Peer Review

Highlights of AAC&U's Work on Collaborative Leadership for Liberal Education

The Quality Collaboratives Project

AAC&U is partnering with the Hewlett and Lumina foundations to explore a shared degree framework—the Degree Qualifications Profile—across all sectors of higher education. The Quality Collaboratives (QC) project is testing a family of approaches to assessing the Degree Qualifications Profile outcomes and to make recommendations about how transfer campus partners and their faculty and staff can design practices that help students achieve essential competencies; document students’ attainment of these outcomes; and facilitate students’ transfer of courses and competencies between two-year and four-year transfer institutions. The DQP encompasses the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes. AAC&U is working with nine states—California, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Massachusetts, and North Dakota—including the eight LEAP State partners, and directly with twenty two- and four-year transfer partner institutions in seven of the states to pilot and develop these goals.

The Quality Collaboratives Institutions

  • California State University, Northridge
  • Pierce College
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana
  • University of Louisville
  • Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
  • Fitchburg State University
  • Mount Wachusett Community College
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Middlesex Community College
  • University of Utah
  • Salt Lake Community College
  • University of Wisconsin–Parkside
  • University of Wisconsin–Waukesha
  • University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh
  • University of Wisconsin–Fox Valley
  • James Madison University
  • Blue Ridge Community College
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

The Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) Project

As institutions are asked to document the quality of student learning and to raise retention and graduation rates, the VALUE project is helping them define, document, assess, and strengthen student achievement of the Essential Learning Outcomes that stand at the center of AAC&U’s LEAP initiative. Recognizing that there are no standardized tests for many of the essential outcomes of an undergraduate education, the VALUE project has developed ways for students and institutions to collect convincing evidence of student learning: (1) drawn primarily from the work students complete through their required curriculum, (2) assessed by well-developed campus rubrics and judgments of selected experts, and (3) demonstrated through electronic portfolios (e-portfolios) that can be organized and presented in ways appropriate for different audiences.

Through the VALUE project, teams of faculty and other academic and student affairs professionals from all sectors of higher education across the United States gathered, analyzed, and synthesized institutional-level rubrics (and related materials) for fifteen specific areas of learning directly related to the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes:

  • civic engagement
  • creative thinking
  • critical thinking
  • ethical reasoning
  • foundations and skills for lifelong learning
  • information literacy
  • inquiry and analysis
  • integrative and applied learning
  • intercultural knowledge and competence
  • oral communication
  • problem solving
  • quantitative literacy
  • reading
  • teamwork
  • written communication

This process resulted in the creation of fifteen VALUE rubrics. (A sixteenth VALUE rubric, focused on global learning, will be released in May 2013.) The final drafts of rubrics for all fifteen outcomes are available on the AAC&U website at

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