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Assessment Practices for Advancing Transfer Student Success: Collaborating for Educational Change


Brown, G. R., & Rhodes, T. L. (2016). Assessment Practices for Advancing Transfer Student Success: Collaborating for Educational Change.


America's institutions of higher education have been challenged to develop new strategies to improve the success of all students. With more and more students attending multiple institutions, improving the transfer process is key to ensuring all students succeed. AAC&U launched the Quality Collaboratives (QC) project in 2011 with support from Lumina Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in order to find ways to make transfer between institutions easier and more efficient and, more importantly, to make students' achievement of important learning outcomes, as measured by authentic assessments, the central metric that should guide transfer. Lumina's recently developed Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) was an important tool in this larger movement away from credits as proxies for student learning toward a system in which genuine proficiency is the measure of student progress and success. The DQP is a framework describing the essential learning outcomes that both employers and faculty claim as critical for college graduates and the levels of achievement on these outcomes that students should be able to demonstrate at the associate, baccalaureate, and master's degree levels (see page 22, below). As part of AAC&U's Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) signature initiative to ensure that all college students in the United States receive a liberal education, the QC project brought together twenty campuses and nine state university systems or state higher education commissions to collaborate and develop models that placed assessment of student learning at the center of the transfer process. This brief folio along with its more in-depth companion volume, "Collaboration for Student Transfer: A Nationwide Degree Qualifications Profile Experiment," describe ways to refocus student transfer on demonstrated student learning proficiencies as a primary basis for transfer student success. It is designed to help institutions interested in building successful cross-institutional collaborations to use the DQP to develop new approaches to advancing transfer student success and to assessing student learning. It begins with a flow chart that summarizes the main components of the successful cross-institutional collaborations that were developed by the QC institutions. The folio then charts key action steps in the process flow chart and lessons learned by these institutions through their implementation of these kinds of collaborative projects. [For a related report, see ED569339.]

Themes: Academic Achievement, Case Studies, College Faculty, College Students, College Transfer Students, Cooperative Learning, Educational Assessment, Educational Change, Educational Practices, Educational Quality, Higher Education, Institutional Cooperation, Outcomes of Education, Partnerships in Education, Performance Based Assessment, Scoring rubrics