TLA Framework

AAC&U’s Teaching-Learning-Assessment (TLA) Framework is a practical, web-based tool developed to help campuses build capacity and lead institutional transformation to Ensure Students Are Learning, as part of the Guided Pathways model for student success.

The TLA Framework guides campuses through an intentional, five-phase process to examine, implement, and enhance teaching, learning, and assessment practices that support higher levels of student learning.

The TLA Framework process integrates the core components of the fourth pillar (Ensure Students Are Learning) of the Guided Pathways model. Campuses and practitioners will be guided through the five phases of the TLA Framework: (1) Conceptualize, (2) Formalize, (3) Implement, (4) Analyze & Revise, and (5) Scale. Each phase includes a series of guiding questions, resources, campus spotlights, team activities, and key takeaways to help prepare campuses for recreating the process at their own institutions. The TLA Framework process centers student success and equity, and recommends measurable steps that faculty, staff, and institutional leaders can take to address persisting gaps in student learning outcomes.

The refreshed, core components of the Ensure Students Are Learning pillar are:

  • Scaled, high-quality, program relevant applied learning experiences
  • Intentional and sustained student engagement
  • Evidence-based, high-impact teaching practices across modalities
  • Institution-wide commitment to equity-minded, asset-based teaching improvement
  • Quality assessment of program learning outcomes that lead to credentials, further education, and/or gainful employment

The TLA Framework is informed by the process undertaken by twenty community colleges who piloted the Strengthening Guided Pathways and Career Success by Ensuring Students Are Learning project. In partnership with project evaluators at the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE), an advisory group comprised of members of the Pathways Collaborative, and the VALUE Scoring Collaborative, the two-year project engaged the twenty community colleges in an intentional process to develop structures, capacities, and resources for implementing the Ensure Students Are Learning pillar of the Guided Pathways model.

TLA Landing Graphic

Throughout the TLA Framework, examples from the twenty pilot campuses are included to offer practical recommendations and key insights into the implementation, enhancement, and scaling of teaching, learning, and assessment practices to ensure students are learning. The TLA Framework was designed to capture the pilot campuses’ visionary process for creating transformational change and building capacity to ensure all students are learning and prepared for lifelong success.

Explore the Phases

  • Conceptualize
  • Formalize
  • Implement
  • Analyze & Revise
    Analyze & Revise
  • Scale

Each phase of the TLA Framework includes:

  • Help examine and contextualize existing practices and plan for potential improvement strategies.

  • Highlight the visionary efforts undertaken by the twenty pilot campuses and offer recommendations for new campuses.

  • Prompt teams to engage in deep reflection on existing systems and practices.

  • Feature the voices of the pilot campuses, as they discuss implementation efforts surrounding HIPs, equity-minded practices, collaborative assignment design, and student engagement.

  • Briefly summarize the key recommended actions needed to implement and scale efforts.

  • Relate to featured topic areas and include resources developed by AAC&U and other Guided Pathways partners, equity-focused tools, project publications, etc.

  • Placed at the center of each phase and includes considerations, spotlights, and resources that highlight equity-centered practices, asset-based teaching and learning, and culturally responsive practices.

Being able to network and look to other [Guided Pathways] institutions for examples allows us to really dig into our work….The examples that we see throughout the country will help us build a better framework for our students at the community college.
/ Faculty member from pilot campus

Project Staff

  • Tia Brown McNair

    Tia Brown McNair

    Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the TRHT Campus Centers
  • Ashley Finley

    Ashley Finley

    Vice President for Research and Senior Advisor to the President