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Statements and Letters

Our Students' Best Work  

Our Students’ Best Work: A Framework for Accountability Worthy of Our Mission

Also available for purchase or download (pdf)


On behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), we are pleased to present this updated edition of Our Students’ Best Work: A Framework for Accountability Worthy of Our Mission. This statement, framed and approved by the AAC&U Board of Directors, is designed to help campuses respond to calls for greater accountability in ways that strengthen as well as document the quality of student learning in college.

The national dialogue about these issues has become intense, with discussions taking place in statehouses across the country as well as in the U.S. Congress and in the U.S. Department of Education. We believe that it is essential that these accountability efforts focus on the knowledge, skills, and capacities that are most important for today’s students. They also should take into account the best campus practices already developed to advance and assess these outcomes.

Thoughtful and forceful leadership from within the academy itself on both assessment and accountability is more essential today than ever. Educational leaders are already doing good work to define what academic excellence really means in today’s world. It is vitally important that we build on this foundation to find improved ways to demonstrate achievement of academic excellence by students and institutions.

This statement is designed to help colleges and universities as they continue to improve upon strategies of assessment and accountability appropriate to their own missions. It also is intended to assist institutions as they respond to calls for greater accountability from both policy makers and members of the general public.

We hope Our Students’ Best Work will prove useful in your own campus efforts and policy dialogues. We encourage you to share with AAC&U the promising assessment strategies that you are developing. We will do our best to disseminate your work throughout the AAC&U community and among external stakeholders throughout the country.

Daniel Sullivan
Chair of the Board of Directors

Carol Geary Schneider

2004 edition