Current VALUE Research

AAC&U is working to focus assessment of student learning in college on the evidence of what students are doing in the authentic work from their classes and educational activities.

In this new phase of VALUE, AAC&U is working in partnership with the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) organization through a coalition of two- and four-year public institutions in thirteen states - the Multistate Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment (MSC) - plus the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), a group of private liberal arts colleges, and a set of public and private colleges in the Minnesota Collaborative to lay a foundation for changing the national conversation around the quality of student learning. AAC&U and its partners are using VALUE rubrics to assess student authentic work, create protocols and parameters for a scalable VALUE assessment approach and processes for reporting the results of measuring student learning proficiency using the VALUE rubrics.

Five key deliverables of the VALUE initiative:

  • a methodology for ensuring a high level of reliability and validity using VALUE rubrics initially to assess 3 broad, cross-cutting outcomes – written communication, quantitative reasoning and critical thinking (eventually expanded to include all 16 VALUE rubric learning outcomes);
  • completion of VALUE protocols for data collection and processing, and curation plans for student authentic work examples from multiple campuses across the participating states, colleges and universities;
  • a process for identifying, gathering, and scoring samples of student work—including multiple public institutions in thirteen states (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 database revealing the landscape of student learning proficiency for benchmarking and contextualizing student learning across higher education; and
  • a business plan for the long-term implementation and use of a VALUE approach and database for local and state assessment of student learning and policy/decision making.

Publications on the Current VALUE Research Initiative:

Big Progress in Authentic Assessment, But by Itself Not Enough
Daniel F. Sullivan & Kate Drezek McConnell (2017). Article in Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, which cites selected results from the MSC Demonstration Year (2015-2016)

On Solid Ground
In a report released on February 23, 2017, AAC&U shared the results from the first two years of data collection for the VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) initiative, a nationwide project that examines direct evidence of student learning.

The VALUE of Assessment: Transforming the Culture of Learning
Terrel L. Rhodes (2016). Article in Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, which discusses the benefits of creating an institutional culture of assessment as a high impact practice for improvement and learning.

MSC Demonstration Year (2015-2016) Results
Download PowerPoint slides of MSC Demonstration Year (2015-2016) Aggregate Results

MSC Pilot Year (2014-2015) Aggregate Results
Download PowerPoint slides of MSC Pilot Year (2014-2015) Aggregate Results

It's Time to Get Serious About the Right Kind of Assessment
A letter from Daniel F. Sullivan, President Emeritus, St. Lawrence University; Senior Advisor to the AAC&U President; and Chair, AAC&U Presidents’ Trust (May 2014)

How Reliable Are the VALUE Rubrics?
Ashley Finley (2012). Results of a national inter-rater reliability study on the VALUE rubrics.

List of Informational Webinars and Links from the MSC

About SHEEO and the MSC

With the active support of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), to date twelve states—Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, and Utah—agreed to collaborate in the development of a new approach for learning outcomes assessment—a model that is rooted in campus/system/state collaboration, in authentic student work, and in faculty curriculum development and teaching activity. The project builds on efforts in Massachusetts (as part of its Vision Project) and builds on the AAC&U LEAP initiative through which it led the faculty development of a common set of rubrics—VALUE Rubrics—to assess the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes and the framework for learning captured in the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP).

VALUE/MSC is an initiative designed to provide meaningful evidence about how well students are achieving important learning outcomes. The initiative foregrounds a distinctly different form of assessment than the traditional standardized test. Instead of producing reports about average scores on tests, the project is piloting the use of common rubrics applied by teams of faculty to student’ authentic college work—including such things as projects, papers, and research. VALUE/MSC is designed to produce valid data summarizing faculty judgments of students’ own work, and also seeks to aggregate results in a way that allows for benchmarking across institutions and states. The primary goal of the initiative is to provide actionable assessment data that will allow faculty and institution leaders to act to improve the levels of student achievement on a set of cross-cutting outcomes important for all disciplines. Second, to allow institutions to examine issues of equity among populations of their students to ensure quality educations for all students. And third, provide state policy and decision-makers evidence of student learning to inform policy and educational practice across states and their higher education systems.