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VALUE: Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education


AAC&U is now engaged in a new phase of the VALUE initiative supported with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Beginning in December 2013, this grant will support one-year of initial work on two interrelated projects including VALUE, but also another initiative called GEMs (General Education Maps and Markers).  Funding for VALUE also supports the activities of the Multistate Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment (MSC) - a partnership among SHEEO’s and nine state higher education systems and two- and four-year campuses in those states. 

NOW AVAILABLE -Using the VALUE Rubrics for Improvement of Learning and Authentic Assessment. Full case studies from twelve campuses are available online.


In this new phase of VALUE, AAC&U will work in partnership with the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) organization and the Multistate Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment partnership and an additional set of independent colleges and universities to lay a foundation for using VALUE rubrics to assess student authentic work, create protocols and parameters for a scale-able VALUE assessment and processes for reporting the results of using the VALUE rubrics.   

Five key deliverables of the VALUE initiative will be:

  • a methodology for ensuring a high level of reliability and validity of the results of using the VALUE rubrics minimally to assess 3 broad, cross-cutting outcomes – written communication, quantitative reasoning and critical thinking;
  • completion of VALUE protocols for data collection and processing, and curation plans for student authentic work from multiple campuses across the participating colleges and universities;
  • “proof of concept” testing of the process for identifying and gathering samples of student work—including multiple public institutions in nine state systems (coordinated by SHEEO) as part of the Multistate Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment and select private institutions (selected and coordinated by AAC&U);
  • establishment of the VALUE national database for benchmarking student learning; and
  • a business plan for the long-term implementation and use of a VALUE national database for assessment of student learning

The original VALUE initiative in 2007-09 involved teams of faculty and other educational professionals from over 100 higher education institutions engaged over many months to develop 16 VALUE rubrics for the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes. Each rubric was developed from the most frequently identified characteristics or criteria of learning for each of the 16 learning outcomes. Drafts of each rubric were then tested by faculty with their own students’ work on over 100 college campuses.

As part of AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative, the VALUE rubrics contribute to the national dialogue on assessment of college student learning. Since the initial release of the rubrics, more than thirty-two thousand first time individuals have visited the VALUE website between June 2010 and June 2013.  The VALUE rubrics have been viewed at more than fifty-six hundred discrete institutions, including schools, higher education associations, and more than thirty-three hundred colleges and universities in the United States and around the world.

See the VALUE Project Toolkit page for additional resources and examples of rubric use.

AAC&U acknowledges the generous support from the State Farm Companies Foundation and the Fund for the Improvement of PostSecondary Education (FIPSE).