Key Initiatives In Student Learning
How do we know what college graduates have actually learned and are able to do? And equally important, how can we assess student learning in ways that help us improve teaching? Massachusetts seeks to answer these two questions through the following core goals:
Strengthen campus-level assessment of student learning
Advancing a Massachusetts Culture of Assessment (AMCOA) is led by a team of faculty and staff from each of the 28 undergraduate campuses, with a goal of helping every campus improve curriculum and learning through development of state-of-the-art programs of learning outcomes assessment. AMCOA was funded by the Davis Educational Foundation from May 2011 until May 2013, achieving unprecedented system-wide collaboration on learning outcomes during that time. It is now primarily supported by the campuses with moderate support from Davis for a technology pilot.
Find ways to compare student learning among institutions and states
Through its LEAP State Initiative with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), Massachusetts is working to develop an assessment system that:
- Presents assessment outcomes in ways understandable by non-academic stakeholders;
- Centers on using actual student work, closely linked to curriculum and to the instruction work of the faculty; and
- Allows comparison of student learning across institution and state lines.
If successful, this work will enable states to use shared standards to compare their students' level of learning with other states. It is proceeding on two tracks:
- The Massachusetts Model, which involved seven of Massachusetts' public colleges and universities and began piloting in January 2013, and
- The Multistate Collaborative for Learning Outcomes Assessment, which involves Massachusetts and eight partner states, the AAC&U, and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) and will begin piloting in 2014.