Council on Postsecondary Education
Kentucky one of eight states chosen to assess and improve the quality of student learning in undergraduate education
The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education today announced it is one of eight states chosen to participate in a new project to assess and improve the quality of undergraduate student learning.
Kentucky will receive $120,000 for faculty development and new assessment approaches over three years. Sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, The Quality Collaboratives (QC) project is supported with funding from the Lumina Foundation for Education.
“This process will improve the quality of student learning and advance our existing efforts to boost student achievement, facilitate effective student transfer, and increase college completion rates,” Council on Postsecondary Education President Bob King said.
Other states selected include California, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin, and Virginia.
Faculty and state leaders will test ways to assure that students can demonstrate achievement of essential competencies across all areas and levels of learning, regardless of where they begin or end their educational journeys. The initiative is part of Lumina Foundation’s beta testing of the value of a shared Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP). A DQP consists of specific learning outcomes that every college student, regardless of field of study, should achieve and integrate in five areas: broad and specialized knowledge, intellectual skills, applied learning, and civic learning.
Using this framework, the project will test a family of approaches to assessing these outcomes and developing educational practices that accomplish the following:
- help students achieve essential outcomes at appropriately high levels;
- document students’ attainment of outcomes; and
- facilitate students’ transfer of courses and competencies from two-year institutions to four-year institutions on their way to completing college degrees.
“We must ensure that all students—including those from traditionally underrepresented groups and those who begin at a two-year institution but seek to transfer to a four-year institution—achieve the most important outcomes of a liberating college education,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.
Quality Collaboratives is a three-year project that is part of AAC&U’s ongoing Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. Beginning this month, it will engage teams of educational, assessment, and policy leaders in selected states. Two- and four-year institutions in each of these states have already been working extensively on issues of learning outcomes, curricular change, high-impact practices, and assessment. They will all build on these prior efforts to clarify, map, assess, and improve the achievement of learning outcomes essential for success in life, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century.
“It is exciting that so many states and campuses are eager to explore and develop measures of achievement for all students,” said AAC&U Vice President and QC Project Director Terry Rhodes who will lead the project. “It is recognition in higher education, echoed by employers, that it isn’t enough to simply earn a degree, but essential that the quality of learning and level of competence also be an integral part of determining degree attainment.”
The QC initiative will result in the following:
- a set of new national reporting templates and strategies for assessing student competence on essential learning outcomes for use in student transfer;
- recommended practices, models, and demonstration sites for institutionally fostering faculty leadership; and
- recommended practices, policies, and examples for incorporating evidence of students’ demonstrated competence on a range of learning outcomes within transfer policies and priorities.
AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,250 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges and universities of every type and size.
AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education at both the national and local levels and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.
Information about AAC&U membership, programs, and publications can be found at http://www.aacu.org.
About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college—especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. For more information, log on to www.luminafoundation.org.
We believe in the transformative power of postsecondary education. Stronger by Degrees, the new strategic agenda for Kentucky’s colleges and universities and adult basic education, is powering a stronger Kentucky economy and improving the lives of Kentuckians. To learn more about Stronger by Degrees, visit http://cpe.ky.gov/strongerbydegrees.