Related Initiatives

The Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment

The Multi-State Collaborative (MSC) is an initiative co-supported by State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Currently, nine states—Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Utah—agreed to collaborate in the development and pilot testing a student learning outcomes assessment model rooted in campus/system collaboration, in authentic student work, and in faculty curriculum development and teaching activity. There are five webinars explaining more about MSC, the work associated with this initiative, and future steps:

Quality Assurance Commons for Higher & Postsecondary Education

The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher & Postsecondary Education (QA Commons) is a project of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) under a grant from Lumina Foundation. The QA Commons is exploring, developing, and testing alternative approaches of quality assurance that respond to the changing landscape of higher and postsecondary education and will serve the needs of learners, employers, and the larger society.

The Right Signals Initiative

Supported by a grant from Lumina Foundation, the Right Signals Initiative aims to develop a new credentialing model that accurately communicates to employers, students, and colleges the meaning of credentials. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) will work with approximately 20 community colleges over the course of 18 months, and seeks colleges that already have experience with expanding and integrating credentialing at their institution.  The initiative will focus specifically on the following credentials: degrees, certificates, industry certifications, apprenticeships, and badges. Proposals are due by January 29, 2016. More information.

The Pathways Project

American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) Pathways Project is scaling up to include 30 community colleges across 17 states. This means that students, beginning with 2018 enrollees, will choose courses based on pathways developed by faculty and advisers. The goal is to promote student completion and success at the two-year level.  Article on the Pathways Project can be found here, here, and here.

Corporation for a Skilled Workforce

Corporation for a Skilled Workforce is an advocacy group for competency-based learning. This includes supporting the rise of competency-based credentials able to reflect learning that takes place outside of classrooms. This organization is a good resource for those interested in alternative approaches to assessing student learning.

National Conference on Citizenship

The National Conference on Citizenship engages in initiatives and provides information regarding civic life, which may be helpful for those interested in civic education initiatives. The organization works with other agencies and groups to enhance the quality of civic life in various contexts. Located on the organization’s website are research, discussion, and solutions sections aimed at providing website viewers with additional resources.

National Student Clearinghouse

The National Student Clearinghouse is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing higher education institutions with information about student learning and outcomes. The organization engages in student data reporting to help institutions make informed decisions. They also provide research services.

The Midwestern Higher Education Compact

The Midwestern Higher Education Compact is involved in a multi-state initiative to help 13 states translate the competencies veterans have learned from military service into equivalent learning outcomes from the perspective of colleges and universities. This initiative may interest those who seek to have a better understanding about competency-based learning.

Complete College America

Complete College America is a nonprofit organization that supports higher education institutions’ remediation efforts to ensure the success of students. In particular, the organization seeks to improve colleges and universities abilities to serve underrepresented student populations, with co-requisite remediation efforts being one area of focus.

Common Employability Skills

The National Network of Business and Industry Associations identified the Common Employability Skills for all jobs, which include Personal Skills, People Skills, Applied Knowledge, and Workplace Skills.  The Common Employability Skills can benefit employers, potential employees, and educators and other learning providers.

Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Framework

The Alliance is a Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) initiative with goals to help state and local/regional partnerships strengthen career pathway systems.

Advancing Underserved Student Success Through Faculty Intentionality in Problem-Centered Learning

As a newly-funded LEAP project, this program will provide insights into the role of problem-centered designs for promoting learning for underserved students, specifically with integrative learning across general education courses.


Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) is a national advocacy and research initiative that stresses the importance of liberal education.  LEAP promotes Essential Learning Outcomes, Principles of Excellence, High-Impact Educational Practices, Authentic Assessments, and Inclusive Excellence.


General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs) represents a large-scale effort to provide “design principles” for learning and long-term student success.  This program intends to move higher education from designs for general education based on credits earned to a vision that integrates students’ learning experiences from cornerstone to capstone and focused on Essential Learning Outcomes.

To learn more see General Education Maps and Markers: Designing Meaningful Pathways to Student Achievement.

WICHE Interstate Passport

WICHE’s Interstate Passport Initiative is an effort to advance policies and practices for a “friction-free” transfer for students.  The Initiative includes a learning-outcomes-based framework which will improve graduation rates and reduce time to degree.

VALUE Rubrics

The Value Rubrics are part of AAC&U’s LEAP Initiative with each rubric developed from frequently identified characteristics of learning for each of the 16 learning outcomes.  The VALUE Rubrics add to the dialogue on assessment of student learning.

High-Impact Practices

High-Impact educational Practices are aimed at deepening students’ investment in learning and building substantive relationships while offering opportunities for reflection and feedback.   These practices can include first-year seminars, learning communities, internships, service learning, and capstone courses.

Prior-Learning Assessment (PLA)

CAEL’s Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a process of earning college credit acquired from other sources, such as professional work or training experience, military training, or open source learning from the web.  PLA includes several options on evaluating and awarding credit, such as Portfolio-based Assessments, Advanced Placement (AP) Exams, Challenge Exams, and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams.

Ready to Work

The Obama Administration announced an initiative aimed at making federal employment and training programs and policies more job-driven and effective.  The initiative will make programs more accountable for matching and training veterans, those with disabilities, young people entering the workforce and those seeking a better career path to get into good jobs.

Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program

The TAACCCT provides community colleges and other eligible institutions with funds to expand and improve the ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less.

National Standards for Strong Apprenticeships

This publication from The Center for American Progress calls for more effective policies and programs for an apprenticeship system.  An improved system will meet the needs of employers and provide useful training to potential employees.

A path to alignment: Connecting K-12 and higher education via the Common Core and the Degree Qualifications Profile

This publication from Lumina Foundation details how the Common Core State Standards and the Degree Qualifications Profile can better align K-12 and higher education.

Connecting Credentials: A National Dialogue on Building Learning-Based Credentialing Systems

Connecting Credentials website provides resources from the various co-sponsor organizations and institutions in order to advance a national dialogue on credentials. Included in these resources is a document making the case for reforms of the U.S. credentialing system along with reports aimed at providing a common language to make meaning of credentials at varying levels. Additional resources are drawn from industry, education, federal and state, and international contexts to exemplify all aspects of the conversation.

Lumina Foundation is conducting a credential survey to learn more about the practice of embedding industry and professional certifications within higher education programs. The national survey aims to collect information about such partnerships between higher education institutions, high schools, employers and industry groups. The survey takes less than 15 minutes to complete and will be available through July 22, 2016. The findings will be summarized and a select number of sites across the country will be studied as models of innovation.

In addition, Lumina convened five work groups around each of the following topics: finding a common language, improving data and information tools, aligning and improving quality assurance systems, deepening employer usage of diverse credentials, and developing pathways using credentials. As a result of this effort, a new report from each of the work groups has been released. Forthcoming this summer will be an action plan for credentialing improvement with recommendations from the five work groups.

Comprehensive Student Records Project

The Comprehensive Student Records (CSR) project aims to document and distribute student learning outcomes and student competencies that arise from both in-class learning and experiential knowledge from co-curricular and other educational experiences. CSR is a partnership between NASPA and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). Currently, there are eleven participating institutions. This project will allow colleges and universities to develop additional methods through which to serve students who acquire knowledge from various sources outside of academe. A summary from a CSR project convening in October 2015 can be found here.