Degree Qualifications Profile

The Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) describes the knowledge, skills and applications that prepare graduates to succeed in the economy, civil society and their own lives. In developing the proposed DQP, two wagers were made. The first is that the U.S. sorely needs and can be enticed to adopt a shared set of reference points that describe the meaning and value of college degrees at the associate, baccalaureate and master’s level. The second is that developing a shared framework can enhance educational productivity by providing much needed guidance—to students, faculty, employers and policy leaders—both about what students ought to be able to do with their education, for work, citizenship and personal development, and about ways to foster and document students’ achievement of DQP competencies, from formal study and from field-based settings such as work or community service.

The DQP incorporates virtually all of AAC&U’s Essential Learning Outcomes. The DQP builds on the national consensus on the broad set of learning outcomes linked to successful student preparation for success in life, as engaged citizens, and productive members of a global society.

While the second wager has many potential applications, one of the most significant is transfer, since the majority of degree-earning students now study at two or more institutions before earning a degree. Transfer articulation systems are riddled with complexity, mystify whatever was intended by degree requirements and, often, impede student progress. Potentially, the DQP framework creates a new and more educationally productive context for facilitating both transfer and deeper learning.

The Quality Collaboratives project is a proof of concept to illustrate the practices, strategies, and forums through which the intended DQP competencies can be achieved, assessed and reported, both to focus and demonstrate the attainment of competency across the DQP areas and levels of learning, and to facilitate the transition of students from one educational level to the next and from one institutional context to another. To make good use of the DQP, higher education will need tested and feasible models for integrating and demonstrating students’ learning achievement across different parts of their educational experience, including learning in multiple postsecondary settings or transfer. If these new models are to take root, faculty will need to take an active role in their development, vetting, and implementation.