Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Assessment of Undergraduate Student Learning

Some blog followers might be interested in a discussion-list post “Assessment of Undergraduate Student Learning” [Hake (2014)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Norman Stahl (2014) of the LrnAsst list has called attention to the AAC&U (2014) report “68 Institutions in Nine States to Pilot New Approach to 
Learning Outcomes Assessment” at The report states (slightly edited):

“ ‘The calls are mounting daily for higher education to be able to show what students can successfully do with their learning,’ said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. ‘The Multi-State Collaborative is a very important step toward focusing assessment on the best evidence of all: the work students produce in the course of their college studies.’. . . . . . . . . . For more information, see ‘VALUE: Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education’ (AAC&U, 2014b) at; and ‘MSC: A Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment’ (SHEEO, 2014) at . . . . .”

This response with its over 50 references and over 80 hot links can serve as a window into the literature of undergraduate learning assessment. It consists of two parts:

PART I: An expurgated and annotated version of a letter in support of the AAC&U’s assessment of undergraduate learning titled “It's Time to Get Serious About the Right Kind of Assessment” by Daniel F. Sullivan (2014) at Sullivan is President Emeritus of St. Lawrence University, Senior Advisor to the AAC&U President; and Chair, AAC&U Presidents’ Trust.

PART II: A review of assessments of undergraduate learning prior to the AAC&U effort. Updated and revised from “The Physics Education Reform Effort: A Possible Model for Higher Education?” (Hake, 2006a) at

To access the complete 115 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University. LINKS TO: Academia; Articles; Blog; Facebook; GooglePlus; Google Scholar; Linked In; Research Gate; Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs; Twitter

“What we assess is what we value. We get what we assess, and if we don’t assess it, we won't get it.” - Lauren Resnick [quoted by Grant Wiggins (1990)]

“Physics educators have led the way in developing and using objective tests to compare student learning gains in different types of courses, and chemists, biologists, and others are now developing similar instruments. These tests provide convincing evidence that students assimilate new knowledge more effectively in courses including active, inquiry-based, and collaborative learning, assisted by information technology, than in traditional courses.” - Wood & Gentile (2003)

REFERENCES [URLs shortened by and accessed on 16 July 2014.]
Hake, R.R. 2014. “Assessment of Undergraduate Student Learning,” post of 16 Jul 2014 16:40:53-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. Online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists.

Wiggins, G. 1990. “The Truth May Make You Free, But the Test May Keep You Imprisoned: Toward Assessment Worthy of the Liberal Arts,” AAHE Assessment Forum: 17-31; online as a 61 kB pdf at

Wood, W.B., & J.M. Gentile. 2003. “Teaching in a research context,” Science 302: 1510; 28 November; online as a 209 kB pdf, thanks to Bioquest.

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