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As another example, the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology (ABET) established a set of expectations for engineering programs that have guided the development of both curricula and accreditation criteria since 2000.Granted, SLOs are easier to establish and use in professional fields than they are in the liberal arts.If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course.
One place where the SLO movement did go off the rails, though, was allowing SLOs to be so closely identified with assessment.
When the assessment bandwagon really caught on with accreditors in the mid-1990s, it required institutions and programs to establish SLOs solely for the purpose of constructing assessments.
Nevertheless, a 10-year retrospective study, published about two years ago, provided persuasive empirical evidence that engineering graduates were achieving the intended outcomes and that these outcomes have been supported and used by faculties in engineering worldwide.
Shireman also is on point about the most effective way to examine undergraduate quality: looking at actual student work.
At the same time, accreditors can vastly improve how they communicate and work with institutions about SLOs and assessment processes.
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To begin with, it would help a lot if they adopted more common language.
Based on my firsthand experience with dozens of them as one of the four authors of the DQP, their faculties do not find the DQP proficiency statements to be “brief blurbs” that give them “an excuse to dismiss the process,” as Shireman wrote.
Instead, they are using these statements to guide a systematic review of their program offerings, to determine where additional attention is needed to make sure students are achieving the intended skills and dispositions, and to make changes that will help students do so.
This was done as part of an ongoing project called the Multi-State Collaborative (MSC) undertaken by AAC&U and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO).
The project is scaling up this year to 12 states and more than 100 institutions.