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
Funded by the Davis Educational Foundation , 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's first year was so successful in achieving system-wide collaboration on learning outcomes that the Davis Educational Foundation provided additional funding for a second year.
Find ways to compare student learning among states
In an initiative that holds promise for national leadership, Massachusetts is working to develop a Multi-State Collaborative for Learning Outcomes Assessment to advance assessment and allow for cross-state comparisons. Working with partner states, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), Massachusetts is focused on how best to develop assessment systems that:
- Present assessment outcomes in ways understandable by non-academic stakeholders;
- Center on using actual student work, closely linked to curriculum and to the instruction work of the faculty; and
- Allow comparison of student learning across state lines.
This ambitious work, if successful, will enable states to use shared standards to compare their students' level of learning with other states.