular with students, and services like these help engage students and better prepare them for the job search.
- The latest issue of the Toolbox (Volume 13, Issue 2) is now available. Articles featured in this issue focus around an aggregated approach to course development.
- While Canada is the world leader in post-secondary attainment (53% of the population has a college degree/credential), there are still identifiable deficits in the employability of graduates primarily due to a lack of skills attainment. More than 70% of employers indicate there is a gap in hires' critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, as well as significant deficits in communication and teamwork skills.
- Rob Jenkins shares a couple of questions/examples of writing misconceptions students develop in high school, and have to be untaught in college. This misalignment of expectations results in devoting class time towards "unteaching" constructs instead of building upon students' learned skills.
- Brian Fleming reports the main points from the 20th Annual Online Learning Consortium International Conference. An interesting finding is that more than one third of adult learners want a competency-based component in their degree programs. Additional takeaways include that institutions are willing to share their implementation strategies for competency-based programs, new learning management systems are needed to meet the needs of non-traditional learners and CBE programs, and special attention needs to be given to quality measured for new programs.
The University of Texas system will implement a competency-based education (CBE) program in 2015 which will focus on delivering content to students on their phones and mobile devices. Courses and material will still be available on the web, but the aim is to be able to reach students wherever they go in a way that is familiar to them. Another article about the U. of Texas system and CBE is available in Inside Higher Ed.
- The authors note that open educational resources (OER) are not widely adopted in higher education. The study finds that faculty perception of OER, the effort required to find relevant OER materials, and overall awareness are the key barriers for wider implementation. However, faculty members who are familiar with OER think the quality is comparable to that of traditional educational resources. The report also mentions the use of OER and future outlook.
- Deeply and routinely analyzing education data can allow decision-makers to identify the reason why certain trends are happening. Five tips are offered which aim to help in this process (e.g. engage faculty members throughout the process, promptly make use of the data, and interview students as part of the process).
The latest issue of Liberal Education focuses on the leadership role that faculty members can take to promote curricular change. Other articles discuss student course evaluations and how they can be tailored to meet the needs of both faculty and their departments, as well as recommitting higher education towards meeting student's twenty-first century needs by adopting a developmental model to guide educational practices.
Augustana College identified nine learning outcomes that apply to student experiences in and out of the classroom. While some are concerned that specifying learning goals for out-of-class experiences might interfere with the social aspects of college, others believe that specifically acknowledging learning that occurs outside of the classroom can help students be more mindful of these potentially rich educational opportunities.
Jeffrey Johnson reflects on issues that occur when it is time to conduct assessment, as well as administrators' and faculty members' feelings towards each other and the assessment process. The reality is that assessment professionals and faculty members are equals, as opposed to enemies, and must treat each other correspondingly in order for assessment to improve student learning.
- Three Big Ten institutions now have Competency-Based Education (CBE) programs. This article describes the programs at the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin system, and Purdue University, as well as their focus/goals, examples of competency measures, and challenges.
- The author, Sylvia Manning-- former Higher Learning Commission president-- writes that accreditation can be a barrier to approval for new institutions, and suggests introducing a provisional status that allows new institutions to offer students federal financial aid while it is in process to receive accreditation.
- The study finds that programs that incorporate community service learning strongly engage students and improve learning outcomes, but requires commitment from students, instructors, and administrators. The skills students learn are applicable to their future careers, and the experience was described by students as deeply rewarding.
Western Governors University (WGU)'s new website serves as a discussion space for its recent collaboration with ten community colleges focused on creating Competency-Based associate degree programs. The new website, CBEInfo, provides information on the development process for these direct assessment programs, and also encourages feedback / contribution from other faculty members and decision-makers.
- While focused at various K-12 audiences (e.g. parents, school boards, and policymakers), the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) provides a series of reports with recommendations relevant for higher education on how to provide, find, and make use of education data to improve student learning outcomes.
- Student evaluation of teaching takes numerous forms, some providing more meaningful information to improve teaching and learning than others. The Academia Group is working on developing an evaluation centered on five dimensions: organization and clarity, expertise and enthusiasm, rapport, group interaction, and assessment and grading that may be applied across institutions/departments to measure core aspects of teaching.
- Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) helps adult learners, typically thought of as students 25 and older, take advantage of prior experience to meet college credit. A study of 48 higher education institutions utilizing PLA indicated that PLA students had better graduation and degree attainment rates than non-PLA students.
- This study set out to evaluate whether competition affected student achievement, engagement, and peer interaction in large college classes. The key findings yielded no effect, and the learning environment was neutral even when various types of competition were introduced. The study recommends that it be utilized as a launching point for future research, and holds that there are effects which need to be observed.
- This policy report from the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) provides recommendations for quality assurance in courses, certificates/badge programs, and/or modules offered by non-institutional providers of higher education.
- The College of New Jersey updated its liberal arts curriculum to be more data-driven and comprised of high-impact teaching practices, as well as reducing the number of courses faculty teach per semester from 4 to 3 in order to aid in their research endeavors. This made the courses more rigorous and increased student engagement, primarily through immersing them in undergraduate research. This model has helped with student attainment, retention, and recruiting.
- This interview with Emily Craig, director of e-learning and instructional technology at the College of New Rochelle in New York, and Maya Georgieva, associate director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at New York University's Stern College of Business, touches upon the ways technology is a tool for students and faculty, how it can be integrated into higher education settings, and some of the challenges and obstacles.
- David Gooblar provides a list of various online resources that can benefit pedagogy. Featuring various tips and resources for teachers/instructors, these websites can help develop ideas on how to improve upon ways to engage students and supplement learning.
- This survey of core requirements at America's colleges and universities examines the general education curriculum in order to uncover what courses institutions require students to take. Some of the study's expectations revolve around the areas of expository writing, an intermediate-level understanding of a foreign language, economics, mathematics, and natural science among others.
Assessment Essentials provides a step-by-step approach to the full process of developing an assessment program and implementing it. The book includes over 100 examples from various college and university campuses to help drive home main points. New topics covered in this edition include: using electronic portfolios in assessment, rubrics and course-embedded assessment, assessment in student affairs, and assessing institutional effectiveness.
- The latest issue Of Research and Practice in Assessment (Volume 9, Winter 2014) is now available. Articles in this issue address the question "What is the role of big data and learning analytics in higher education assessment?"
- Linda Suskie provides a model for institutions to follow to earn and maintain their accreditation, and to both improve the overall level of institutional quality and demonstrate it to stakeholders. The book aims to equip readers with the skills to identify ways to improve institutional quality, demonstrate the quality of education to all constituents, and to streamline the process institutions go through to comply with accreditation requirements.
- The linked learning approach occurs during high school and it combines general education, or core academic content, with both technical education and real-world application with the goal of equipping students with skills that will promote success at the post-secondary level. This report discusses why a linked learning approach is important, various implementation methods, and policy recommendations, as well as introducing a case study of a high school which utilized linked learning to improve student learning outcomes.
- Competency-Based Education (CBE) programs replace letter grades and instead use students' demonstration of skills mastery and application to measure competencies. The aim is to equip students with skills that can be directly applied in a work environment. However, the question of how to properly assess these programs so that the credential or degree earned holds value is salient.
- Lederman states that when the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) was first introduced four years ago there was fear it would be used as a way to standardize college education, but that has not been the case. Instead, the DQP promotes meaningful conversations among faculty and academic leaders on the curriculum, classroom activities, and what students should be and are learning. As George Kuh stated, the DQP provides faculty and staff a common language and framework to identify what quality student learning is. Lederman also provides a description of what the DQP is how it has been utilized.
- Cornell University plans to spend $150 million over the next ten years to develop Engaged Cornell, a program that aims to engage students, faculty, and staff with the community. As a part of the program, Cornell students will need to take at least one course with a community component, and they will be involved with the community through participation with Cornell's community partners, research endeavors, or formal coursework.
- The Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP), developed to identify what a college degree means and what graduates should be expected to know, are meant to apply to all students independent of their academic major and backgrounds. Higher education professionals say it must be localized and continue to give institutions the choice to take ownership of the process.
- Clifton Conrad expresses his belief, which stems from a three-year study analyzing student success at Minority-Serving Institutions, that higher education, as a whole, can learn a lot about creating equal education opportunities for all students from MSI's. The article urges a shift from the one-size-fits-all approach to education into a more individualized focus, and provides examples from various institutions on other shifts that should take place.
- This article explores the concept of "deeper learning," which combines academic knowledge/skills with communication, collaboration, learning management skills. The aim of this is to truly prepare students for college and their careers. Schools that embrace this concept make use of project-based learning, advisory classes, and long-term cumulative assessment, among other endeavors, to prepare their students.
This is the opening keynote speech of Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of Lumina Foundation, at the DQP launch event on October 8th. Among many salient points, Jamie Merisotis makes note that the DQP and Tuning are not ends in themselves, but rather are a means to an end of having an education system which delivers high-quality education that serves the entire student population and helps reverse the trend of income and social inequality in the country. In addition, video of the DQP launch can be found here.
- Competency-based education programs forego the utilization of time, or a credit-hour system, to measure capabilities, and instead look to directly measure learning by analyzing what the students know and are able to do. It is estimated that 350 institutions currently offer CBE degrees, and the number will continue to rise. The concern is that these programs will expand to become diploma mills, but frameworks like the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) can help mitigate this issue by helping faculty and staff understand the required competencies for the various degree types.
- Utah State University, along with all other universities in Utah, are involved in the Tuning process where they collaboratively work to develop learning outcomes for degrees in the physics, elementary education, and history fields. The process has led to discussions on what skills the courses teach versus which are needed by the student, to the creation of rubrics to evaluate course syllabi, and to the realization that each department is both a producer and a consumer of general education.
- The Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) is a learning-centered framework for what college graduates should know and be able to do to earn the associate, bachelor's or master's degree. The DQP's learning outcomes will engage faculty members in the course/program improvement process, clarify and help realize educational pathways for students, and help streamline the accreditation process.
- This report analyzes student and faculty perspectives on learning management systems (LMS) (e.g. Blackboard) in the milieu of current institutional investments. The report measures faculty and student satisfaction with LMS, degree of engagement through LMS, utilization of the technology, and recommendations for improvement.
- The $450 million grant aims to help approximately 270 community colleges and other higher education institutions offer better job training for students. In addition, it will motivate the formation of partnerships with businesses in the IT, healthcare, energy, and manufacturing industries.
After the early hype surrounding MOOCs, it is now time to think critically about the position of MOOCs in the academic environment. Selingo raises three salient questions to guide the conversation: (1) What role should MOOCs play at traditional colleges and universities?; (2) How do colleges make open online courses actually open?; and (3) How can the quality and success of MOOCs be measured? Another article in the Chronicle of Higher Education discusses additional challenges facing MOOCs.
- The latest issue of Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning (Volume 46, Issue 5) is now available. Articles in this issue include Christine M. Keller's "Lessons from the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA)," Marybeth Gasman & Heather Collins' "The Historically Black College and University Community and the Obama Administration: A Lesson in Communication," and Analia Albuja & Steven A. Greenlaw's "Distance-Mentored Undergraduate Research."
- This report outlines the core elements of CBE programs (i.e. mastery, pacing, and instruction), offers a timeline on the CBE movement, and provides a guide for the movement (implications for student learning and motivation, the role of assessment, consideration for the challenges facing CBE, and important aspects to consider for successful implementation).
- In an attempt to make online courses more engaging and to humanize the online experience for both students and instructors, Learning Glass -an LED-lit glass board which can be written on and used to display videos- was created. Two benefits are that lecturers no longer have to turn their back to students as they teach, which increases eye contact and the personalized feel of education, and they no longer have to solely rely on power point slides for online courses.
- Apprenticeships, which combine classroom instruction with on-the-job training, are regarded as a promising way to meet employers' demand for a skilled workforce. This report highlights various apprenticeship programs, and discusses some of the outcomes resulting from apprenticeships and a few key lessons to consider when developing these types of programs.
The Lumina Foundation is hosting a launch event on October 8th for the new DQP framework for defining the high-quality learning that college degrees should signify. The DQP outlines clearly defined learning outcomes that reflect a quality postsecondary education for associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Don’t forget to register, and join the live webcast from 7:45am to 2:00pm CST.
- Indiana University of Pennsylvania has implemented a customized math learning experience for students with the use of adaptive computer software. This software tailors the learning experience for each student based on his/her grasp of course concepts. This allows students to progress through the course at their own pace, and has demonstrated that students acquire a greater mastery of skills in less time.
- Government-developed scoring systems which attempt to compare institutional effectiveness by setting minimal standards for all colleges and universities may be detrimental. Wheelan and Elgart argue that accountability measures should be left in the hands of accreditors, which utilize a comprehensive review-process and allow room for institutional differences when developing quality standards
- The five year grant will fund UCO’s Student Transformative Learning Record (STLR) program which tracks, assesses, and provides information that can help students develop the skills which employers demand. Often called 21st century skills, characteristics such as critical thinking, problem solving, the ability to work in teams, and actively interacting in an increasingly global workplace are essential for student success in the workplace and as citizens.
- Argosy University System has implemented a competency-based education (CBE) approach to its newly accredited MBA program, making it the first WASC-accredited MBA in the region that follows a competency model. This interview with Argosy University System’s vice chancellor for academic affairs touches on the process for developing competency-based programs, potential benefits for students, the importance of technology, and the future outlook of CBE.
This CCCSE report outlines thirteen high-impact practices that community colleges should actively employ and integrate into academic and career pathways for students. In order to sustain their recommendations, the report offers an analysis on how some of these high-impact practices affect student outcomes and retention rates. In addition, you can read two articles that speak about the CCCSE report here: Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Sometimes, the connection between learning and work is not easily identified, but programs like Iowa GROW draw on learning theories to relate knowledge to work experiences through raising students’ awareness about the transferable skills they gain. GROW students are more likely to report an increase in writing, speaking, and time-management skills, and an increased ability to create meaningful interactions with people from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Due to the high volume of students in MOOCs, having open-ended response questions in exams or assigning essays which engage students with the material can be problematic. However, automated-grading software has proven to be a viable option to address this issue, and provide instructors with the ability to assign work which promotes critical thinking and improves learning gains. For another article on MOOCs and student learning gains please click here.
- This article calls for a renewed focus on student-centered pedagogy requiring that student learning be placed at the center of faculty efforts. Faculty cross-collaboration in the syllabi creation process and engaging in conversations about teaching with one another could produce aligned learning outcomes, and emphasize the quality of learning at the course-level.
- This article speaks about Rochester Institute of Technology’s Chair in Applied Critical Thinking, the ways institutions can increase students’ critical thinking abilities, and the value employers place on this skill. In order to prepare students to become global citizens, institutions must focus on teaching critical thinking skills, and academic programs should promote such skills through ongoing assessment and course requirements (e.g. senior "capstone" projects and portfolio assignments).
- Find out what's new with NILOA in addition to recent news items about learning outcomes assessment in this month's newsletter.
- Weingarten asks whether Ontario colleges and universities are measuring what matters in terms of student learning outcomes. While there is considerable consensus on the knowledge and skills students should acquire, there are not enough outcomes assessment programs in place to verify that students are indeed equipped with the necessary critical thinking and problem-solving skills that employers require.
- The authors of ‘Academically Adrift’ speak about their follow-up book ‘Aspiring Adults Adrift,’ and shed light on the current status of student development in higher education; and the correlation with student transition into adulthood.
- David Gooblar writes about the ways in which student learning can be enhanced by making the learning process more challenging, and offers three methods. One is based on a study which found that students who took notes by hand, instead of utilizing a laptop, had to think critically about which notes to write leading to long-term retention of information.
- Acquiring accreditation has been an issue for many institutions hoping to implement competency-based programs. This article helps shed light on accreditors’ actions and institutions’ attempts to both gain accreditation and ensure student success.
- The latest issue of the Toolbox (Volume 13, Number 1) is now available. Articles featured in this issue focus around utilizing the assessment process to not only calculate students’ grades, but to enhance the learning process.
PBS News Hour presented a video on competency-based education and the way it was implemented for an online course. For another article by PBS News Hour on CBE please click here.
This article recognizes the success of colleges and universities in Indiana in establishing competency-based programs, and makes a case for a wider implementation in other higher education institutions in Indiana. Correspondingly, Purdue University is set to create a cross-disciplinary competency-based bachelor’s degree (as reported on Inside Higher Ed).
- In this interview, Pamela Tate, president and CEO of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, addresses the topics of competency-based education (CBE) and prior learning assessment (PLA). Tate gives her take on how these concepts impact student completion rates, and what it may take in order for CBE to be widely implemented.
- Arum and Roska call for educators to take charge of curriculum and learning decisions, and to approach learning assessment in the classroom with the goal of better equipping students with 21st-century skills to aid them in their transition to adulthood.
- Recruiters could benefit from utilizing technology (i.e. analytics) to uncover possible relationships between employees’ educational credentials and their performance in the workplace; especially in a globalized economy to help uncover what it means to hold a degree
- Institutions are beginning to lay the groundwork for direct competency-based education and direct assessment programs in higher education. These measures aim to move higher education from the credit hour standards towards a more personalized approach.
- Slippery Rock University’s “SCALE-UP” collaborative learning classroom is integrating technology by rethinking the traditional lecture-style of education, and creating a more interactive learning experience for both students and professors.
- Professors and instructors of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) may now be able to design courses which adapt to the specific needs of students. Through offering instant feedback loops and giving instructors more creative control, the goal is for MOOCs to take a step closer to mimicking a classroom experience.
Mark Carnes discusses role-immersion games, an alternative to lecture-style teaching, and its effects on student engagement. This method intends to aid learning through a mixture of course materials/readings, friendly competition, and play. More information on this concept and style of teaching may also be found in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s article ‘How Students Learn from Games.'
- In order to reduce the need for remedial coursework, several community colleges are undertaking the task of empowering high school students earlier with the necessary tools. Endeavors such as accelerated learning programs and enrolling high school seniors in remedial coursework before they enter college are just some of the efforts being made to encourage academic success.
- New Issue of Assessment Update is Available NowThe latest issue of Assessment Update: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for July 2014 is now available. Articles in this issue include Anja Mueller, Mike Carson, and James Therrell’s “How a Research Faculty Becomes Interested in Assessment,” Thomas Zane’s “A Pedagogical Approach to Assessment,” and Arend Flick’s “Can Assessment Loops Be Closed?”
- A new book titled Mentoring At-Risk Students through the Hidden Curriculum of Education offers recommendations for colleges to help at-risk students navigate through higher education’s hidden curriculum. The author suggests that mentoring programs need well-defined objectives that can be measured in order to be successful.
- Find out what's new with NILOA in addition to recent news items about learning outcomes assessment in this month's newsletter.
- A professor at Baylor University created an introductory sociology course page on Facebook and found that students who participated in the group online were more engaged in the class and received better grades than students who did not participate.
ACE and Pearson are co-sponsoring a webinar on August 20, hosted by Inside Higher Ed. The webinar will examine how credit for prior learning can be a strategy for accelerating degree completion. To register for the webinar, click here.
- Please consider participating in the Assessment Professional 2014 Survey. This research endeavor intends to establish a broad demographic profile of the assessment professional in higher education. The survey is being administered nationwide by Bridgewater State University and Framingham State University and takes approximately 8-10 minutes to complete.
- The New America Education Foundation released a policy brief titled The Case against Exit Exams. The report explains that high school exit exams have forced states to choose between enforcing higher academic standards and making higher education an option for as many students as possible, and new policies are needed to pursue college and career attainment for more students.
Flexible classrooms that are designed for active learning may improve student engagement. Students in flexible learning environments report being more engaged and focused on classroom activities than in a traditional classroom.
The latest issue of the Toolbox (Volume 12, Number 6) is now available. Articles in this issue focus on creating screencasts, which are videos that instructors can produce to deliver course content to students outside of the classroom.
The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) at the University of Michigan has an opening for a postdoctoral research associate with a focus on assessment and evaluation. The successful candidate will work closely with CRLT's Director of Assessment and the Assistant Vice Provost for Global and Engaged Education to evaluate and report on the Provost's Third Century Student Learning Initiative, which supports active and engaged learning. Please read more here.
- Paul Gaston, co-author of the DQP, provides a summary of major points from his recent book Higher Education Accreditation: How It’s Changing, Why It Must in the latest issue of AAC&U’s Liberal Education.
- The latest issue of AAC&U’s Liberal Education features an excerpt from the DQP 2.0. The second edition of the DQP includes new proficiencies regarding ethical reasoning and global learning, strengthened statements on quantitative reasoning and more attention to research.
- Colleges Must Help Further the Goals of Common Core Standards, Report Says
Articles in The Chronicle and The Hechinger Report discuss the latest policy brief from the New America Foundation on the Common Core State Standards. The New America report states that higher education institutions have not aligned college instruction or teacher preparation programs with the Common Core and should adjust admissions, financial-aid, and remedial-education policies to connect with the standards.
- Dominican University of California Seeks a Director of Assessment
The Director of Assessment is responsible for leading and developing a comprehensive institutional assessment plan to support the University’s mission and strategic initiatives. The Director will design, implement, and monitor assessment processes for assessing student learning outcomes for degree programs and general education. Please read more here.
- Michigan State University conducted a study that found when students multi-task in class on non-academic activities, test scores go down. The authors hope to understand how two different regions of the brain work together to process both important and irrelevant information and how to keep students more focused and less distracted.
- Hampshire College in Massachusetts recently decided to enforce a test-blind policy, which means that it will reject any test scores received. The dean of admissions at Hampshire states that test scores were a poor predictor of success and rejecting test scores will allow the admissions office to focus on more meaningful areas of college applications.
- A study from the School of Dentistry at the University of Louisville found that classroom seating in a collaborative learning environment could have important effects on academic achievement. The authors suggest that a formalized, in-class peer mentoring system may help to ensure the success of all students in an active learning classroom.
- Ten liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania received funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a consortium to deal with the challenges that many liberal arts colleges now face. The consortium members will collaborate on enhancing the quality of academic programs while controlling associated costs.
- A study from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario found that giving students options for how they will be evaluated in courses can improve academic achievement. Findings from the study suggested that students welcomed an opportunity to be assessed in a way that allowed them to demonstrate what they have learned, instead of choosing the correct answers on an exam.
A new report from the Education Commission of the States (ECS) found there is little consistency in how states track students’ college preparedness and progress through remedial coursework. The ECS developed a framework for remedial reporting that focuses on academic progress and student outcomes.
- The latest issue of Research and Practice in Assessment (Volume 9, Summer) is now available. Articles in this issue include Jessica L. Jonson, Tim Guetterman, and Robert Thompson, Jr.'s "An Integrated Model of Influence: Use of Assessment Data in Higher Education," Sarah MacDonald, Laura Williams, Rory Lazowski, S. Jeanne Horst and Kenneth Barron's "Faculty Attitudes toward General Education Assessment: A Qualitative Study about Their Motivation," and Jennifer Danley-Scott and Gray Scott's "The Other Half: Non-Tenure Track Faculty Thoughts on Student Learning Outcomes Assessment."
- Find out what's new with NILOA in addition to recent news items about learning outcomes assessment in this month's newsletter.
- A study by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario examines if e-portfolios, which require students to track and showcase skills developed in courses, could help improve students’ ability to articulate skills learned to potential employers.
- The Educational Testing Service (ETS) designed an online assessment, SuccessNavigator, to measure non-cognitive attributes that can predict success in college. Academic advisers receive a copy of the report and can give students feedback about their results and develop plans for succeeding in college.
Nearly 70 institutions in nine states are participating in the Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment (MSC). AAC&U announced the MSC will be part of the ongoing VALUE initiative to document how well students are achieving key learning outcomes by assessing student work using a set of common rubrics.
NILOA is accepting applications for a Visiting Project Manager Position to assist with the tracking and mapping of institutional use of frameworks for enhancing student learning. To learn more about the position, visit the job description.
- Clark University is redefining liberal education by combining it with practical and applied education through enhancing the capability of students to put knowledge to work. Placing students in real-problem solving situations allows them to build and demonstrate the skills needed in the workplace while still in college.
- Four ideas on reimagining the undergraduate college experience emerged from a yearlong exercise at Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. The ideas have brought together faculty and administrators from across campus to generate discussions.
- The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is seeking feedback on a revised draft of the association’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. The ACRL Board of Directors appointed a task force to significantly revise the framework in order to address the changing information climate and information needs of students. The draft is available for review with feedback due July 15.
- The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario documented results of a Tuning initiative to identify common learning outcomes for certain degrees. The report, Tuning: Identifying and Measuring Sector-Based Learning Outcomes in Postsecondary Education, provides measurable learning outcomes that can help institutions develop outcomes-based programs.
- The Aspen Institute released a report on optimizing learning and innovation, which includes five principles for improving learning environments and creating rewarding learning experiences. The report also suggests that new assessments and tools should be developed to convey evidence of student achievement through learning networks.
- Allowing students to write about their emotions before a math exam can potentially improve math education and learning in the classroom. Teachers have the necessary training to talk to students who encounter difficulties and may work to reduce math anxiety by ensuring students have basic numeric skills.
- This author shares ten books on teaching and learning for faculty members that can help to shape or reshape teaching in a substantive and practical way.
- More students are gaining experience abroad through internships, research opportunities, practicums, and volunteering instead of the traditional study abroad programs. In response to the non-traditional experiences, some universities are awarding academic certificates to students for their international achievements.
- The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) released new guidelines outlining skills and knowledge that all medical students should have by the time they begin their residencies. The AAMC developed the guidelines with a group of graduate medical experts in response to feedback about the preparedness of entering residents.
- Responding to the calls for better information about how well colleges and universities are serving today’s students, AAC&U’s Board of Directors released a statement urging institutions to take the lead in framing these debates around appropriate metrics that focus on what students learn in college, as well as completion rates.
- New Issue of Assessment Update is Available NowThe latest issue of Assessment Update: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for May/June 2014 is now available. Articles in this issue include Dianna Renz’s “Community College Strategies,” Douglas J. Eder’s “Healthy Assessment: What Nursing Schools Can Teach Us about Effective Assessment of Student Learning,” and Jillian Kinzie, Natasha Jankowski, and Staci Provezis’s “Do Good Assessment Practices Measure Up to the Principles of Assessment?”
- The New America Education Policy Program released a policy brief titled Building a New AAU: The Case for Redefining Higher Education Excellence. The brief explains that a new AAU would provide structure for aspiring universities seeking AAU membership while rewarding institutions that are committed to keeping college accessible, affordable, and focused on student success.
Inside Higher Ed released a booklet, available for download, of articles and essays about efforts to reshape what and how colleges teach. They will also host a webinar on June 26 to discuss the issues raised within the booklet.
- Heritage University created a video series in order to help faculty and instructors better serve first-generation students. The videos include practices that can be implemented to keep first-generation students from feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.
- This author shares his idea for getting students to participate in large lecture classes by making it a required activity. The required participation allowed students to create a sense of community in such a large class, gain confidence by speaking in public, and learn from each other.
- The Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE) announced plans to spin off a learning-analytics project as a separate non-profit group. The project shares data about student learning at on-ground and competency-based institutions.
- Guttman Community College created a first-year program aimed at improving student engagement and retention rates through an intensive, highly structured experience. Students in the program are kept on track by working closely with staff members who serve as advocates and professors who keep students engaged in course material.
- The latest issue of the Toolbox (Volume 12, Number 5) is now available. Articles in this issue focus on connecting course content from the classroom to the current culture that is shaping students’ lives.
- The University of Central Oklahoma was recognized during the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) annual conference in April for having the best paper in the category of Assessing and Improving Student Learning. Central’s submission, “Using a Transformative Learning Transcript to Assess High-Impact Practices,” was the work of six members of the university’s leadership.
- The second edition of Researching Teaching and Student Outcomes in Postsecondary Education: An Introduction is now available. The guide offers an introduction on using research and other data collection to evaluate teaching methods.
- New Issue of Change: The Magazine of Higher LearningThe latest issue of Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning (Volume 46, Issue 3) is now available. Articles in this issue include David D. Dill’s “Ensuring Academic Standards in US Higher Education,” Debra Humphreys’ “Employment Outcomes in the Four-Year Sector: The Value of Liberal Arts Degrees,” and Linda Krzykowski and Kevin Kinser’s “Transparency in Student Learning Assessment: Can Accreditation Standards Make a Difference?”
- Alternative forms of student evaluation allow instructors to see if students truly understand the subject matter instead of an essay that might not catch learning issues until the end of the semester. Presentations, posters sessions, and other engaged activities let students develop oral skills and demonstrate knowledge gained.
- A Boost for Active Learning
Articles in The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed discuss research that found students engaged in active learning in STEM courses instead of lecture-only courses had higher pass rates. The study suggests that active learning methods such as group-problem solving and workshops are more effective than traditional lecturing.
- The Department of Leadership, Policy and Adult and Higher Education at North Carolina State University released a report on the current approaches to federal funding for students in competency-based education programs. The report also includes possible changes that can be made to current approaches in how aid is disbursed.
- The University of South Florida will launch a pilot nursing program for veterans that will give academic credit for military training. The Student Veterans of America (SVA) hope that more universities will also begin offering academic credit for veterans’ experience so they can complete degrees faster and save money.
- The assistant director is responsible for supporting the improvement of the student experience and student learning through the development of learning assessment activities. The assistant director collects and analyzes learning assessment data and participates in the development of related plans and interventions as well as participating in the implementation of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and meeting related accreditation reporting requirements.
- Economics students in 19 countries released a joint statement to change the way economics is taught. Students believe that the curriculum has become too far removed from real world issues and limits their ability to contend with challenges from society.
- The latest issue of AAC&U’s Diversity & Democracy (Volume 17, Number 2) is now available. Articles in this issue focus on global learning and how to prepare students for cultural competencies and global citizenship.
- Higher education institutions in Utah have been involved in the tuning process to help students understand what they have learned during their academic career and to communicate to employers the skills they have gained. Tuning has also allowed institutions to collaborate on determining common competencies that should be mastered for particular disciplines.
- Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University conducted a study to measure evidence of students’ learning in MOOCs. They concluded that many students do not engage or interact with others in the class and do not retain or use new knowledge.
- A study by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario suggests that tools for measuring critical thinking should be integrated into the curriculum. The authors recommend aligning critical thinking teaching framework with assessment tools to measure critical thinking at the course level.
- The latest issue of Peer Review (Volume 16, Number 1) is now available. Articles in this issue focus on how e-portfolios can be used for comprehensive assessment and also to enhance student learning.
- The University of Guelph and four other institutions have partnered with Desire2Learn, a provider of learning management systems, to track and assess student learning outcomes across programs. The initiative will enable institutions to measure learning outcomes on a continual basis and allow students to see the skills they have acquired over the course of their academic careers.
- The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) selected fourteen institutions to participate in a “jumpstart” program for developing degree programs based on competencies instead of credit hours.
- This author offers five lessons from the health-care ratings initiative during the 1980s that the Education Department can learn when drafting the college ratings system for measuring the value of a college degree.
- This author offers three reasons why including multimedia assignments in the classroom can deepen students’ engagement, utilize a variety of skills, and encourage students to continue learning outside of the classroom.
- Lipscomb University developed a competency-based framework for 22 majors in the College of Professional Studies that combines competency-based credits and conventional courses. Entering students begin the program by participating in a day-long process of assessments to earn credits for prior learning and performance.
- The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario conducted a study to determine the effectiveness of the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) and Community College Learning Assessment (CCLA) in providing useful information for institutions, students, and employers.
- The Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) released a document summarizing outcomes and lessons learned on the cross-state Tuning initiative with Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri. The document also includes recommendations for the use of Tuning to improve teaching, learning, and student success.
- AAC&U is offering resources for first year-students on the benefits of a liberal education and what can be expected of them as they begin their undergraduate career.
- Several community colleges have begun to partner with local school districts to offer remedial courses to high school students. College and school officials hope this will better prepare students for college-level work.
- Public institutions in Florida are waiting for clarification on a bill introduced last year that will allow credit to be given for outside courses, including MOOCs. In preparation, Florida International University developed a prior learning assessment which will determine if students have achieved adequate levels of learning via an outside course.
Inside Higher Ed released a booklet, available for download, of articles and essays about the flipped classroom. They will also host a webinar on May 8 to discuss the issues raised within the booklet.
- Educators met and discussed support structures, culture, and rewards for effective teaching. Participants outlined institutions that are developing programs focusing on improving graduate student teaching to better prepare them for teaching careers.
- New Issue of Assessment Update is Available NowThe latest issue of Assessment Update: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for March/April 2014 is now available. Articles in this issue include Stephanie Foote and Andy Dyer’s "Assessing Deep Learning: Using a Porfolio to Evaluate Gains in Critical Inquiry among First-Year Students,” Amy Thelk’s "Building a Better Course-Evaluation Process,” and Kevin Schoepp and Angela Skuba’s "Effective Leadership Assessment: A 360-Degree Process.”
- Cleveland State University introduced an initiative that will get more students to degree completion. Students are allowed to register for a year of courses before the fall semester begins in hopes of letting students plan for the whole year, set expectations, and see the end goal.
- The latest issue of Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning (Volume 46, Issue 2) is now available. Articles in this issue focus on active learning and developing transferrable intellectual skills.
- Regional Accreditors Agree on Common Terms
- This author offers some suggestions for helping ESL students transition into the classroom. Building a classroom community and encouraging interaction with classmates can allow non-native speakers to be more comfortable with participating in class discussions.
- Three colleges in northern Georgia are working together to offer free career assessments and counseling to adults in the area. Officials believe these services will help residents who have not completed a college degree to explore possible majors and career paths.
- Low Expectations, High Stakes
Articles in The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed feature a report released by the Center for Community College Student Engagement, which suggests that part-time faculty face a less supportive environment than their full-time peers. Improving working conditions can enhance student learning and help increase retention rates.
- New research on teaching students to transfer knowledge is aiming to increase how well students draw on prior knowledge to interpret ideas and engage in metacognition. Some professors of first year composition courses are using a more explicit approach to teaching writing, which has produced gains in writing-skills transfer in their students.
- A growing number of community colleges are joining the Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA) in an effort to measure performance and compare themselves to similar-sized institutions. The VFA was developed by the American Association of Community Colleges so it offers a more effective baseline for community colleges to report data and spot areas of needed improvement.
- The latest issue of the Toolbox (Volume 12, Number 4) is now available. Articles in this issue focus on a new, creative way to challenge students in their critical thinking and writing.
- Applications for the 2014 Association for General and Liberal Studies Award for Exemplary Program Processes are now being accepted. The application asks institutions to describe their collaborative efforts to develop institutional support and goals for quality programs, implement processes to achieve the goals, gather results to assess the impact of processes, and use the results to enhance the programs.
- The results of an effort to gauge incoming college students’ writing skills found that many believe they are prepared for college-level writing. Students estimated spending 25 hours each week on academic formal and informal personal writing, and many professors hope students can make connections between their informal and formal writing.
- This author believes that giving feedback to students early enough in the semester allows them to monitor their progress more efficiently and work harder to meet an instructor’s expectations.
- Judith Eaton, president of CHEA, is interviewed on the topic of accreditation and the issues it faces for the latest installment of New Directions for Higher Education in the New England Journal of Higher Education.
- A study published by the Educational Psychology Review found that making small changes in homework practices by incorporating principles of cognitive science improved student learning.
- CHEA announced the 2014 winners of the Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes.
This author explores the science of teaching and learning, specifically brain-based research and how learning happens. He also spotlights a book, Applying Science of Learning in Education: Infusing Psychological Science Into the Curriculum, that offers cognitive-based interventions for increasing learning in classrooms.
- What Matters to Academic-Library Directors? Information Literacy
Articles in The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed highlight the results from a survey of library directors. The majority of respondents stated their most important function is teaching research skills to undergraduate students, and some institutions are even engaged in a form of library assessment to measure the efficiency of library services.
- Several institutions are now feeling the push to show employment statistics for graduates, but many oppose those efforts to use employment data to quantify education success.
- The latest issue of AAC&U News (March 2014) examines connecting student academic success with work-study jobs on campus. The University of Iowa launched an initiative to engage student employees in conversations with their supervisors about work and how it relates to academic skills and future career goals.
- The Competency-Based Education Network selected 18 institutions to participate in a group that will address challenges and obstacles to designing and developing competency-based education programs.
- Evergreen State College’s academic statement assessment requires students to reflect and write on their educational choices and what they’ve learned throughout their academic careers. Officials at Evergreen stated the academic statement initiative was faculty-driven and asks students to articulate the value of their education.
- Eugene Lang College surveyed its alumni to see how their education prepared them for life after college. The majority of those who responded stated that Lang did prepare them for life after college, and the survey allowed them to communicate the value of a college education.
- A study by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario suggests that certain learning technologies can be developed to exercise and assess desired learning outcomes. The authors studied students’ participation in a peer-reviewed assignment and found that an assignment can be constructed to exercise a learning objective such as critical thinking.
- This author questions whether competency-based education can lead to open-ended inquiry and critical thinking and if it will truly allow students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of subject material.
- Kalamazoo College began publishing test results in an effort to be more transparent and demonstrate what its students learned in four years. Officials at the college stated that publicizing the results gives prospective students and families valuable information on the school’s performance.
- Richard J. Daley College Seeks an Assessment Center Coordinator
The City Colleges of Chicago invites applications for the position of Coordinator at Richard J. Daley College’s Assessment Center. This position plans and administers assessment instruments to students and coordinates the scoring process. In addition, this position is responsible for creating brochures and information to promote services offered by the Center. Please read more here.
- Problem Centered Inquiry and Assessment in the Context of Liberal Education
Click here to listen to a Radio Higher Ed podcast with AAC&U president, Carol Geary Schneider, on problem centered inquiry and assessment.
DQP co-author Paul Gaston recently released a book titled Higher Education Accreditation: How It’s Changing and Why It Must. In the book, he discusses why regional accreditors should identify common standards and encourage greater innovation in higher education.
- Alexander Astin reflects on the process of accreditation in the U.S. and how this primary means of quality control is, and should remain, independent of the government.
- A one-hour program for new students called a “difference-education intervention” is designed to close the achievement gap between first-generation and other students. During the program, junior and seniors discuss challenges they encountered and how they sought out resources to resolve issues so that first-generation students can successfully adjust to college.
- New Issue of Assessment Update is Available NowThe latest issue of Assessment Update: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for January/February 2014 is now available. Articles in this issue include Abraham Lauer and Jamie Korin’s "Expanding Assessment Perspectives: The Importance of Student Leadership in Student Learning Outcomes Assessment,” Jane Souza’s "Empowering Faculty and Students with Assessment Data,” and Tara Ebersole’s "Relating Students’ Grades and Measures of Specific Outcomes.”
- Sarah Lawrence College created its own assessment system which does not use tests to measure student learning. Their system is a more personalized approach to evaluation and requires an analysis of every student after each course.
- With the latest trend of competency-based education, residential liberal arts colleges are aiming to prove why learning in a residential setting is better.
- A study by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario suggests that training graduate teaching assistants in a more student-centered approach can improve teaching effectiveness and student outcomes.
- The University of Maine at Presque Isle is basing its academic programs on proficiency-based curriculums instead of the grading system. University officials stated moving beyond grades will create a more personalized, self-paced approach to learning.
- Find out what's new with NILOA in addition to recent news items about learning outcomes assessment in this month's newsletter
- Teaching and learning scholars are seeking to document what happens in the classroom in order to improve teaching methods. Classroom observations, which are a form of assessment, can connect the data points from what the faculty are doing to what students are learning.
- Lakehead University launched the Co-Curricular Record (CCR) that documents students’ involvement in activities that are not for credit. The CCR recognizes non-academic skills and learning outcomes gained outside the classroom and is an incentive for students to become more engaged.
- This author believes frequent, low-stakes tests throughout a semester can have a significant impact on student learning by helping students retain class material better and becoming more comfortable with testing.
- The latest issue of AAC&U News (January/February 2014) examines a survey conducted by AAU among research universities and their dedication to assessing and improving undergraduate learning. The issue also includes a call for best practices of the AAC&U Global Learning VALUE Rubric.
- The Educational Testing Service is connecting badges to two tests - the Proficiency Profile and iSkills - assessments that aim to measure what students learn in college. After completing the assessments, students can earn digital badges based on their performance.
This article highlights the latest NILOA report and the increase in learning assessment activity. It also recommends that colleges need to provide more information and data for students and families to make informed decisions.
- The Community College Research Center at Columbia University released a report on the impact of developmental education. Their study evaluated the effectiveness of community college remedial courses and concluded that developmental education is not improving outcomes for underprepared students and could benefit from reform.
- Peer Review (Volume 15, Number 4) focuses on senior capstone courses, projects, and examples of best practices.
Scott Kinney, president of Capella University, discusses the importance of transparency regarding learning outcomes. He states that assessment results should be shared more often, as emphasized in the latest NILOA report.
- The latest issue of The Toolbox (Volume 12, Number 3) is now available. Articles in this issue focus on engaging in digital teaching and learning.
- Theme-based general education ‘pathways’ programs, where required coursework is categorized into academically or socially relevant themes, are becoming a growing trend. Advocates for thematic pathways suggest that they create a more meaningful experience for students along with the opportunity to demonstrate the value of an undergraduate degree.
- This author explains why a speed dating model can be more effective than a panel discussion in the classroom. The model can enhance student engagement and allow for a deeper learning experience by providing more interaction between students and panelists.
- Inside Higher Ed’s survey of chief academic officers includes a section on learning outcomes and assessment. The majority of provosts stated using tools to assess student learning, but not all institutions use data on assessment results to advise decision making.
- The College of Idaho introduced the PEAK program that requires students to have one major and three minors in different areas. The program maintains the ideals of liberal arts education while allowing students to start classes in their majors sooner rather than later.
- Many institutions have identified the advantages of e-portfolios as tools to help students articulate their learning goals and track their progress. The reflective nature of e-portfolios might make learning more effective for students.
- The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is seeking applications from higher education institutions to participate in the second year of “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success.” Each institution will select team members headed by a librarian team leader to examine the impact of the library on student success.
- Colleges Measure Learning in More Ways, but Seldom Share Results
Articles in The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed highlight NILOA’s latest report, “Knowing What Students Know and Can Do: The Current State of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment in U.S. Colleges and Universities.” The report reveals that measuring student learning increased, but institutions are not using assessment results as often to make effective changes.
- University of Wisconsin-Platteville seeks an Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment
The University of Wisconsin-Platteville invites applications for the Executive Director of Institutional Effective and Assessment. This position will lead the new Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment (OIEA) to help centralize and expand the university’s ability to conduct assessment, streamline institutional research and planning, support integrated planning, and inform decision-making. The position reports to the Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. Please read more here.
- This author argues that an outcomes-based model of education can benefit students completing a degree in the liberal arts. By articulating outcomes and teaching to those outcomes, students can fully articulate the advantages of their skills and competencies.
- CUNY is expanding its Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) in order to improve the graduation rates of low-income students. The program offers free tuition and textbooks along with structured advising and class schedules to selected participants.
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education introduced the Interstate Passport Agreement which will make it easier for students to transfer their general-education coursework between institutions. The passport project focuses on learning outcomes and proficiencies for students to demonstrate when transferring instead of credit hours.
- The University of California at Davis created a digital badge system that focuses on competency- based education and knowledge learned outside of the classroom. The badging system does not replace college credentials, and it allows students to communicate the experiential learning in which they have engaged.
- The latest issue of Liberal Education features articles examining the phenomenon of MOOCs and if they are revolutionizing higher education. Others articles focus on competency-based education and whether it will replace seat time.
- The latest issue of Research and Practice in Assessment (Volume 8, Winter 2013) is now available. Articles in this issue focus on assessment in the field of student affairs and showcase the scholarship of faculty from five major research universities.
- Clear and organized teaching can have a valuable impact on student learning and critical thinking skills. New research from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education confirms a relationship between students’ perceptions of teaching quality and approaches to learning.
- The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) updated its approach to measuring students’ participation in activities that are associated with higher learning outcomes. The updated model is more qualitative and includes new questions on the student experience and learning with technology.
- Adding Competency to Community
Articles in The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed highlight efforts from Western Governors University to partner with eleven community colleges to create competency-based degree programs. Participating community college officials recognized the demand for more innovative and effective ways for students to build on their own experiences and earn degrees.
A report from the Data Quality Campaign tracks states that are collecting and using data on student performance to inform stakeholders on educational improvement efforts. The report also includes ten steps on how to support effective data use to prepare students for the future.
- The latest issue of The Toolbox (Volume 12, Number 2) is now available. Articles in this issue focus on adopting oral discourse as an assessment tool.
- A report released by the Center for American Progress chronicles students enrolled in competency-based programs. The report is aiming to identify the positive qualities and commonalities that exist among their experiences and competency-based education.
- Advocates for competency-based education continue to promote the positive aspects of learning outside of the classroom and demonstrating acquired knowledge, skills and abilities that can translate into earning a degree.
- Jennifer Stephens Helm, Dean and VP of Institutional Research and Assessment at American Public University System (APUS), discusses adopting the DQP framework. APUS replaced their existing institutional learning outcomes with the five areas of student learning specified in the DQP along with an additional outcome of digital information literacy that is distinctive to APUS.
- This author argues that assessment practices should be recognized as opportunities for learning, and the approach to conducting assessment should begin with faculty engagement.
- U.S. lawmakers are drafting new bills aimed at reforming higher education. Senate members recently debated on changing the accreditation system along with federal financial aid policy.
- The Obama administration is traveling to four college campuses this month to gather information and feedback on its proposal to create a federal college ratings system. Several university leaders have stated concerns about the validity of the metrics and what data will be measured.
- Faculty members at Lafayette College developed a strategy to integrate the outcome of diversity into the curriculum. Professors who participated in the project stated that this opportunity allowed them to explore the topic of diversity with students in more creative ways.
- Several institutions are now offering low cost competency-based programs which use a student-centered model, but critics have concerns that these programs focus too heavily on skills and outcomes rather than disciplines and the higher education experience.
- Several states’ increasing interest in student learning has led to the development of performance-based appropriations. In response to criticism that it will diminish academic quality, states created performance-based formulas that include quality assurance.
- Complete College America is aiming to increase college completion rates by developing action plans with the 34 states that have joined their Alliance of States and committed to set completion goals through 2020.
- Some ed tech companies and universities are now using the term “learning experience” instead of “course.” This shift is due to the recognition of learning outside of the traditional classroom in online formats.
AAC&U released a new publication, Using the VALUE Rubrics for Improvement of Learning and Authentic Assessment, which provides information about the development and use of the VALUE rubrics for assessment of student learning.
- A report released by Complete College America and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems tracks how states are moving to performance-based funding. The report acknowledges that more states have begun to include measures of student learning and academic quality into their funding mechanisms.
- Lumina Foundation released a publication on how the Common Core State Standards and the Degree Qualifications Profile can better align K-12 and higher education.
- Several community colleges began testing MOOCs last year, but the majority remains skeptical of adopting a massive open online course at an environment meant for small class sizes and more faculty interaction.
- Texas, Ohio, and Montana’s public-college systems will begin working with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning to evaluate using prior-learning assessments. The council has previously not worked on statewide and multi-institution adoption of prior-learning assessments and they intend to set plans within each state system to document the process.
- The Council for Higher Education Accreditation developed an easy-to-use Tool Kit to provide information on accreditation to faculty, students, presidents and chancellors, governing boards, and accreditors.
- The Association for Institutional Research October newsletter features an article on public accessibility to institutional data dashboards. The majority of AIR member survey respondents indicated their dashboards are not viewable by the public, and some are limited to only campus administrators.
- Digital badge programs, which were originally developed for MOOC classes and distance learning, are becoming integrated into traditional course formats. Learners are rewarded with a digital badge upon completion of certain skills, and early research argues that badges can increase motivation and add incentive to the learning process.
- New Issue of Assessment Update is Available NowThe latest issue of Assessment Update: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for September/October 2013 is now available. Articles in this issue include Eloise Knowlton's "Through the Rearview Looking Glass: Collaborative Writing and the Accreditation Self-Study,” Tiffany Hamlett and Mary Bold’s "Faculty Development for Online Institutions,” and Sarah Keeling, Kara Woodlee, and Michelle Maher’s "Assessment is Not a Spectator Sport: Experiencing Authentic Assessment in the Classroom.”
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) invites attendees to one of their free online open forums to learn more about the work of their task force appointed to oversee substantial revisions to the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Learn more here.
- This article offers suggestions for improving the online learning experience for MOOCs so that students feel more engaged and are willing to participate in online class discussions and forums. These changes have the potential to lead to increased pass rates for MOOCs.
- Several community colleges are aiming to increase civic engagement among commuter and adult students. Numerous institutions created mapping projects to get students involved in service learning in their own neighborhoods.
A study released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development claims that adults in the U.S. have below-average basic literacy skills. Carol Geary Schneider, president of AAC&U, said the results should prompt colleges, not just public education, to focus on policies that raise proficiency levels in K-12 education.
- This professor reflects on an assignment that successfully engaged students with course material and strengthened the learning experience in the classroom.
- This student questions the validity of standardized testing and the significance of the CLA+, a test which measures graduating seniors’ growth and evidence of work-readiness skills.
- Are Illinois High School Graduates Ready for College and Careers?
Three reports released by the Pathways Resource Center address the importance of policies that promote college and career readiness for Illinois high school students.
- This article describes the steps taken by Lebanon Valley College to retain accreditation and how the college used academic assessment to focus on its primary mission of student learning.
- The University of Wisconsin will start its competency-based education program, called Flex Option, later this year. The program is designed to increase the number of degree holders in the state, but faculty members responsible for designing assessments for the Flex Option are skeptical that the program will meet academic standards.
- Ontario College of Art and Design adopted a new grading policy which assesses course work in relation to how well it meets the learning outcomes for a specific course. OCAD describes this new policy as transparent and fair for students.
- The latest issue of Liberal Education features an article on efforts to encourage critical thinking in online classes. Also featured is an article on the success of Michigan State University’s initiative to integrate institution-specific student learning goals with the VALUE rubric for global learning.
- New software at Purdue University, called Signals, is tracking students’ progress in certain classes and whether or not they have completed assignments. Classes using Signals have seen higher retention rates than those without the software.
- Testing firms are responding to the push in accountability in higher education by offering skills assessments. These new assessments track students’ learning outcomes and improvements over time, and the data will be of use to accreditors and faculty members.
- These authors offer a few examples of using formative assessment in online classrooms. Some possibilities include utilizing a double-entry journal and student-generated test questions in order to gauge student understanding.
- The Adjunct Advantage
According to the results of a survey conducted by Northeastern University, employers and the public want colleges to prepare graduates to communicate effectively and think critically. Employers also responded that it is important for students to be well-rounded rather than receive training that is too narrow and specific.
- College Board president, David Coleman, described changes to the SAT which will include a revision to the essay portion of the test. Coleman also announced that he would like to align the test more closely to high school and college curriculums.
- Students at Avans University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands were given the opportunity to structure their own learning by leading classes. As a result of this experiment, students were more engaged in the classroom and their grades improved.
- Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, shares ACE's evaluation and research initiative to review MOOCs for college credit and to examine their academic potential to increase student learning and strengthen college curriculums.
- George Boggs, president of the American Association of Community Colleges, discusses the importance for colleges and universities to put student learning at the center of policies and procedures so that higher education can remain valuable.
- Canadian medical education is introducing a competency-based approach that will require students to progress through milestones before they can move to the next level. The program will also include individual e-portfolios so students can see their demonstrated competencies as they advance.
- The American Academy of Arts and Sciences released a “Humanities Report Card” described as a “snapshot” of the current data on the humanities. This report card includes areas of improvement and challenges still faced by the humanities.
- In an article from The Chronicle, Alexander Astin states that institutions should strive to use before-and-after assessments that measure students’ change over time instead of end-of-course evaluations. Using the before-and-after tests along with gathering data on students’ educational experiences can help strengthen educational programs.
- California State University, Fullerton is seeking a Director of Assessment & Educational Effectiveness
California State University at Fullerton seeks an individual for the position of Director of Assessment & Educational Effectiveness to administer the development and implementation of assessment plans (including General Education and online instruction) at program, center, department, College and University levels and ensure the alignment of learning outcomes across all levels. This position will develop and administer training and guidance to faculty and staff on issues related to academic assessment. Please read more here.
- The Council for Aid to Education developed an exam that tests students’ critical thinking, problem-solving, writing, scientific and quantitative reasoning skills. Some institutions will begin using the exam to measure their students’ employability, while others will utilize the exam to assess student improvement.
AAC&U released a new publication, Ensuring Quality & Taking High-Impact Practices to Scale, which presents research on educational practices that are related to higher levels of student engagement, academic challenge, and achievement. The publication, co-authored by George Kuh, includes case studies of five campuses delivering high-impact practices.
- Universities in the U.K. are asking faculty members to state their teaching qualifications for a survey conducted by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. Officials at the agency will publish the survey data next year since they believe it is crucial that those who teach students are qualified to do so.
- University of Colorado at Denver Seeks a Library Assessment Coordinator
The Auraria Library at the University of Colorado, Denver seeks a creative, flexible and innovative individual who is able to provide leadership in developing comprehensive and sustainable assessment and evaluation programs and to work independently with internal and external campus constituents. In this newly created position, the Assessment Librarian will serve as an expert resource and engage with Library departments to analyze and report assessment data; document the Library's value and impact; and develop a comprehensive evaluation program that ensures continuous improvement and evidence-based strategic-planning and decision making. Please read more here.
- According to the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, many students enrolled in large first-year university classes are more engaged when lecture content is provided online and class time is focused on discussion and interaction.
- Inside Higher Ed's survey of professors found skepticism among faculty members about the quality of online learning. Many question whether online courses can achieve learning outcomes similar to in-person courses.
- Two professors at the University of Texas at Austin will broadcast their lectures live for their online psychology course which they are calling a synchronous massive online course or SMOC.
- Maryland University of Integrative Health is seeking a Director of Academic Assessment
Maryland University of Integrative Health invites applications for the position of Director of Academic Assessment. The Director will be responsible for managing academic assessment for on-ground and online academic programs. The position will report to the Provost and will work to integrate the academic strategy into the overall institutional assessment strategy. For more information about the position and how to apply, please click here.
- New Issue of Assessment Update is Available NowThe latest issue of Assessment Update: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for July/August 2013 is now available. Articles in this issue include Jessica Ickes and Daniel Flowers' "Student Interpretation of Selected Degree Qualifications Profile Outcomes," Gary Pike's "The Updated National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)," and Dorothy Bray's "Ingenuity: A New Super Skill, a New Assessment Challenge, a New National Conversation."
- The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association released a statement approving the initiatives of the Obama administration to encourage innovation in enhancing student learning.
- NILOA 2013 National Survey of Chief Academic Officers
The 2013 national survey of Chief Academic Officers and institutional assessment practice is currently out in the field. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey if you have received an invitation. To see a copy of the survey, please click here.
- Five possibilities for how the Common Core could impact higher education are offered in this article. One possibility is that the Common Core could reduce the need for remedial courses at colleges and universities since students would come better prepared.
- This author offers suggestions on how to reduce cheating among college students which involve increasing student learning. Low-stakes assessments, such as frequent quizzes and reflection exercises, can actually produce learning and lead to decreased rates of cheating.
- ACT Scores Slip
- This author reflects on students' higher-level thinking within courses and how professors can connect deep learning from one course to an institution's academic objectives.
- Southern New Hampshire University's College for America now has its first graduate from the competency-based program. The direct assessment associate degree is not based on the credit hour standard and students must demonstrate competencies in order to move through the program.
The American College Personnel Association released a publication titled Assessment in Practice: A Companion Guide to the ASK Standards which provides examples of best practices of assessment according to the Assessment Skills and Knowledge Standards.
- Students enrolled in a new competency-based program at Northern Arizona University will receive a second transcript called a "competency report," which outlines students' proficiency in required concepts. Some assessment experts claim that, while they are not ideal, the competency reports may provide more substantive evidence of student learning than the traditional transcript.
- Capella University's competency-based FlexPath program has received approval from the US Department of Education. The program is online, self-paced and allows for assessment based on demonstrated competencies rather than credit hours.
- This article explores the advantages and potential consequences of computerized instruction and testing. Proponents claim that technology-based may allow for more individualized learning and real-time assessment. Opponents, however, suggest that using technology as a replacement for teachers could lead to a "tech-oriented, tested-focus education reform."
- According to a report from Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, many students who return to high school in Ontario do so in order to pursue postsecondary education.
- Some institutions plan to offer transfer credit for courses completed through MOOCs, particularly Coursera and Udacity. Universities are attempting to determine how to measure the learning that takes place in a MOOC course and how that learning will transfer.
- Career Education Corporation is utilizing adaptive learning in its courses in an effort to improve student success. Officials at Career Education view the data-driven tools of adaptive learning as beneficial for helping faculty adjust teaching strategies and increasing student persistence and completion rates.
- The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development created an international testing system that would assess what students around the world are learning in colleges and universities. According to the organization, this new system will measure teaching quality and learning outcomes as a response to the increasing influence of university rankings.
- This author predicts 15 innovations that will change the face of higher education within the next three years. A few of these predictions include increased competency-based education, personalized adaptive learning, and evidence-based pedagogy.
- The latest issue of Liberal Education features a Transparency Initiative project which helps faculty identify and adopt learning and teaching methods that are best suited to achieving desired outcomes. The project has found that transparent teaching and learning methods allow students to gain an enhanced understanding of their learning.
- U-Multirank, an initiative funded by the European Commission, is offering university rankings based on five dimensions: teaching and learning, research, knowledge transfer, international orientation, and regional engagement. The developers consider these dimensions to be meaningful indicators of institutional strength and diversity.
- Starting this fall, Iowa's three public universities will be required by state law to create formative and summative assessments and submit proposals for using assessment to improve student learning. Faculty members will be given flexibility in defining methods of measurement and learning outcomes that will best contribute to continuous improvement.
- This author centered his teaching techniques on Kolb's Experiential Learning Model (ELM) for an online course and found that a valuable student-centered learning environment is possible in an online setting.
- The North Carolina Community College System released a report illustrating the performance of its 58 campuses. The performance measures focus on student progress, and the report is considered a step towards accountability.
- The Higher Learning Commission approved a competency-based degree program at the University of Wisconsin. The Flexible Option program is the first at a major public university and is being seen as a way to increase the number of degree holders in the state.
- New Yardstick of Quality
Articles in The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed discuss the Voluntary Institutional Metrics Project which is comprised of 18 institutions that collaborated together to create metrics that are comparable across institutions. The project established five metrics in an effort to give government officials a more accurate view of colleges and universities.
- Facing challenges to establish quality assurance within European higher education, this author suggests that institutions should grant grades based on fixed key learning outcomes instead of the learning outcomes of a student cohort. Accountability and transparency might also lead to increased quality assurance and mutual recognition of degrees.
- Making the Case for Liberal Arts
Articles in The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed highlight a report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that emphasizes the importance of the humanities and social sciences. The report argues they provide a broad, comprehensive, and balanced form of education that prepares graduates to be well-rounded.
- Some universities in Canada are seeking U.S. accreditation in an effort to implement assessment practices that will ensure quality standards are met. The move to gain U.S. accreditation will also drive institutional efforts in assessment of student learning.
- Oregon State University is analyzing the success of students enrolled in their online courses. This review process is aiming to evaluate how learning outcomes should be developed for online learning.
- A study of learning studios by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario has found increased satisfaction from students and faculty. The authors also noted the environment of learning studios encouraged the implementation of learning strategies that had not been possible in traditional classrooms.
- New Measure of Success
Articles in The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed announce the Student Achievement Measure (SAM) which was developed by six higher education associations. This new tracking method relies on different metrics than the federal government's system, and it aims to provide a more comprehensive glimpse at how students progress and complete college.
- New Issue of Assessment Update is Available NowThe latest issue of Assessment Update: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for May/June 2013 is now available. Articles in this issue include Maureen Snow Andrade's "Launching E-Portfolios: An Organic Process," Trudy Banta's "Envisioning Learning," Debra Smith's "Working at Assessment," and Peter Ewell's "From the States."
- The Educational Testing Service developed two new assessment tools that will measure student learning. Students who take the tests will be assessed on reading, writing, critical thinking and ability to navigate through digital technology.
- Northern Arizona University received approval from the Higher Learning Commission to offer competency-based online degrees. The program, Personalized Learning, will allow students to demonstrate prior knowledge and learning will be self-paced and customized for students.
- Judith Eaton, president of CHEA, presented her thoughts on the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act which was initiated in April and whether traditional accreditation can be sustained.
- Smooth Lectures Foster Only the Illusion of Learning, Study Finds
- AAC&U's Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) project released a rubric to assess global learning. The rubric was developed for AAC&U's Essential Learning Outcomes for students graduating in an increasing global society.
- A new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario examined the experiences of non-traditional students who participated in college preparatory programs. The authors suggested that the quality of preparatory programs should be in focus so students are properly prepared for the transition into postsecondary programs.
- Students who interact more with their international classmates gain a greater cultural awareness and develop intellectual skills that can benefit them after graduation. The authors of this study suggest that colleges can foster greater international interaction on their campuses.
- Researchers at MIT and Harvard published a study that found students enrolled in MOOC classes who worked offline with someone else had better scores than those who worked on their own. The authors hope to use this research to understand which students are most likely to succeed in MOOCs.
- An article by Cliff Adelman discusses the importance of the DQP as a tool for clarifying what degrees mean as expressed by statements of competencies. Using the DQP as a framework, competencies can be demonstrated throughout a student's academic career in multiple courses not just through credits and GPA scores.
- The University of Guelph adopted learning outcomes for its graduate programs that correspond to the learning outcomes recently approved for the undergraduate curriculum. This makes the university the first institution in Canada believed to have across-the-board learning outcomes for all its degree programs.
The Southern Education Foundation released a publication on the importance of assessment at minority serving institutions and how they can document and convey student learning on their campuses. The publication can be found in NILOA's Resource Library.
- Educational quality is no longer only under the control of higher education institutions and accreditors as government involvement has increased globally. This author suggests one way for higher education institutions to regain control is to agree on how quality can be defined and demonstrated.
- The Higher Learning Commission approved Capella University's pilot program of competency-based education which uses direct assessment instead of credit hours to track learning.
A new group created by CHEA introduced a series of policy briefs that will focus on quality assurance of higher education institutions in an international setting. The first issue of Policy Brief can be found in the NILOA Resource Library.
- Less Academically Adrift?
Articles in The Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed highlight studies conducted by the Council for Aid to Education (CAE) that suggest there is significant growth in student learning during college. This contrasts findings from the authors of Academically Adrift that found there is little growth in student learning in colleges.
- The makers of learning management systems are looking for developers to design an application that will work across their different products to create a common 'edtech ecosystem.'
The American College Personnel Association released a publication titled Accreditation and the Role of the Student Affairs Educator which includes a chapter on assessment and institutional effectiveness. The publication can be found in NILOA's Resource Library.
- Peer Review (Volume 15, Number 1) focuses on how administrators, faculty, and staff can collaborate and work together to promote successful learning outcomes.
- AAC&U published a print version of the DQP which features a new preface by Terrel Rhodes, Vice President of AAC&U, and offers advice and direction on how to assess learning in relation to the competencies outlined in the DQP.
- A blog posting by George Kuh discusses the revision of the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) and proposes four additional modifications that focus on emphasizing transparency efforts in assessment and accountability. Editor's note: NILOA's Transparency Framework can be used as a guide for institutions to evaluate and present evidence of student learning.
This article explores the recent revisions of the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) based in part on feedback from a 2012 NILOA report that found the VSA needed to expand the range of assessment tools for it to be useful to institutions. Co-author Stan Ikenberry is interviewed in the article.
- A simple but effective assignment has the potential to get students thinking more critically about challenging reading assignments, and this can lead to greater student engagement in the classroom.
- Vocational assessments can provide information for exploring career options, but since they only highlight part of a person's interests, university career centers must be careful not to rely solely on taking tests when helping students choose careers.
- After working on a series of projects to examine assessment measures, HEQCO identified learning outcomes as the most fundamental element of quality assurance. They invited six institutions to join a consortium committed to the assessment of learning and cognitive skills.
- A second generation of MOOCs is emerging aiming to address the issue of quality by integrating distance education with on-ground programs so students are able to receive feedback and other academic support services in order to be successful.
- This author wonders if it is possible to develop an assessment system that demonstrates the value of educational programs instead of adopting numerical measurements to assess what students are learning.
- The Voluntary Framework of Accountability is aiming to measure community college students' progress and outcomes, and there is potential for the VFA to influence institutional improvement and policy on accountability.
- This author suggests five areas that should guide institutions when reviewing program assessment plans to ensure that assessment activities and reports actually produce change.
- New Issue of Assessment Update is Available NowThe latest issue of Assessment Update: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for March/April 2013 is now available. Articles in this issue include Carolinda Douglass and Eric Niemi's "Including Students in Student Assessment," Mitchell Peterson and Amanda Gustafson's "Using Curriculum-Embedded Assessments of Student Learning: Establishing a Model for Internal Benchmarking," and Gary Pike's "Assessment Measures."
- African nations have agreed to develop a system of quality assurance for higher education which will also include a framework for students that transfer among African universities.
The University of Illinois at Chicago was the focus of a case study to develop and implement a course-based general education assessment. Click here to read the case study.
- With the U.S. Department of Education's approval to receive federal financial aid for students, Southern New Hampshire University's College for America program is moving forward to offer an associate degree based on demonstrating competencies instead of credit hours.
- Smart Sparrow, a new online-learning platform, gives educators the tools to design customized interactive content which allows for instant feedback and more personalized online learning for students.
- A group of higher education associations, accreditors, and foundations are attempting to define a shared framework for competencies and whether they are established at the course level or across a curriculum in order to take the next step into competency-based education.
- A report released by HEQCO indicates that Ontario's postsecondary education system is efficient and accessible, but there is a lack of consensus on the definition of quality. This has prompted the need to focus on using learning outcomes as quality indicators.
- WASC released a penultimate draft of their 2013 Handbook which includes a brief discussion of the DQP as a framework for institutions to convey the meaning of degrees.
- A new Florida bill would allow any individual, organization or institution to create courses and seek accreditation status from Florida officials. This has many faculty members concerned about the transfer of instruction and curriculum evaluation to commercial organizations.
- More Than a Major
- The Association of College and Research Libraries has selected 75 institutional teams to participate in the Assessment in Action program. These campus teams will develop and implement a project that examines the impact of a library on student success as well as contributions to assessment activities.
- Adaptive learning which uses forms of computer-aided instruction may have the potential to positively impact higher education by allowing the learner to adapt to the curriculum in more effectual ways.
- The California Assembly will be considering a bill later this month that would create a new university that will allow students to obtain knowledge from any source and pay a fee to take exams for credit.
- This author wonders if required assessment will stifle students' creativity and if it's possible to hand the task of formative assessment over to students in order to encourage independent thinking.
- Kansas State University is seeking an Assistant Director of Assessment
The Office of Assessment at Kansas State University invites applications for the position of Assistant Director of Assessment. The assistant will work with the Director on projects of the Office of Assessment, all of which have an overriding goal of the improvement of student learning at Kansas State University. For more information about the position and how to apply, please click here.
- Author points to the growing criticism of study abroad programs that assess student satisfaction rather than measurable learning and growth. A six-level, developmental classification system with related outcomes is discussed.
- As internationalization becomes more essential to postsecondary education, it is important to define global learning outcomes so institutions can measure and assess students in order to produce graduates that are prepared for a changing global environment.
- A new study published by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) examined the benefits of participating in on campus activities and that students involved scored higher in time management and problem solving skills.
In Part 3 of this series, the author considers the benefits of service learning and if drawing connections between coursework and real-world context can open students' eyes to the applicability of learned skills and knowledge.
- Student Aid Awarded for Competencies
- According to a new study published by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), using tablet devices in the classroom allows for instant instructor feedback and student collaboration and can possibly improve student performance and participation.
- The State University of New York System is moving to adopt prior-learning assessment programs along with competency-based education and MOOCs, all of which are aimed at helping students finish degrees in less time and for less money.
- The U.S. Department of Education's decision to award student aid based on measured competencies has the potential to reimagine the academic calendar and provide flexibility for students to improve learning and reduce costs.
- Laptop Browsing
- NILOA to Launch Second Annual Survey of Chief Academic Officers
In April 2013, NILOA will send a survey to all accredited two- and four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. to gain a current picture of outcome assessment practices nationwide. The results will update findings from NILOA's first national survey conducted in 2009.
- Remedial Reboot
- HEQCO | New HEQCO Book Explores the Global Arena of Learning OutcomesA new book from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) presents an overview of global learning outcome initiatives. Included in the book is a section by Jillian Kinzie that focuses on measurement.
- Postsecondary Quality Assurance
- With the invention of MOOCs, instructors have to rely on peer grading, but this author wonders if the process is truly beneficial for students.
- Peer Review (Volume 14, Number 4) details how changes to the MCAT will focus on more broad integrative learning outcomes than specific course requirements.
- Competency-based education is growing in many states and increasingly focusing on addressing mastery of learning as opposed to seat time through assessing learning by direct assessment.
- An unexpected consequence of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, is that faculty members adapting their courses for an online format have begun to pay more attention to their teaching methods.
- The results from a survey of employers found that employers value degrees, but are interested in students who are capable of translating and applying academic knowledge to real world settings.
- A new study has found that standardized high school tests can be good predictors of student success at community colleges, but the study also identified an achievement gap that prompts the need to better understand the path between high school and community college.
- The College Board is planning to redesign the SAT in an effort to better prepare students to make a meaningful transition into postsecondary education by focusing on a core set of knowledge and skills essential to college success.
- Faculty members recognize that reforming teaching and learning to effectively engage students has become increasingly important, but difficulties arise in implementing the changes.
- The Graduate Management Admission Council announced a new mechanism to test the 'soft skills' of students looking to develop their strengths and improve weaknesses when applying to jobs.
- The 2013 Assessment Institute is currently accepting proposals for conference sessions. Please submit your proposals no later than March 29, 2013.
- Florida International University introduced a new global learning requirement that will give faculty an assessment matrix to evaluate students' global learning engagement and awareness.
In Part 2 of this series, the author explores how some students are highly successful at transferring applied learning from one class to another.
- Plans for Accreditation
- New Issue of Assessment Update is Available NowThe latest issue of Assessment Update: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for January/February 2013 is now available. Articles in this issue include Kristin Janke, Katherine Kelley, and Suzanne Solimann's "The Power of Many: Building Capacity for Assessment Through Cross Institutional Collaboration," Peter Ewell's "From the States," Tracey Anderson's "Building a Culture of Assessment in the Arts and Sciences," and Kevin Possin's "A Fatal Flaw in the Collegiate Learning Assessment Test."
- A number of Canadian academic libraries have become increasingly engaged in assessment of student learning and have launched a project that will measure information literary skills among students.
- Linn State Technical College is measuring students' job readiness and adding scores to their transcripts in hopes of offering employers a prediction of job performance.
- George Kuh, awarded the 2013 Robert Zemsky Medal for Innovation in Higher Education, discusses his research with measuring student engagement and how institutions can use assessment data to develop practices that have a higher impact on learning.
The Association of Governing Boards published the second edition of Making the Grade: How Boards Can Ensure Academic Quality by Peter Ewell which focuses on effective quality assessment.
- CHEA announced the 2013 winners of the Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes.
- The higher education community is currently facing challenges from critics to effectively articulate the purpose and value of higher education. This author suggests a few starting points to shape the conversation.
- A number of Canadian universities are now developing measures to assess student learning, but concerns remain among faculty members.
- Data from the IDEA Center recognizes the importance of small class sizes for student learning, however, they found productive student work habits along with motivation can be more important predictors of student achievement than class size.
- The Carnegie Foundation's effort to rethink its credit hour unit has this author contemplating how to measure student learning and if the Degree Qualifications Profile can be a suitable framework.
- Inside Higher Ed shares the findings of their 2013 survey of university and college provosts which includes self-evaluations of using data to identify and assess student outcomes.
- Arizona State University is utilizing new software in classrooms aimed at giving instructors real-time information on how well their students understand material.
- A new report analyzes the effectiveness of senior capstone projects on students' ability to integrate knowledge across courses and disciplines.
- A new study by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) recommends colleges and universities implement institutional information literacy strategies to help students develop the ability to locate, evaluate and accurately utilize complex information.
- New research is focusing on the difficulty students experience transferring applied learning from one class to another.
- Find out about what's new with NILOA in addition to recent news items about learning outcomes assessment in this month's newsletter.
- The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) this week announced that it is now partnering with colleges to directly award college credit based on its LearningCounts prior learning assessments, which measure learning gained outside of the traditional classroom.
- Lumina Foundation Adopts New Tactics to Reach College-Completion Goal
- University of New Haven (CT) is seeking a Director of Academic Assessment
The University of New Haven (CT) is seeking a Director of Academic Assessment. The Director reports to the Associate Provost and assists the Universitys Assessment Committee. The position involves providing training to faculty to assist with development of learning outcomes; contributing to collection and analysis of assessment data; and contributing to ongoing efforts using surveys, e-portfolios, and program evaluation. Experience with assessment of LEAP-inspired general education, experiential education, and with agency assessment requirements is a plus. For more information, click here.
- A newly released book based on a qualitative study of 55 faculty members suggests that faculty members constantly think about how to be more effective teachers.
- Rob Miller of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed software enabling rapid grading of assignments which allows for prompt student feedback.
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth invites applications for the open position of Director of Learning Assessment. Requirements for the position include a bachelor’s degree and formal training in survey design and qualitative research. For more information about the position and how to apply, please click here.
- While many institutions are measuring the value added of a college degree, new research suggests that student motivation on such tests is a clear predictor of student performance.
- New Issue of Assessment Update Now AvailableThe latest issue of Assessment Update: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for November/December 2012 is now available. Articles in this issue include Barbara June Rodriguezs Accreditation and Assessment: The Root of My Teaching Metamorphosis, Keston H. Fulcher and Bozhidar Bashkovs Do We Practice What We Preach? The Accountability of an Assessment Office, Jeremy Penns Assessing Assessment: Strategies for Providing Feedback on Assessment Practices, Kevin Schoepps Lessons Learned: Building a Sustainable Assessment Program in the United Arab Emirates, and Daniel Domins Assessment Carols.
- Based on the number of reader comments, social shares, and other factors, Faculty Focus has highlighted 12 of its 250 published articles related to teaching and learning that stood out in 2012
- Despite little national consensus on what constitutes college-readiness, many are calling for the use of more creative placement processes beyond tests.
Open position: Director of Assessment for the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego. Position entails coordinating accreditation activities, program review, fostering a culture of assessment, and analysis of data. The director provides leadership and oversight of assessment activities for the purposes of program development and evaluation, accreditation, and institutional effectiveness. For additional information see this job posting.
- The American Historical Association is defining learning expectations through a Tuning Project focused on outlining a set of skills and habits of mind that college-educated students should have in relation to history.
- University of Minnesota will begin using qualitative models in addition to traditional quantitative models to assess doctoral education.
- Complete College America on Wednesday reiterated its urgent call for reforming remedial education, arguing that incremental fixes wont be enough.
- Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College will begin issuing workplace readiness certificates alongside conventional credentials.
- The Center for Measuring College Behaviors and Academics at Indiana State University has just issued its latest report of results measuring 7 critical domains of student behavior.
- Author argues that course assignments should be constructed in such a way that students are able to showcase their learning in meaningful ways for both the student and the faculty who are left to grade the work.
- As institutions continue to engage in assessment of student learning, finding means to connect learning outcomes assessment with current faculty and staff everyday work practices becomes increasingly necessary.
- The American Federation of Teachers is proposing a national exam that all new teachers -- whether prepared by teacher education or other programs -- would have to take to be certified.
- Volume 11, Issue 3 of The Toolbox is now available, entitled Put That in Writing: Helping Students Improve Writing Skills.
- Students assessment of campus libraries finds that while some use the library only for a quiet place to study, many still appreciate the availability of print materials to aid their research.
- David C. Paris will step down as executive director of the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability and assume a newly created position, vice president for integrative liberal learning and the global commons, at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
- Wisconsin System announces its new competency-based degree offerings which incorporates not just self-paced coursework but knowledge gained through experiences such as military and on-the-job training.
- Citing evidence, the author highlights the different perspectives students and faculty have when deciphering course evaluations.
- Find out about what's new with NILOA in addition to recent news items about learning outcomes assessment in this month's newsletter.
- Member institutions of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) are increasingly engaging with assigning students credit for prior learning.
- Author argues that institutions must rethink ways to achieve the desired outcomes of studying abroad for students who do not travel abroad.
- Peer Review (Volume 14, Number 3) focuses on how faculty are using high-impact educational practices in individual classrooms across an array of disciplines.
- The Winter 2012 issue of Research & Practice in Assessment is now available for download and provides several articles of interest to assessment practitioners and scholars.
- Additional measures of student learning beyond grades are needed in order to document deep learning.
- Rigorous assessment of student learning in MOOCs may alleviate concerns about educational quality and answer questions about reducing the per-student cost of teaching them.
- Culturally competent teaching and learning facilitates critical reflection, demands respect for others, involves accommodating individual learners, requires the use of intercultural communication skills, and requires focused activities and intentionally structured environments.
- Prior-learning assessment is gaining momentum as more states and public colleges, with help from foundations, examine ways to grant credit for a variety of experiences.
- Director of Assessment, Institutional Effectiveness, and Compliance at Mansfield University
- Drawing students attention to the learning process can deepen the learning experience.
- Wage studies that analyze which majors correlate with higher earnings ignore other parts of the job-success equation.
- A recent study suggests there is little difference in the learning of students in online or in-person introductory science courses.
- Initial data suggests flipping the classroom may lead to higher test scores.
- Article argues that increasing the amount of writing in coursework and assessments will improve student outcomes overall and provide a better glimpse into student learning.
- Article provides an impetus to include scaffolding opportunities for each major or key assignment in a course along with tips.
- Listen to a previously recorded Live Text-sponsored webinar by Mr. Ralph Wolff, President of WASC.
- The Association of College and Research Libraries is currently seeking applications, by 5pm Central on November 8, 2012, to fill four assessment related positions (one peer-to-peer instructional design expert and three curriculum designers/facilitators).
- Assuring Quality is designed to be part of an institutions formative evaluation process with a focus on continuous improvement.
- New Issue of Assessment Update Now AvailableThe latest issue of Assessment Update: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for September/October 2012 is now available. Articles in this issue include Nagy Bengiamin and Christina Leimer's "SLO-Based Grading Makes Assessment an Integral Part of Teaching", Trudy Bantas "Editors Notes," Shannon Sexton's "Assessment Plans: A Tool for Sanity," Uche Ohia and Youssouf Diallo's "Lessons from Multiple Institutional Assessment Measures of Specific Student learning Outcomes and Satisfaction." In addition, columns on "Assessment Measures" by Gary Pike and "Community College Strategies" by Dianna Renz are included.
- This article presents a meta analysis on how peer assessment keeps group members accountable for their work but may impede learning outcomes.
Applications for CHEA’s Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes are due October 15th, 2012. Download the Application here.
NILOA conducted its first webinar in a series on assessment and the Degree Qualifications Profile on October 5th, 2012. Listen to it here.
- The authors argue that while student attitudes, values, ethical considerations, and habits of mind are difficult to measure, they play a vital role in student learning and should be considered.
- The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities have committed to increasing the number of baccalaureate degrees by 2025.
- Research indicates that the underutilization of high-impact practices by non-tenure-track faculty lead to adverse effects on student learning.
- Article highlights Tufts Universitys longitudinal study assessing the impact of continued student engagement in civic activities at Tufts and beyond.
- Southern New Hampshires growing online environment will break new ground as they seek to assess students competencies without direct connection to credit hours.
- Register for NILOA's First Webinar
Please register for Assessment and the Degree Qualifications Profile on Oct 5, 2012 12:00 PM CDT at:
This webinar is the first in a series on assessment within the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP). The webinar will provide a brief overview of assessment resources and institutional activity as it relates to the DQP.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
- Highlighting how vital data tracking is to quality assessment, this article argues for better federal and state methods for gathering and making student data available for accountability and to aid institutional improvement purposes.
- As assessment efforts and accountability concerns expand internationally, the Council for Higher Education and Accreditation (CHEA) launched an international division to promote and facilitate dialogue between colleges and various organizations around the world regarding quality assurance.
- To ensure that students are ready for college and beyond, this article explores how high schools are incorporating college and career readiness standards into exit exams.
- Responding to the increasing focus on student outcomes, Ashford University reduces its admissions staff to shift resources to ensure students academic success.
- Find out about what's new with NILOA in addition to recent news items about learning outcomes assessment in this month's newsletter.
- Report proposes a "learning exchange" to make the transition from associates degree to bachelors degree more efficient.
- New International Quality Assurance Group
- Article proposing, among other things, a means by which student learning in MOOCs may be assessed.
- This article gives examples of how different professors experimented with their teaching approach to enhance student learning.
- edX Offers Proctored Exams Through Pearson's Testing Centers
- Study found 88 percent of physics faculty knew about "research-based instructional strategies" and 82 percent had tried these strategies. The article explains, however, that sustaining these practices proved difficult.
- The City Colleges of Chicago American Federation of Teachers chapter voted to accept a contract which bases bonuses on eight metrics on student outcomes.
- According to a survey of adjunct faculty, hiring practices and few instructional resources are barriers to effective teaching.
- This article illustrates the challenges of peer-grading in a MOOC setting.
Describes discussions from The Teagle Foundation's, "What Works and What Matters in Student Learning" convening. Other reports can be found on The Teagle Foundation's website which include the topics: Presidential and Board Leadership in Student Learning, Teaching and Learning Centers, and Research Universities and Student Learning.
- The National Technical Institute for the Deaf believes a unique database can give Congress an idea of what value its credentials add.
- In responding to a need to serve more adult learners, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is expanding their prior learning assessment through a partnership with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.
- Mark Salisbury has a new blog entitled, "Delicious Ambiguity" which will explore topics in institutional research and assessment.
- This article examines how student failure can be used as a tool to assess student learning.
- Eastern Connecticut State University is featured for its work with applied learning in its Liberal Arts program.
- Two Tenure-Track Faculty Positions in Assessment and Measurement Open at James Madison University
The Center for Assessment and Research Studies and Department of Graduate Psychology at James Madison University invites applications for two tenure-track faculty positions in Assessment and Measurement. Requirements for the positions include a doctorate in a relevant field, credentials, and a scholarship record commensurate with rank, and effective organizational and communication skills. For more information about this position and how to apply, please click here.
- Assessment of applied learning in medical schools is the focus of this article.
- A brief overview of a new service by Seelio which provides employers a place to view online portfolios of potential graduates.
- Adult students from Marylhurst University voice their perspectives regarding the awarding of credit for prior learning.
The effect of the currently large use of contingent faculty, or adjuncts, on student learning is a focus of a report titled "Report on the Project Working Meeting" by the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success.
A report titled "Where to Begin? The Evolving Role of Placement Exams for Students Starting College" by Jobs for the Future examined the use and effectiveness of placement tests in higher education. Instead of placement tests, some states are creating homegrown assessments of college readiness.
- UCLA's use of capstones, along with its strengths and challenges, are of focus in this article.
- In an effort to increase transparency, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) recently announced that they would make its accreditation reports public.
- ACT's newest assessment system "will assess skills and knowledge associated with success in college and careers, starting with basic reading and mathematical ability, and then progressing to higher-level skills, track students academic progress and professional goals, and include measurements of 'academic behavioral skills,' such as teamwork and motivation."
- Arizona State University and Austin Peay University's use of data mining, or predicting grades of students before they enter the classroom, is the focus of a recent article.
- A template, developed by WASC, used to track the retention and graduation of adult students is just one attempt to document student success of the adult learner population.
- Northern Arizona University, in conjunction with Pearson, is the latest higher education institution to adopt a competency-based model to offer degrees in business administration, computer information technology and liberal studies which includes an assessment of prior learning.
A report from the National Research Council titled "Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century" recommends a "deeper learning" approach to teaching students which includes three types of skill groups - cognitive, intrapersonal, interpersonal.
- According to the website, this report "presents comparative data on achievement over time across an array of liberal education outcomessuch as critical thinking, writing, civic engagement, global competence, and social responsibility...[and] highlights new approaches to advancing meaningful assessment with effective pathways for learning and student success."
- The University of Wisconsin system's decision to offer competency-based or flexible degrees, without the assistance of Western Governors University, is of focus in this article.
- The use of assessment in "liberally educated" professional programs is highlighted in this issue.
- The newest issue of Research & Practice in Assessment has now been released. Some of the articles include: "For Tests that are Predictively Powerful and Without Social Prejudice" by Joseph A. Soares; "Growing Up with No Child Left Behind: An Initial Assessment of the Understanding of College Students' Knowledge of Accountability Testing" by Anna Zilberberg, Robin D. Anderson, Peter J. Swerdzewski, Sara J. Finney; and a Note In Brief "Finding the Right Fit: Choosing an Assessment Conference" by Carrie L. Zelna and Stephany B. Dunstan.
- A K through 12 assessment system of student readiness developed by ACT and aligned with the Common Core Standards is the focus of this article.
Competency-based degree programs and student assessments are of focus in the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning's latest report, Competency-Based Degree Programs in the U.S.: Postsecondary Credentials for Measurable Student Learning and Performance.
The Council of Independent Colleges' (CIC) latest report, An Analysis of Learning Outcomes of Underrepresented Students at Urban Institutions, has just been released. Findings of learning outcomes, as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment, of students at 19 urban and non-urban CIC institutions are examined.
The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) recently released its report, A New Classification Scheme for For-Profit Institutions, which outlines a three-level classification framework - market-level, institutional-level and individual-level - to describe for-profit institutions.
- New Issue of Assessment Update Now Available
The latest issue of Assessment Update: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for May/June 2012 is now available. Articles in this issue include Trudy Banta's "Collective Assessment and DQP Follow-Up," Gregory Burton's "A 'Wisdom of Crowds' Approach to Outcomes Assessment," and Marilee Bresciani's "Adding Humor to the Position Descriptions of Assessment Coordinators." In addition, articles involving assessment within community colleges, internship programs, and data management systems are included.
- This article focuses on University of Wisconsin's "flexible degree" online program, allowing students to test out of units supported through its use of a competency-based model.
- Peer learning used at Peer 2 Peer University, a three year old online institution, is the focus of this article.
A new publication from NAFSA: Association of International Educators titled "Measuring and Assessing Internationalization" by Madeleine F. Green which examines the performance of institutions and student learning outcomes through two different frameworks is now available.
- The goal of a new plan titled the "State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement," established through a partnership between the Presidents Forum and the Council of State Governments, is "to streamline the procedures required to offer classes in multiple states" and create a sustainable governance model.
The Institute for a Competitive Workforce recently released its report, "Leaders & Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card Public Postsecondary Education" which measures states' student access and success, efficiency and cost effectiveness, meeting labor market demand, transparency and accountability, policy environment, and innovation of its postsecondary institutions. Recommendations are also offered.
- This article looks at the possibility of granting course credit for MOOCs (massive open online courses) through the use of prior learning portfolios.
- A competition to develop algorithms that effectively predict scores of student essays is of focus in this article.
- Virginia Tech Geography Professor John Boyer, describes how he uses assessment to demonstrate learning in his large classes.
- The experiences of students around the world using open courseware (such as MITx, Yale University and Stanford University) are chronicled.
- Designing online courses are the focus of this article.
- In this essay, the author questions the value of LSATs in assessing a student's success in law school.
- This essay offers a view of the current state of higher education in relation to MOOCs (massive open online courses), such as MITx, edX, or the Open Learning Initiative.
- This article describes the use of social networks (i.e., Google +, LinkedIn, Facebook) in an effort to track student outcomes.
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) released a report, "Connect, Collaborate, and Communicate" which stresses the value of academic libraries and their importance in assessment work on campus. Five recommendations for libraries are offered.
- Teagle Foundation's What Works and What Matters in Student Learning Conference
An article on barriers to quality competency-based education in higher education. A white paper, "A 'Disruptive' Look at Competency-Based Education: How the Innovative Use of Technology Will Transform the College Experience," is also available from the Center for American Progress.
- A brief article on the rise of awarding certificates in higher education.
This newest monograph, "Learning Outcomes Assessment Step-by-Step: Enhancing Evidence-Based Practice in Career Services," by Julia Panke Makela and Gail S. Rooney, examine learning outcomes assessments in career services offices. Examples of practical strategies are offered.
The latest report of the National Task Force on Institutional Accreditation, "Assuring Academic Quality in the 21st Century: Self-Regulation in a New Era," outlines its six recommendations to universities and regional accreditors in order to improve quality and transparency in higher education. Articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed provide highlights of the report in addition to quotes from a few of the task force members.
- Studies of research skills of undergraduate students are the focus of this article.
- An article on using cognitive disfluency in the classroom to enhance student learning.
- This brief article highlights some revisions the author plans to make in future courses as a result of student evaluations.
- Allowing students to earn academic credit learned during their apprenticeship experiences through a national network of colleges is one of the newest efforts of the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education in helping reach President Obama's 2020 college completion goal.
- Cooper's commentary voices her support for more transparency from colleges and universities to show the labor-market outcomes of their students in order for potential students to make better decisions about which college degree to pursue/which college to attend.
- In an effort to meet the nation's college completion goals, higher education institutions are looking into statewide reverse transfer systems to give "credit when it's due."
- This article describes Northern Arizona University's adoption by its faculty and administration to globalize its curriculum.
- Study Shows Promise and Challenges of Hybrid Courses
In the recent report, Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence From Randomized Trials, the authors found no significant difference in learning outcomes when comparing traditional and hybrid courses. Coverage of this report can be found in both The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.
- This article describes one professor's use of "gamification" in the classroom to enhance student learning.
- The Texas A&M System dashboard features data on graduation rates, faculty workloads, and student debt, among others is now available.
This article discusses the results of the U21 Ranking of National Higher Education System, a benchmarking tool used to to assess the quality, impact, and benefit of higher education systems in forty-eight countries in four categories: resources, output, connectivity, and environment.
- National Research Council Report on Institutional Quality Released
A report recently released by the National Research Council titled, "Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education," discusses various ways to measure institutional quality and college productivity. Articles in both The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed provide coverage.
- Talbert's innovative approach to using both formative and summative assessments in the classroom is the focus of this article.
- The quality of English universities will be reviewed by the Quality Assurance Agency, as proposed by The Higher Education Funding Council for England, in 2013-2014.
- A podcast on the recent development of edX, a partnership between Harvard University and MIT to offer Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
A new report titled, "Linking Diversity and Civic-Minded Practices with Student Outcomes: New Evidence from National Surveys," by Sylvia Hurtado and Linda DeAngelo discusses how diverse, civic-minded learning environments can contribute to positive student outcomes.
- Clemson's new requirement of emphasizing critical thinking skills during a student's sophomore year is the focus of this article.
- Recognizing the importance of the ollege credit in today's world, the Saylor Foundation has teamed up with StraighterLine to offer course credit in addition to certificates of completion.
- A commentary on assessing student learning and "value-added" scores in the revamping process of teacher-preparation programs.
- A response to No College Left Behind
W. Robert Connor responds to a recent commentary on accountability in higher education in The Washington Post. He writes:
This piece is appropriate to an election day since it is higher education's equivalent of a "wedge issue", something that divides a constituency that might otherwise be uniting for constructive change. By caricaturing CLA, and waving the red flag of "standardized test" against it, and raising fears that to use it is a step towards No Child Left Behind, and in the gratuitous swipe at Academically Adrift , this article tends to split those who have found CLA one useful means of focusing on improving student learning,dividing them from those who find other measures work better for them, for one reason or another.
People who have participated in CLA in the Classroom and the CLA Academies have really benefited, they tell me -- something totally overlooked here.
In an ideal world cross institutional comparisons would be combined with other measures of student achievement to get a fuller picture of what is happening in an institution, how it compares to its peers, and where to focus efforts to improve.
Think of the things that have emerged from the multiple-measuires approach used in the Wabash National Study, with the follow ups from the Teagle Scholars. Blaich's measures do not include CLA, but yes, "standardized," tests are used. thereby allowing cross-institutional comparisons. And I have seen institutional benefits emerge as a result.
So I cry FOUL.
- Robert J. Sternberg writes a brief commentary in The Washington Post on the use of standardized tests for accountability purposes in higher education.
- The author discusses a model from Dublin which awards faculty for their excellent work with fellowship positions. In these fellowship positions, they work as part of a research team which examine an aspect of teaching and learning on their campus in addition to their own research agenda.
- This article discusses the use of internships to enhance student learning and also benefit the local community.
A commentary in response to the recently released AACC report, "Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future."
- Prior learning assessment catches on, quietly
Read Inside Higher Ed's articles on the future of prior learning assessment. Part I provides background on the current efforts of using prior learning assessment primarily for adult learners. Part II explores the efforts in awarding credit for prior learning assessment for "college-level learning" by partnerships between corporate businesses (i.e., Walmart, Starbucks) and for-profit higher education institutions.
- This video link examines the use of data analytics to measure student learning.
- Harvard University Latest to Join Open Course Initiatives
- Did Anyone Ask the Students?
The challenges of customizing a student's learning in addition to other issues with the use of online learning platforms in college classrooms is the focus of a report titled, Barriers to Adoption of Online Learning Systems in U.S. Higher Education," authored by Lawrence S. Bacow and William G. Bowen. Articles in both IHE and The Chronicle provide coverage.
- Pennsylvania is the first state to adopt AACC's Voluntary Framework of Accountability which will aid in the collection and reporting of student progress and success measures for its 14 community colleges .
- This article describes Western Governors University's attempt to link student learning to assessments rather than the standard credit hour.
- In this commentary, the author discusses the need for faculty members to emphasize to students to study for the sake of learning rather than for exams. In addition, the use of formative and summative assessment to assess students' learning is discussed.
An opinion piece discussing current measurements of student learning. A response to this article in The Chronicle of Higher Ed can be found here.
- In this essay, the authors list four areas needed in higher education reform in order to strengthen its culture of teaching and learning.
- Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor are some of the latest institutions to offer open online courses similar to MITx's OpenCourse Ware Initiative.
- Ideas how to improve student success, while still maintaining quality, are the focus of this article.
- At a recent education innovation conference in Arizona, conveners discussed the idea of using data mining to personalize a student's learning experience.
- The uses and effectiveness of writing skills tests for students at both Old Dominion University and Hampden-Sydney College are discussed.
- This article discusses a paper presented at the American Educational Research Association's Conference which looks at how academic motivation of students can affect their critical thinking.
- This article from the Chronicle discusses change and higher education including the potential of competency-based credentials to impact student learning.
- Contracts of part-time instructors at the City Colleges of Chicago now links their pay to student outcomes.
- A video from its President Brian Rosenberg on the value of a Macalester College education.
- This commentary discusses the future of badges in which "students will be able to customize learning goals within the larger curricular framework, integrate continuing peer and faculty feedback about their progress toward achieving those goals, and tailor the way badges and the metadata within them are displayed to the outside world."
- Update on the Revamping of Teacher-Training Colleges
- The Council of Graduate Schools begins a 3-year project at 5 institutions to help future faculty (current graduate students) with student learning outcomes assessment.
- This article discusses assessments currently used in colleges and universities to help measure their value.
- Revamping teach-training programs to use reliable measures of student learning are of primary importance in the latest discussions about programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.
"Assessing College Student Learning: Evaluating Alternative Models, Using Multiple Methods," by Robert J. Sternberg, Jeremy Penn, Christie Hawkins, and Sally Reed presents information about assessments plans and models in this publication. Institutional case studies are also provided.
- A short article about the value added to a student's education through study abroad programs.
- This article discusses the how research universities, despite their complexity and culture, change through the years but still need to pay attention to the quality of student learning.
A recent article titled, "The Learning Outcomes Race: The Value of Self-Report Gains in Large Research Universities," written by John Aubrey Douglass, Gregg Thomson, and Chun-Mei Zhao, focuses on the results obtained from the University of California’s Undergraduate Experience Survey (Student Experience in the Research University Survey: SERU-S). The authors conclude ". . . designed properly, student surveys offer a valuable and more nuanced alternative in understanding and identifying learning outcomes in the broad tapestry of higher education institutions." The article's full text can be downloaded here.
- This article describes a new aid in increasing course/degree completion - Degree Compass, software designed and used by Austin Peay State University, which is being used to predict future grades of students in courses before they even enroll in this course.
- This articles provides thoughts of those at colleges and universities using the Collegiate Learning Assessment and its effect on the accountability movement.
- A special report in Faculty Focus on assessing online learning.
- As part of Indiana's performance based funding plan through the Indiana Higher Education Commission, Indiana's public colleges and universities are tasked with finding and using assessments to appropriately track their students learning.
- This brief article discusses the successes and failures of the Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs) initiative which ran from 2005 to 2010 and was financed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
- Michael Vieira discusses the "idea of developing digital artifacts and toolkits that support common learning outcomes" in this article.
- This special report contains articles discussing college completion data and how their use affects higher education institutions.
- New Issue of Assessment Update Now Available
The latest issue of Assessment UPdate: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for January/February 2012 is now available. Two feature articles of special interest are "Getting SMART with Assessment: ACTION Steps to Institutional Effectiveness," written by Eric Daffron & Sandra Jordan and "Expectations for Assessment Reports: A Descriptive Analysis," written by Keston Fulcher, Matthew Swain, and Chris Orem. In addition, Trudy Banta and Gary Pike offer thoughts on assessment in the field.
- Seven scholars in higher education discuss the relationship between "quality" and college completion rates.
- Winners of the first Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition, judged on the "effectiveness of their assessment process and the likelihood that their badges will be accepted by institutions and employers", were just announced.
- Research Analyst Position Open at the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium at Wabash College
The Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) at Wabash College invites applications for the position of Research Analyst. The Research Analyst will work with the HEDS Director to develop and implement the consortium’s data collection, analysis, and reporting strategy. Candidates should have a Master's degree in an applicable discipline with a doctorate preferred, excellent data analytic, written communication, and oral communication skills and an interest in working flexibly as a member of a team that is reinventing itself to improve its support of the institutional effectiveness of consortium members. Strong quantitative and research skills, including appropriate experience with statistical software and Microsoft Excel are required to qualify. For more information about this position and how to apply, please visit the Wabash College web site at www.wabash.edu/employment.
- Assessments of Prior Learning for Community Colleges Now Under Scrutiny
- Changes to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education include the creation of program specific learning outcomes and the regular assessment of medical residents on the designated desired skills and behaviors.
- New techniques for teaching, which include "flipping" and making classes more "interactive", in the hopes of improving student learning, was one of many discussions at the recent National Academies conference at Rice University.
- This article urges professors to consider other teaching techniques to improve student learning, such as peer instruction.
This article discusses changes in Teacher Education Programs through a commission formed by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Of particular focus is the Teacher Performance Assessment, "a subject area-specific, performance-based assessment for pre-service teacher candidates, centered on student learning."
- The increasing role of technology to improve student learning in higher education institutions is the focus of this article.
- This blog provides an in-depth commentary about the strengths and challenges of the CLA as well as the Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO) program in trying to find the "holy grail" for assessing learning outcomes globally.
- Recommendations for improving the pedagogy of engineering professors, which may result in the retention of its students, are offered.
- This article provides an overview of Virginia's public database, to be launched in April 2012, which will contain about median earnings over a six-year period of college graduates in the state of Virginia.
Scientific knowledge is no longer of sole importance in getting a high score on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Starting in 2015, the MCAT will include sections such as psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior and critical analysis and reasoning skills. Articles in The Chronicle of Higher Ed and Inside Higher Ed highlight these new changes to the MCAT.
- The use of AAC&U's VALUE Rubrics to assess student learning at colleges and universities around the nation is the central focus of this issue.
- MITx Opens Enrollment for First Interactive Online Course
Read Lederman's interview with Richard P. Keeling and Richard H. Hersh, authors of We're Losing Our Minds, about a term they call "higher learning."
- This article provides an overview of an interview with L. Rafael Reif, MIT's provost, and Anant Agarwal, director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, about the MITx OpenCourseWare Initiative.
Program-level assessment and developing liberal education outcomes are discussed in the latest issue of AAC&U's, Liberal Education.
Read AAC&U's latest edition of Bringing Theory to Practice which highlights SUNY Cortland's assessment process.
A brief article describing President Obama's new "College Scorecard" which will hopefully help higher education institutions be more accountable and transparent about their costs (see more information about the Scorecard here).
- An update to MITx's OpenCourse Ware Initiative.
- This article describes how without the experience of teaching in a college classroom, many graduate students, or future faculty members, will not have the opportunity to understand how students learn.
- This brief article highlights Stanford's revisions to its undergraduate curriculum which focuses on the critical thinking skills of its students.
"Documenting Uncertain Times: Postgraduate Transitions of the Academically Adrift Cohort" a report written by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa as a follow-up to Academically Adrift was released at AAC&U's meeting this week.
- This article provides an overview of one of the discussions at AAC&U's Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., at which deans and administrators voiced their views about assessment, or the measurement of student learning, on their campuses.
- This article discusses the collaboration between StraighterLine, the Education Testing Service (ETS) and the Council on Aid to Education's (CAE) efforts in trying to measure learning of credentialing courses.
- Latest Guidelines on Quality Released by the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability
The New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability recently released its "Committing to Quality: Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability in Higher Education" which outline four broad principles for assessment and improvement in higher education: 1) set ambitious goals; 2) gather evidence of student learning; 3) use evidence to improve student learning; and 4) report evidence and results. Articles in both The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed highlight this publication.
- Questions arise in this article as to how learning will be assessed in MIT's Open Learning Initiative.
This article discusses one response that a company, StraighterLine, plans to use to possibly validate 'badges' (see an earlier article about badges here).
- Using formative assessment to help understand students' metacognition in the classroom is the main feature of this commentary.
Check out Charles Secolsky & D. Brian Denison's (2011) edited book, Handbook on Measurement, Assessment, and Evaluation in Higher Education, which features a chapter written by NILOA's Staci Provezis and Natasha Jankowski titled, "Presenting Learning Outcomes Assessment Results to Foster Use."
- This article discusses how badges through online learning courses are being used to help build resumes and thereby threatening traditional college programs and degrees.
- In this brief commentary from the recent Higher Ed Tech Summit, technology executives share their thoughts about how program data that could improve graduation rates and learning would not be available for at least three years.
- Assessment UPdate Now AvailableThe latest issue of Assessment UPdate: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for November/December 2011 is now available. A couple of featured articles include, "My Own Worst Enemy: Five Ways My Best Intentions Impair Assessment." written by Jeremy D. Penn and "Repairing a Broken Assessment System," written by Christie Hill Magoulias. In addition, Gary Pike takes a look at The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Surveys.
- Read Robert Connor's commentary regarding current discussions on improving student learning.
- An update about the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) recommendations.
- Read John C. Cavanaugh's abbreviated speech to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education about how accreditation needs "to adopt the approach already taken in many professions of clearly articulating what students are supposed to know and be able to demonstrate at various levels of educational attainment, and create accreditation standards and metrics that reflect it."
- This article describes a new take on using real-time technology in the classroom to help assess students' learning.
Lumina's latest edition of Focus is now available. "New Ways to Measure Student Learning" written by Susan Headden,a senior writer/editor at Education Sector, is the featured article. Findings from NILOA's surveys are included.
- Divided into two parts, AAC&U's latest publication examines the assessment of student learning on college campuses. Part 1 focuses on psychological theories of learning and achievement while Part 2 offers case studies to help understand the various assessment models and methods used by campuses.
- Available for purchase is The Chronicle of Higher Education's 2011 report on online learning. This report discusses assessment and accountability for online courses and programs.
- Check out Mary Bart's newest article profiling the presentation of Dr. Ike Shibley, Assoc. Professor in Chemistry at Penn State Berks, on matching technological tools to course learning outcomes.
- Community Colleges and Accountability
As a result of the initial pilot study, the American Association of Community Colleges urges its member institutions to adopt the newly developed Voluntary Framework of Accountability created specifically for the unique needs of community colleges. Articles on the topic can be found in both Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The newest issue of Research & Practice in Assessment has now been released. Some of the articles include: "Creating Seamless K-16 Pathways: Role of Assessment" written by Hillary R. Michaels, Katrice Hawthorne, Nuria Cuevas, and Alexei G. Mateev; "Exploring the Success of Transfer Programs For Community College Students" written by Reginald S. Blaylock and Marilee J. Bresciani; and a book review of Peggy Maki's "Coming to Terms with Student Outcomes Assessment: Faculty and Administrators’ Journeys to Integrating Assessment in Their Work and Institutional Culture" written by Dorothy C. Doolittle.
- This article highlights some of the major findings of NSSE results reported in its 2011 survey.
- Check out this article on WASC's efforts to assure quality in its region's higher education institutions in California, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.
- This article discusses the transformation of online learning, especially in respect to adult or non-traditional learners.
- Check out how Central Piedmont and other community colleges are working to improve college readiness and completion by assessing the learning styles of at-risk students and much, much more.
- This article highlights Patrick T. Terenzini, a professor of higher education at Pennsylvania State University, and Ernest T. Pascarella's, a co-director of the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education at the University of Iowa discussion on results of the Wabash National Study at the Council of Independent Colleges conference.
- This article discusses possible reasons for the rise in mid-course feedback forms for faculty use.
- A brief article describing tips to help faculty read and use feedback from student evaluations.
- Check out Dr. James T. Minor's, Director of Higher Education Programs at the Southern Education Foundation, editorial column "Minor Details" which provides "insights on the college completion agenda, higher education policy, and institutional performance." This current issue examines issues in the assessment of student learning.
- Check out AAC&U's latest issue of Diversity & Democracy which was created "to support academic leaders and educators as they design and reshape their diversity programs, civic engagement initiatives, and global learning opportunities to better prepare students for principled action in today's complex world." This issues focuses on civic learning for shared futures and includes articles such as, Assessing Civic Mindedness, Civic Literacy across the Curriculum, and Higher Education for Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement: Reinvesting Longstanding Commitments.
- This article briefly describes seven learner-centered principles to improve one's teaching as discussed in a recent online seminar by Dr. Michele DiPietro, Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Kennesaw State University.
- This article connects the teaching and learning of phlebotomy with measurable learning objectives.
- The age-old question "Should colleges' general-education programs emphasize core skills or a core curriculum?" is discussed in this article
- This article discusses the recent push in giving credit for life experience, especially for adult students, on college campuses. (Accessing this article may require login.)
- AAC&U Announces New Project on Student Learning
- In this article, the authors respond to recent critiques of measures of student engagement, specifically the NSSE and CCSSE.
- The Spellings Report, 5 Years Later
Three authors talk about the Spellings Report near its 5th anniversary in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Kelly Field's article, "Spellings Panel Spurred Progress in Some Key Areas but Failed to Remake American Higher Education" examines progress made in 3 areas: access, accountability, and affordability.
Margaret Spellings' Q&A titled,"Former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings Discusses the Impact of Her Commission" gauges progress made since the Report.
Robert Zemsky's "The Unwitting Damage Done by the Spellings Commission" gives us an insider's view of the Spellings Commission and how he sees it now.
- A brief article discussing different tools available to assess student learning rather than just the standard evaluations given to students.
- No Success on Student Measures
A new report issued by the Education Department's Committee on Measures of Student Success regarding their recommendations for judging student success at community colleges was just released. The Education Department stated that some improvements were needed for the voluntary collection, disclosure, and reporting of community colleges, especially in the areas of measuring student learning and employment. Articles in both The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed discuss the report and recommendations.
- Check out this article featuring Dr. Sherril B. Gelmon, Professor of Public Health at Portland State University, who established a methodology to assess the effectiveness of service learning programs on her campus and others.
- Texas-Size Compromise
A new framework proposed by Francisco Cigarroa, Chancellor of the University of Texas Systems Board, was recently released in an effort to become more transparent. The framework is "designed to improve accountability, outcomes, and efficiency at the systems nine academic institutions and six health centers." Articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed highlight this effort.
- Faculty from the University of Connecticut describe their experience using assessment to learn more about student writing on their campus. One of the most valuable results of conducting assessment on their campus was the dialogue among faculty.
- Assessment UPdate Now AvailableThe latest issue of Assessment UPdate: Progress, Trends and Practice in Higher Education for July/August 2011 is now available. One featured article is titled "Connecting Assessment to Resource Allocation: A Demonstration Project at Queens University of Charlotte" written by Jamie B. Slater, Timothy E. Burson, and John A. McArthur. Gary Pike's Assessment Measures column examines the RCI, Reasoning about Current Issues Test, developed by Karen Kitchener, Patricia King, and Phillip Wood in 2000.
- With the push for being data-driven institutions, this article discusses the amount students are surveyed at higher education institutions. In addition, use of rewards (gift cards, IPods, etc.) for getting larger groups of students to take surveys such as the National Survey of Student Engagement
- A brief article discussing the importance of reporting assessment information in a clear way to make them usable.
- This WICHE Policy Insights Brief describes the history and philosophy behind the Common Core State Standards that were created for K-12, with an emphasis on what they mean for higher education.
- This article describes an innovative way to calculate student success by following students for a ten year period instead of using the current methods of calculating graduation rates.
- Under the Educational Assessment topic in Faculty Focus, Mary Bart focuses on a recent presentation given by Linda Suskie, vice president at the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, discussing ways in which campus leadership can help influence a "culture of assessment."
The latest issue of Research & Practice in Assessment is now available here. Some articles contained in this issue include: Marilee J. Bresciani - "Identifying Barriers in Implementing Outcomes-Based Assessments Program Review: A Grounded Theory Analysis"; Lauren Weiner & Marilee J. Bresciani - "Can Institutions Have Quality Programming Without Utilizing a Systematic Outcomes-Based Assessment Process?"; and Walter F. Heinecke - "Reflective (Ac) Counting: Institutional Research, Evaluation, & Assessment in a Time of Cholera." A book review of "Academically Adrift" written by Kathryne Drezek McConnell is also featured.
- In this article, faculty and administrators discuss the difficulties in trying to assess student learning outcomes for ethics courses. Trudy Banta, a member of NILOA's National Advisory Panel, is featured.
This article in the May-June 2011 issue of Change Magazine discusses in more detail what is needed to reach President Obama's 2020 college completion goal. Included is information about what's needed to increase the quality of schools and of student learning in America's schools.
- In this commentary, William Tierney describes the experiences of a current student, whom he refers to as a friend, who ponders if he is "learning anything of value in college."
- This article discusses a recent conversation of the Education Department's National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) regarding suggestions towards a new national accreditation system. One suggestion that is gaining support is possibly having current regional accreditation agencies oversee academic quality of institutions while the federal government control federal dollars. Far from being done, recommendations for this new system will be given at the end of this year to the Ed Department.
- Six students in Stanford University's Structured Liberal Education program discuss the importance of a Humanities degree and what they have gained through their college years.
- This article reports on the topic of assessment at the American Association for University Professors meeting, including the panel that NILOA participated. The focus of the article is on one award-winning professors pedagogical approach that uses Blooms Taxonomy.
- Read about this teacher's commitment to transparency for her students.
- This article discusses the Education Department's Committee on Measures of Student Success recommendations for assessing student learning outcomes at community colleges.
- This article offers a preview of what's to come at the upcoming Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education conference this weekend at the University of Kentucky.
- This policy brief provides a brief timeline and examples of state performance-based strategies in higher education. Harnisch (2011) asserts "Performance-based funding for higher education has reemerged as a state policy solution aimed at generating greater institutional productivity, accountability and educational attainment" (p. 10). While performance-based systems look more at performance indicators of institutions, student learning outcomes also play a role.
- Read Herman Berliner's (Provost at Hofstra University) take on accreditation.
The Council of Graduate Schools just released their latest publication, Preparing Future Faculty to Assess Student Learning. This monograph examines professional development programs designed to help current graduate students understand more about student learning outcomes assessment. Check out the press release here.
- Find out about the new reports that NILOA is producing along with recent news items about learning outcomes assessment in this month's newsletter.
NILOA's Occasional Paper 9 titled, "What faculty unions say about student learning outcomes assessment" written by Larry Gold, Gary Rhoades, Mark Smith, and George Kuh has just been released. Articles discussing the paper were written in today's Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Check out the latest (Spring 2011) Weave Newsletter. WEAVE (2010) "guides and provides for the alignment of multiple processes, including assessment, planning, accreditation, budgeting and institutional priorities."
Results from a recent Pew Center Research survey show college and university presidents feelings about the quality of teaching and learning at their institutions.
In an effort to improve student learning outcomes, six schools - American Public University System, Colorado Community College System, Rio Salado College, University of Hawaii System, University of Illinois Springfield, and the University of Phoenix - are led by WCET (the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies) through a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The press release is located here.
- A panel created by the American Council on Education, named the National Task Force on Institutional Accreditation, consisting of college presidents and other senior administrators and heads of accreditating agencies was the feature of this article. NILOA's Stan Ikenberry was announced as one of the 25-member panel. .
- Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University, in this article acknowledges that virtual learning is here to stay. He writes about how placed-based education adds a different kind of value to student learning in comparison to virtual learning.
- Assessing Complex General Education Student Learning OutcomesEdited by Jeremy D. Penn, the latest edition of New Directions for Institutional Research (vol. 149) has just been released. Resources and tools are provided by the authors to help those interested in assessing complex general education student learning outcomes at their institutions. Some articles include: Donald L. Hatcher - "Which test? Whose scores? Comparing standardized critical thinking tests", Richard L. Hughes and Steven K. Jones - "Developing and assessing college student teamwork skills" and Jeremy D. Penn - "The case for assessing complex general education student learning outcomes".
- Find out about the new reports that NILOA is producing along with recent news items about learning outcomes assessment in this month's newsletter.
- Read Fryshman's, an accreditor and professor of physics at the New York Institute of technology, take on accreditation, measuring student learning, and why "numbers mislead, distort, distract, and divert."
- Check out the newest briefs in CCRC's Assessment of Evidence series.
- In this article, a recent discussion at the Association of College and Research Libraries Conference encourages librarians to assess their role in student learning.
Using data from the book, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, recently released by sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roks as the backbone of this article, several business schools are highlighted specifically for their different assessment methods. Interviews with deans of the business schools and the president of Babson College featured in this article can also be found in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- In this article, AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, "assurance-of-learning" mandate is challenged by faculty members.
- The Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC) Senior College Commission and its new plans are the feature of this article. WASC Sr. explains its reasoning behind its revamping and is issuing a new call for accountability from its schools. The threat of the possible take-over of accreditation by the federal government is a major reason in trying to establish benchmarks for assessing student learning outcomes and attempting to create external comparisons for its schools.
- Accountability Framework for 2-Year Colleges Progresses in Pilot Test
Results of the Voluntary Framework of Accountability, being tested by 72 community colleges, were communicated to an audience at this past week's American Association of Community Colleges Conference in article written in The Chronicle. The session was also featured in an article in Inside Higher Ed.
- In a session at this past week's American Educational Research Association Conference, Nicholas A. Bowman, a postdoc researcher at the University of Notre Dame, explains his findings from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education regarding students real vs. perceived learning. Through his analysis, Bowman shows that there may be misconceptions by colleges and universities of students' self-understanding through the use of longitudinal, self-reported means.
- Want to know more about learning outcomes for adult students? Check out the newest edition of AACU&U's Peer Review.
- ASSESSMENT UPdate now availableThe new ASSESSMENT UPdate: Progress, Trends, and Practices in Higher Education for March/April 2011 is now available. An article by NILOA's Peter Ewell titled, "From the States: A Coalition of the Willing: The Presidents' Alliance for Excellence in Student Learning and Accountability" is featured. Recommended reading suggested by Susan Kahn are also included.
- In this article, the author features a discussion at the Forum on Education Abroad conference on assessing learning outcomes for those students studying abroad.
- This article highlights two sessions to be covered on student learning at this week's American Education Research Association (AERA) conference in New Orleans. The authors of the two studies argue that the NSSE does a great job looking at student engagement but it does not do well predicting student outcomes such as graduation and retention. NILOA's Jillian Kinzie is featured.
AAC&U's latest publication, The LEAP Vision for Learning: Outcomes, Practices, Impact, and Employers' Views, has just been released. Some of the information covered include "summaries of research about high-impact educational practices and learning outcomes; summaries of trends in curricular, assessment, and general education reform; and data about the outcomes that employers value in the college graduates they hire and promote."
- A new "Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing" established to help foster the "habits of mind" at this week's Conference on College Composition and Communication. While the framework does not offer specific standards, it does help to define concepts in which students could possibly be assessed on such as openness, flexibility, and metacognition.
The Association of Governing Boards recently released its statement on the responsibility of governing boards of ensuring educational quality for the institutions it serves in addition to understanding the importance of student learning outcomes. Articles on AGB's statement were featured in Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
In Philadelphia this past weekend, the American Federation of Teacher's (AFT) Higher Education Division's recently released report titled, "Student Success in Higher Education" was of particular focus. In this report, the faculty role in assessing student learning as well as AFT's stance on assessment were a part of the discussions. Coverage in Inside Higher Ed features NILOA's George Kuh and Peter Ewell. The conference was also mentioned in an article in The Chronicle.
This article in AACU's Liberal Education publication examines possible reasons why students are studying less in college. A review of results from leading assessment tools used to survey students is included.
Read this article in AAC&U's Liberal Education publication about one professor's journey towards assessing student learning outcomes for his course.
- This article discusses the creation of a "quality scorecard" and its metrics for online programs.
- Find out about the new reports that NILOA is producing along with recent news items about learning outcomes assessment in this month's newsletter.
- An article featuring a discussion on the assessment of student learning and its connection to accreditation from the American Council of Education's meeting is found in The Chronicle. NILOA's Dr. George Kuh is also mentioned.
- As a follow-up to a dialogue from the E-Portfolio Forum held at the American Association of Colleges and Universities Annual Meeting in January 2011, the author lists some questions that she had about the use of e-portfolios for student learning and assessment.
- Check out the latest (Winter 2011) Weave Newsletter. WEAVE (2010) "guides and provides for the alignment of multiple processes, including assessment, planning, accreditation, budgeting and institutional priorities."
NILOA just released its Transparency Framework designed to help institutions evaluate the extent to which they are making evidence of student accomplishment readily accessible and potentially useful and meaningful to various audiences. See coverage of the Framework in Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Check out Dr. George Kuh's blog titled, They'll Love You Just the Way You Are: Tiptoeing Toward Transparency, written for one of AAC&U's initiatives - Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College - which "features postings and perspectives on 'liberal education' - how it is changing, why it is so important in today's world, and what people are saying about it around the country and the world."
Trudy Banta and Charlie Blaich, Edwin Welch, and Terrel Rhodes have articles featured on topics of assessment and student learning outcomes in the latest issue of Change Magazine.
- In this article, Boettcher offers different examples as evidence of student learning (i.e., interviews, professional work products) as "alternatives to the traditional research paper" for faculty who teach online classes.
- This Winter 2011 issue focuses specifically on measuring student learning and tools used to assess student learning.
- City Colleges of Chicago's Efforts to Improve Student Outcomes
In an effort to improve student outcomes, the City Colleges of Chicago are in the process of possibly replacing its leadership. Chancellor Cheryl L. Hyman's reasoning for this is because the current job description did not focus on students and student outcomes which needed to be reflected in today's presidencies. Both The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed discuss this as one of their featured stories.
- New Book on Assessment
A new book titled, "Literary Study, Measurement, and the Sublime: Disciplinary Assessment" written by Donna Heiland, vice president at Teagle Foundation and Laura J. Rosenthal is due out this month by the Teagle Foundation. The book uses essays by current scholars in both the fields of literary studies and assessment to discuss the pros and cons of using assessment in the study of literature. A commentary on the book by the authors is in the current edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Inside Higher Ed also features a dialogue with the authors about their book.
- Why Do I Like Assessment? Let Me Count the Ways
In this commentary in The Chronicle, Theodore Wagenaar discusses the "most essential elements of quality assessment" as well as the need for faculty to become more engaged in assessment.
The recent book, Academically Adrift by Arum and Roksa, is the feature of a new article by David Glenn. Glenn's article "Scholars Question New Book's Gloom on Education" examines some of the limitations of the study's findings. Want more commentaries on Academically Adrift? Check out Alexander W. Astin's statistical take on the book and also a response by Jonathan Zimmerman relating the book to Vanderbilt doctors and a cup of coffee, both in The Chronicle of Higher Education. A live chat with the authors is also featured.
- ASSESSMENT UPdate now availableThe new ASSESSMENT UPdate: Progress, Trends, and Practices in Higher Education for January/February 2011 is now available. Some of the articles include: The Presentation of the Student Role in Everyday Classroom Life: An Assessment by Jonathan I. Marx, Jennifer Crew Solomon, Bradley G. Tripp; Editor's Notes by Trudy W. Banta, and a column on Assessment Measures written by Gary R. Pike. Recommended reading suggested by Susan Kahn are also included.
The Assessment of Evidence Series initiated by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) focuses on eight areas: developmental education assessment, developmental acceleration, developmental math pedagogy, contextualization of basic skills instruction, online learning, non-academic support, institutional program structure, and organizational improvement. CCRC's goal of the series is "to help community colleges identify concrete strategies that have the potential to improve student success on a scale needed to meet national goals for increased postsecondary attainment."
CCRC has just released its' latest Working Paper in their Assessment of Evidence Series titled, "Assessing Developmental Assessment in Community Colleges" written by Katherine L. Hughes & Judith Scott-Clayton (February 2011).
- This article provides an overview of some practices of institutions who are interested in learning about learning. The author also stresses the need for faculty involvement in creating an "evidence-based culture of learning" (Walsh, 2011).
- Achieving the Dream Report Released
The report titled, "Turning the Tide: Five Years of Achieving the Dream in Community Colleges" was just released February 2011 by MDRC, a nonprofit social-policy-research organization, and the Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College. This report reviews the progress that the 26 colleges involved in the Achieving the Dream Initiative, funded by Lumina Foundation for Education, have made from 2004 through Spring 2009. An article in Inside Higher Ed also discusses some of the findings of the report.
- Higher Education Accreditation Hearings
Over the past weekend, the U.S. Department of Education helped lead a discussion on the future of higher education accreditation. Some issues included accreditation's gatekeeping function, "prodding" vs. "fixing", and the role of federal government in terms of accreditation.
The following articles: Mend It, Don't End It (2/4/11, Inside Higher Ed), Advisory Panel Wades Into Sticky Accreditation Issues (2/4/11, The Chronicle of Higher Education), and Policy Making by Post-It Notes (2/7/11, Inside Higher Ed) describes the above issues and others in more detail. NILOA's Peter Ewell is also featured.
- The powerpoint pdf from the NILOA presentation at AAC&U, "Can you see me now? Taking the pulse of transparency efforts" is now available for download.
- The article gives an overview of one of this past week's American Association of Colleges & Universities sessions discussing Lumina Foundations's Degree Qualifications Profile.
- This article discusses tapping into students' metacognition through new and innovative ways to assess student learning
Lumina Foundation for Education released their newest publication, The Degree Qualifications Profile, designed by four higher education policy experts, including NILOA's own Peter Ewell. The Degree Qualifications Profile was created to address the specific learning outcomes graduating students should obtain regardless of their degree level (associate, bachelor, or master's degree).
- The American Council on Education, Achieve, and the State Higher Education Executive Officers just released their brief on the importance of the higher education community to collaborate with their K-12 partners through the implementation and use of the newly adopted Common Core State Standards Initiative.
- The CHEA 2011 winners for the Outstanding Institutional Practices in Student Learning Outcomes has been announced.
- This article discusses the three prongs that community colleges will need to begin collecting data for the new Voluntary Framework of Accountability introduced earlier this month by the American Association of Community Colleges.
- 40 pilot colleges will participate in a new Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA), a national system designed to provide data, transparency, and benchmarking.
- A new study by West and Carrell discuss how a previous class in a sequence of classes (like math) can determine students' later grades.
- The last of the series on Measuring Stick summarizes the arguments provided in the series for assessment and accountability in higher education.
- Eight open letters from different stakeholders (High school junior, parents, advocates, and applicants) to Presidents about college quality.
- A finale to the Measuring Stick series, this entry has a graph of 22 ways to measure outcomes for a course.
- This article looks at a research, as contrary to generated ideas, on degree completion.
- In this commentary, Carey discusses the consequences for not pursuing student learning assessments and the potential future for measuring student learning.
- A new Measuring Stick article features the discussions held in Washington DC about learning outcomes at the graduate level.
- Find out about the new reports and upcoming papers that NILOA is producing along with recent news items about learning outcomes assessment in this month's newsletter.
- This entry highlights a number of student learning outcomes assessment and centers on the new study done by Wabash.
- CGS hosted a meeting of assessment experts and graduate deans to explore how universities can prepare graduate students who aspire to faculty positions with the skills they will need to assess student learning. Read the press release by clicking above. NILOA director, Kuh was present to give a national perspective of assessment in the US.
- Measuring Stick: Reactions to the Presidents' Alliance
- New standards responding to real-time student needs for military service members, veterans, and their families transitioning from military service in higher education have been released by the CAS.
- Slippery Rock University's webpage "Institutional Profile: Accountability 2010" shows clear communication and easy navigation of student learning outcomes assessment information.
- Increasing college completion is meaningless unless certificates and degrees represent real learning, according to the Center for Community College Student Engagement.
- Researchers are getting to learning outcomes like problem solving through game play.
- Check out the 2010 NSSE Annual Results report released today.
- This month's AAC&U newsletter features USC and how the school administrators are creating change.
- A new report from NSSE starts questions of how student data is being used (or not) for assessment.
- This monograph examines what educational research reveals about five educational practices: first-year seminars, learning communities, service learning, undergraduate research, and capstone experiences.
- A follow up article to last week's discussion on departmental assessment in Measuring Stick, this interview focuses on Villanova's program for engineering students.
- Faculty argue that some assessments do not work for all disciplines.
- This new Measuring Stick article looks at the faculty voice in the student learning debate.
- NILOA's sixth occasional paper is highlighted in this article, part of the Measuring Stick series, about some of the pressures that regional accreditors bring to bear and the influence accreditation has on learning-assessment projects.
- Suskie questions if colleges understand why assessment matters in this article.
- Job announcement for a newly created position, Director of Assessment. See link for details.
- A discussion about how to graphically display student learning outcomes (statement, objectives, assessments).
- "Perspectives from Campus Leaders on the Current State of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment: NILOA Focus Group Summary 2009-2010" highlights lessons from four focus group sessions with campus leaders--presidents, provosts, academic deans and directors of institutional research from a variety of two- and four-year institutions-- regarding their perspectives on the state of learning assessment practices on their campuses.
- A new resource on assessment is now available. Kramer and Swing have written a book for campus leaders to identify strategies for assessments.
- This article argues that assessment information is needed to help schools like UMBC to show its true quality.
- NILOA researchers examined the intersection of the NCHEMS study of state policies on assessment of student learning with the NILOA national survey and webscan data in the newly released, "Connecting State Policies on Assessment with Institutional Assessment Activity."
- A new series in the Chronicle invite experts to write a 250 word essay on "quality and assessment of higher education." From Occasional Paper writer, Pat Hutchins is a piece on faculty involvement in student learning.
- NILOA is a featured Quality-of-Learning organization in this special report from The Chronicle.
- This article discusses the changes the CLA has prompted and its relation with assessment and accountability.
- At the graduate level, higher education leaders from 17 countries have agreed to a statement of principles for assessing the quality of education.
- A new report from the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, says that Board of Trustees do not spend enough time or understand student learning outcomes.
- A new series in the Chronicle invite experts to write a 250 word essay on "quality and assessment of higher education." This short audio is a discussion on the role of professors in student learning outcomes.
- This article from the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice is a qualitative study on the "conditions that support assessment practice" at small colleges.
- A new series in the Chronicle invite experts to write a 250 word essay on "quality and assessment of higher education." From NILOA PI, George Kuh, this essay discusses issues of transparency of quality for potential students.
- CAS seeks to advance knowledge about the use of standards and self- assessment processes in enhancing programs and services to students and in developing designated student learning and developmental outcomes. Proposals due by October 15, 2010. The link will open in a pdf.
- A new series in the Chronicle invite experts to write a 250 word essay on "quality and assessment of higher education."
- There is a new association for assessment practitioners, focused on assessment practice and the factors that affect it, The Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE) housed at the University of Kentucky.
- A new website, WhatWillTheyLearn.com compiles and grades schools on the required classes students take. This article gives a summary of this new website.
- Comparing the ETS, CAAP and CLA tests, this article discusses what each of these tests measure and the implications of giving these tests. Login may be required.
- Some colleges use writing samples from students as assessment of learning outcomes as described in this post.
- The University of Arizona seeks to fill a joint faculty/administrative position with an administrative appointment in the Office of Instruction & Assessment and a tenured faculty appointment in the College of Education. "Associate Professor, Higher Education and Assessment 45810"
- August 14, 2010 is the deadline (with rolling applications afterward) to apply for the Teagle Assessment Scholar Development Program. This program is for those "using evidence to improve student learning."
- Using the work of Tracy Penny Light this article describes ways to integrate e-portfolios into an assessment plan.
- U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the new members of the Committee on Measures of Student Success.
- What's on your website?
- This new report from NCHEMS highlights the results of an inventory of Fifty-states and the state policies on the assessment of student learning outcomes. Clicking this will link you to the pdf of the report.
- In this article, the author discusses the academic outcomes of study abroad across the University System of Georgia in a ten year study: higher GPAs, increased cultural understanding, and higher graduation rates.
- An article on how Community College of the District of Columbia is building assessment into the campus culture.
- President Bennett posts in his blog about Earlham, both issues for "his campus community as well as issues of national significance in higher education."
- For a limited time, Routledge Education is making some of their outcomes assessment materials free. Click here for the titles and links to the articles.
- The June Newsletter for NILOA is now available. The newsletters are posted online but you can also join our email list to receive these newsletters in your inbox. To join, click on the top right of this box on "Join our Email List" or go to the NILOA website at: learningoutcomesassessment.org
- Molly Corbett Broad, on the NILOA National Advisory Panel and President of American Council on Education, writes this piece on the increased demands on improving performance and the appropriate response from colleges.
- In this article, the author questions the use of the word accountability, tracing the history of it to potential uses of it.