Tested and ready: DQP honed by faculty in the field

Since its publication in January 2011 as the beta Degree Qualifications Profile, the DQP has proved its usefulness to higher education institutions and associations from coast to coast. More than 400 colleges and universities1 have used the DQP. Its applications have been as diverse as the variety of missions of higher education. The following examples will indicate the range:

  • Many institutions have used the DQP to review and strengthen their general education curricula and enhance connections between general education and the major.
  • Two- and four-year institutions in nine states have collaborated on ways to assess DQP proficiencies in the context of student transfer.
  • Some institutions working to develop discipline-specific learning outcomes (often through “Tuning” projects) have specified links to DQP proficiencies.
  • Some institutions have implemented a reorientation of their mission and curriculum in light of the DQP.   
  • Some institutions with existing statements of learning outcomes have used the DQP in a “gap analysis” to determine the inclusiveness, sufficiency and distinctive strengths of their statements.
  • Some institutions have used the DQP as a platform for discussions with employers and other stakeholders about needs and expectations.
  • Some institutions have created model assignments for their students in the light of DQP proficiencies.

Though this formal release of the DQP reflects much that has been learned through experience with the earlier beta version, this document is more an enhancement than a revision. The fundamental strength of the DQP — succinct, active definitions of what degree recipients should know and be able to do at each degree level — remains unchanged. Those engaged in implementation or adaptation of the DQP may be confident that its structure and contents have not been substantially altered.

shutterstock_84518017What has changed since the beta version of the DQP was issued in 2011? Informed by significant feedback from the field,2 this edition includes new proficiencies addressing ethical reasoning and global learning, strengthened statements on quantitative reasoning, and more explicit attention to research. It now highlights analytical and cooperative approaches to learning that transcend specific fields of study. It provides guidance on integrating the development of students’ intellectual skills with their broad, specialized, applied and civic learning. And, in response to explicit requests from the field, it points to resources that support the assessment of DQP proficiencies.

This edition of the DQP thus builds on the success of its beta edition — to offer an even more useful, flexible and practical guide for what college graduates should know and be able to do when awarded the associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree. Future editions of the DQP will be published on a regular basis, as revisions are called for by the field, but the goal of the DQP throughout future editions will continue unchanged — to be a useful, flexible and practical tool to define postsecondary degrees in the U.S. through the demonstration and documentation of student learning, regardless of the student’s field of study.

Users may make suggestions for improving the DQP on our feedback form.

1 References to “colleges and universities” include community colleges, junior colleges and nontraditional providers.

2 The DQP has been used and tested by more than 400 colleges and universities, four of the seven regional accrediting associations and several constituency organizations including the Council of Independent Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities.