LEAP Publications

How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment
2014

Students, parents, and policy makers interested in the "return on investment" of college education tend to place unwarranted emphasis on the choice of undergraduate major, often assuming that a major in a liberal arts field has a negative effect on employment prospects and earnings potential. This new report—which includes data on earnings, employment rates, graduate school earnings bumps, and commonly chosen professions— presents clear evidence to the contrary. It shows not only that the college degree remains a sound investment, especially in these difficult economic times, but also that— as compared to students who major in professional, preprofessional, or STEM fields— liberal arts majors fare very well in terms of both earnings and long-term career success.

Investing in Success: Cost-Effective Strategies to Increase Student Success
2013

This publication provides advice and planning tools to help educational leaders invest in high-impact practices, despite budget constraints. It presents ways to evaluate both the benefits and costs of high-impact practices, and strategies for investing in innovations. Building on research from the Access to Success initiative and the Delta Cost Project, the authors provide examples of campuses that have made wise investments developing or scaling particular practices, with positive results for student learning, graduation rates, and the bottom line.

Assessing Underserved Students Engagement in High-Impact Practices
2013

This publication presents findings from a national study conducted by AAC&U researchers to investigate the impact of engagement in high-impact practices on traditionally underserved populations (defined here as first-generation, minority, transfer, and low-income students).The mixed-method analysis includes student-level data on engaged learning at thirty-eight participating institutions-from the state higher education systems in California, Oregon, and Wisconsin-drawn from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), as well as qualitative data obtained through student focus groups held at nine selected campuses. This report serves as a guide for campus-based inquiry to further our understanding of underserved student engagement with high-impact practices. The publication also includes a toolkit on assessing equity in high-impact practices developed by the Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California. This project is funded by TG Philanthropy. ...

Using the VALUE Rubrics for Improvement of Learning and Authentic Assessment
2013

This publication addresses key elements of, and questions frequently raised about, the development and use of the VALUE rubrics for assessment of student learning. It provides information about rubric-based assessment approaches—including validity, reliability, and rubric modification—and faculty training in the use of rubrics. Specific examples of how campuses are using the VALUE rubrics to improve student learning are also provided. Full case studies from twelve campuses are available online at www.aacu.org/value/casestudies.

Ensuring Quality & Taking High-Impact Practices to Scale
2013

Building on previous AAC&U reports, this publication presents research on specific educational practices correlated with higher levels of academic challenge, student engagement, and achievement. The publication features the relationship between these practices and improvements in retention and graduation rates and advice on how to ensure that all students experience multiple high-impact practices. Detailed case studies show how five campuses are providing high-impact practices more pervasively and systematically.

Making Progress? What We Know about the Achievement of Liberal Education Outcomes
2012

This new report provides an up-to-date overview of national data from a variety of studies of student learning, including the NSSE, Wabash National Study, CIRP, PSRI, and others. It presents comparative data on achievement over time across an array of liberal education outcomes—such as critical thinking, writing, civic engagement, global competence, and social responsibility.

The report contrasts the very positive evidence drawn from what students think they have learned with the much more sobering evidence from national tests about what students actually can do in such areas as critical thinking, writing, and quantitative reasoning. It also reflects the growing evidence that how we construct the learning environment, e.g., by emphasizing high-impact practices, is a crucial component both in assessing learning and in raising students' level of achievement. Making Progress also underscores the educational value of new assessment practices, such as e-...

The LEAP Vision for Learning: Outcomes, Practices, Impact, and Employers' Views
2011

This new publication outlines the LEAP vision for learning, bringing together multiple strands of LEAP work. It includes an executive summary of College Learning for the New Global Century; summaries of research about high-impact educational practices and learning outcomes; summaries of trends in curricular, assessment, and general education reform; and data about the outcomes that employers value in the college graduates they hire and promote. This summary is ideal as an introduction to AAC&U's LEAP (Liberal Education and America's Promise) initiative and its research for use with internal and external advocates of educational reform, including with curricular and student success committees, boards of trustees, and regents.

Five High-Impact Practices: Research on Learning Outcomes, Completion, and Quality
2010

This monograph examines what educational research reveals about five educational practices: first-year seminars, learning communities, service learning, undergraduate research, and capstone experiences. The authors explore questions such as: What is the impact on students who participate in these practices? Is the impact the same for both traditional students and those who come from historically underserved student populations? The monograph includes a foreword by George D. Kuh, "High-Impact Practices: Retrospective and Prospective," and recommendations for how to improve the quality of high-impact practices.

Electronic Portfolios and Student Success: Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Learning
2010

This publication presents an overview of electronic portfolios and ways individuals and campuses can implement e-portfolios to enhance and assess student learning, recognizing that learning occurs in many places, takes many forms, and is exhibited through many modes of representation. It is organized around eight issues central to implementing an e-portfolio approach: defining learning outcomes; understanding your learners; identifying stakeholders; designing learning activities; including multiple forms of evidence; using rubrics to evaluate e-portfolios; anticipating external uses of evidence; and evaluating the impact of e-portfolios. This work is illustrated through multiple campus case study examples.

Assessing Outcomes and Improving Achievement: Tips and Tools for Using Rubrics
2010

This publication provides practical advice on the development and effective use of rubrics to evaluate college student achievement at various levels. Rubrics for fifteen liberal learning outcomes are included, and can be readily adapted to reflect the missions, cultures, and practices of individual institutions and programs. Developed by faculty members and other academic professionals, and tested on a variety of campuses, the rubrics establish measurable criteria for assessing each outcome at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels of accomplishment.

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