Trends in Learning Outcomes Assessment - 2015 Survey AAC&U

A report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) finds that learning outcomes assessment in higher education has shifted decisively away from standardized tests, to an increasing focus on rubrics applied to student work, and on student engagement in hands-on projects and research.

Based on a survey of 325 member institutions across the full spectrum of public, private, two-year, and four-year institutions, some of the key findings of the report – full text below – are as follows:

  • Consensus on Learning Outcomes. There is significant agreement about the learning outcomes that are important for all students. More than two-thirds are assessing cumulative learning outcomes in general education, up from 52% six years ago.
  • Most are assessing general education learning outcomes by using rubrics applied to student work.  Among those that assess learning outcomes in general education, 87% use institutionally created rubrics applied to samples of student work. 
  • Moving Away from Use of Standardized Tests.Only about one-third of AAC&U members report using standardized tests of general knowledge. Thirty-eight percent use standardized national tests of general skills, down from 49% in 2008.

   Trends in Learning Outcomes Assessment - Report, Feb 2016 (461 KB)   (PDF)

   Trends in Learning Outcomes Assessment (Key Findings) (816 KB)  (PowerPoint slides)

Full findings from the current and previous reports, including survey methodology, are online: 

AAC&U Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) Rubrics

These rubrics from the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) are very general. They were developed from – and for – a wide range of higher education institutions, and are meant to be used to chart student development throughout the four years of college.

Note: these are direct links to the rubrics, but you must supply your e-mail to reach the pdfs.

Principles for Effective Assessment of Student Achievement

In July 2013, a  consensus statement on assessment of student learning at the university level was issued by all seven regional accrediting commissions in the U.S. (including MSCHE), and the following higher education associations.  Rutgers is a member of those associations marked with an asterix*, as well as of the AAC&U (see section above):

*American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
*American Council on Education (ACE)
*Association of American Universities (AAU)
*Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)
American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU)