Multistate Collaborative for Learning Outcomes Assessment

United States map indicating the nine states (CT, IN, KY, MA, MO, OR, RI, UT) participating in the Multistate Collaborative (MSC), preparing a model and pilot plan for the MSC.


To develop a system-level learning outcomes assessment model that does not rely on standardized testing. In doing so, to build upon campus assessment programs, to rely upon assessment practices linked to faculty instruction, curricula, and authentic student work, and to utilize the AAC&U’s LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes and VALUE Rubrics as its unifying framework. Viewed as a work in progress, constant modifications and revisions to the model are expected based upon what is learned from earlier efforts. Creation of a system-level program of assessment will serve two purposes:

  1. Improve the quality of the teaching and learning process at the classroom level, and
  2. Demonstrate public accountability to higher education stakeholders including students, parents, taxpayers, and legislators.

Benchmarking and cross-state comparisons based upon the implemented system-level learning outcomes assessment model will provide both formative and accountability information for campuses and state systems and is expected to change the public higher education political framework and the very fabric of our public institutions of higher education. In addition, ancillary but important benefits are expected to emerge as a result of this work, namely:

  1. improved alignment of associate’s degree student learning outcomes and baccalaureate degree student learning outcomes across public institutions facilitating the continued development and improvement in clearly articulated student academic pathways,
  2. a VALUE online national database of student work—and a method for assessing and reporting data from faculty assessment of that work—from nine state systems.

MSC Membership

Public colleges and universities of each of the nine member states: Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Utah; the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO); the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).


SHEEO provides overall leadership and coordination for the Collaborative, and several SHEEO staff members are members of the MSC Working Group (described below).

MSC Working Group Membership

Over 50 members representing faculty, administrators, institutional research and assessment directors drawn from the MSC nine participating states, SHEEO, and AAC&U. Each participating state assigned six members to its respective State Partner Team (nine State Partner Teams) to represent its state and serve on the MSC Working Group. The working group is currently chaired by the Massachusetts DHE Senior Advisor for Academic Policy. The Working Group was formed to carry out the MSC charge as detailed above and to pilot test the developed system-level learning outcomes assessment model during the AY 2014–2015. In order to accomplish the goals of the Collaborative, the Working Group formed six subgroups: Methods and Metrics, Data Management, Faculty Engagement, Pilot Study, Communication/Presentation of Results, and Sampling.


The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education's Senior Advisor for Academic Policy serves as chair of the MSC Working Group.

Financial Support

Financial support comes through a subcontract to SHEEO from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-supported AAC&U GEMS/VALUE Project. Each participating state brings its own assessment experiences, labor and other financial and in-kind resources to the project.

>> View current MSC Working Group membership