New standards for undergraduate learning aim
to help universities serve students better.
BY JAMIE CHAMBERLIN • Monitor staff
APA has joined a national initiative to improve the quality of education on U.S. campuses by endorsing new guidelines that call for colleges and universities to
step up their efforts to measure and improve student learning.
APA’s Board of Directors approved the document, “Committing
to Quality: Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability” on
Left Behind goes to college,” Belar adds. “An important
feature is that the principles set standards without demanding
Specifically, the guidelines call for schools to:
• Provide statements that list what students should be
able to do, achieve, demonstrate or know after earning their
• Establish policies on how often they will assess student
learning and compare their data with learning outcomes
from other universities. Such measures should also examine
performance differences among student subgroups, such
as minority groups, first-generation college students and
• Use their data to fine-tune teaching, courses and academic
programs and evaluate changes in programs and practices.
• Share findings about student learning with faculty,
students, parents and the institution’s governing board. Those
data should also be available to the public on the school’s
website, along with information on student retention and time-to-degree statistics.
Supporters hope the guidelines will help address a