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Provosts' Views on Student Learning Assessment

January 26, 2018

The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment has released the results of a survey of provosts at 811 colleges on their thoughts about the assessment of student learning. Backed by a decade's worth of research on trends, the institute's report uncovered several positive findings, including that provosts increasingly are providing support for faculty and staff members to practice meaningful assessment, especially at the course level.

"It is heartening to note the movement in the field of assessment toward a more embedded, meaningful and sustainable faculty-driven approach to understanding and documenting student learning," said Natasha Jankowski, the institute's director.

Some of the "authentic" measures of learning that provosts reported their campuses are using include rubrics, classroom-based performance assessments and capstones, according to the report. Likewise, 82 percent of respondents said their institutions have established learning outcomes for all students. The focus of assessment in most cases, the survey found, is on compliance and improvement -- often in the context of accreditation -- with an increasing emphasis on equity concerns such as student achievement gaps.


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