Nearly 80% of Colleges Now Have a Broad Set of Learning Outcomes for All Students and more than 70% Now Assess Outcomes Across the Curriculum Beyond The Use of Course GradesSo says AAC&U in a press release issued today.
Click on the link above to read the entire press release. In the meantime, a couple more quotes:
The Association of American Colleges and Universities released findings today from a survey of its members revealing trends in undergraduate education and documenting the widespread use of a variety of approaches to assessing learning outcomes. Completed by chief academic officers at 433 colleges and universities of all sorts (public and private, 2-year and 4-year, large and small), the survey shows that campus leaders are focused both on providing all students a broad set of learning outcomes and assessing students' achievement of these outcomes across the curriculum.
A large majority of institutions surveyed (78%) say that they have a common set of intended learning outcomes for all their undergraduate students. Stated learning outcomes at these institutions include a wide array of cross-cutting skills and areas of knowledge, including many on which earlier surveys suggest employers want colleges to focus. The skills most widely addressed in college and university goals are writing, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, oral communication, intercultural skills, information literacy, and ethical reasoning. The knowledge areas most often required for all students are humanities, sciences, social sciences, global cultures, and mathematics.
"The findings from this survey indicate an important shift in focus for American higher education away from measuring progress by students' seat time and accumulation of credits toward clarifying more transparently what students are expected to learn," said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. "Colleges and universities increasingly are emphasizing educational practices that help students both achieve essential learning outcomes and also demonstrate their achievement across multiple levels of learning."
As more campuses focus attention on helping students - especially the large numbers of students transferring between and among institutions - integrate the different aspects of their learning and track their progress over time, interest has grown in such practices as capstone projects and e-portfolios.
Nearly all institutions, for instance, now offer capstone projects, with most making them available in departments rather than in general education and the majority offering them as an option rather than a requirement. Nearly 40% require capstone projects of all or most students in departments and 19% require them of all students in general education.