The DQP: value, uses, contexts and reinforcement

The Degree Qualifications Profile describes what degree recipients should know and be able to do. As a profile that invites institutions to fill in the details, the DQP proposes proficiencies that benchmark the associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees — which constitute the great majority of postsecondary degrees awarded by U.S. colleges and universities — regardless of a student’s field of specialization.

The proficiencies specified in the DQP are not without precedent. In fact, the DQP draws on more than a decade of widespread debate and effort across all levels of U.S. higher education and in countries throughout the world to define learning outcomes that graduates are expected to fulfill in preparation for work, citizenship, global participation and life. But the DQP represents a significant advance beyond such efforts by describing in concrete terms how students demonstrate expected proficiencies across different degree levels and across the different elements of any degree.

Informed by its application in more than 400 institutions and by more than 100 substantive recommendations from authoritative reviewers, the DQP represents a continuing resource for higher education. Of course, further experience with the DQP and reflection on its many applications should improve subsequent editions.

The intermediate goal of the DQP process is consensus on a public definition of quality in U.S. higher education. In reaching toward this goal, the DQP has a strong ally in Tuning. Tuning convenes faculty within a discipline who, with input from employers, establish discipline-specific curricular reference points and learning outcomes that can be linked to DQP proficiencies. In the longer term, the DQP and allied efforts seek to increase the capacity of postsecondary education to ensure that students achieve the levels of learning they require and deserve.