March 1, 2011
The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) has just released a transparency framework to help colleges and universities make public and more accessible information they information they have about student learning outcomes.
Today, on the AAC&U blog, Liberal Education Nation, George Kuh, provides an overview of the transparency framework and the rationale behind it. Here’s the gist of how it came to be:
“We realized that something like the Transparency Framework could be helpful after reviewing one thousand two- and four-year institutional websites over the past couple of years, looking for information offered by colleges and universities about their student learning outcomes assessment activities. We found much less information about these matters on websites than what chief academic officers at the institutions told us was happening on their campuses. In fact, much of the information about student learning assessment was located on pages intended for internal audiences, such as the Institutional Research or Chief Academic Officer pages. Many times we had to search through long reports or self-studies to find references to assessment findings. At the same time, we also found institutions that apparently have worked through many of the challenging questions associated with providing information they determined would be of legitimate interest to different constituencies on and off the campus.”
I believe public disclosure of student learning outcomes should be regarded as a professional obligation of all colleges and universities, and should be required as a condition of accreditation. That goes beyond where NILOA is prepared to go, but I’m delighted to see the transparency framework, and hope many colleges and universities will take advantage of it.