ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

Are They Learning?

A College Trustee's Guide to Assessing Academic Effectiveness

January 2013 by ACTA's Institute for Effective Governance

The most urgent task of colleges and universities is to prepare graduates for the challenges of career, community, and citizenship. Responsible institutions will be diligent and proactive in determining whether their academic programs increase core collegiate skills in analytical reasoning, mathematics, critical thinking, and writing. This brochure describes several valid, reliable, and nationally-normed assessments that colleges can use to measure the overall intellectual growth of their students. Unlike the tests and papers found in individual courses, these instruments provide a comprehensive profile of academic progress. Trustees will find in this brief guide both a rationale and supporting arguments for implementing institution-wide assessment of growth in core collegiate skills. Governing boards have a crucial role in ensuring that their institutions continuously improve teaching and learning, and objective assessment of core skills is the key element in academic quality assurance.