Using Learning Outcomes Assessment in Honors as a Defense Against Proposed Standardized Testing


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Spring 2006


Learning outcomes assessment (LOA) is the self-assessment of self-created learning goals for students at the class, department, college, and university level. In higher education, LOA is being imposed upon us by our accrediting bodies (Eaton, Fryshman, Hope, Scanlon, & Crow, 2005; Lingenfelter & Lenth, 2005; Nichols, 1991, 1995; Wergin, 2005). This is difficult for us because LOA is not a part of the university culture, and there are very few people on most campuses skilled in the implementation of LOA. There is also very little in the way of release time and other resources that are being provided to implement LOA on many college and university campuses nationwide. With these factors in place, it is not surprising that most of my colleagues did not welcome the LOA introduced in 2003 at my university in preparation for our upcoming reaccreditation visit. Similar resistance is being experienced on many campuses nationwide. To add to the discontent with the current testing movement, recent reports have suggested that the Secretary of Education’s Higher Education Commission may call for standardized testing in higher education (Field, 2006).