Transparency and Portability

When the desired learning outcomes are identified and explicated for students, institutions encourage their students to become self-aware learners. Since the 1970s, a plethora of research has demonstrated that metacognition is an important contributing factor for successful learning (Hacker, Dunlosky, & Graesser, 1998). When given to students and explicated for them, learning outcomes can contribute to students’ development of deeper learning by helping them become more aware of their own learning. When not required to intuit how courses and classroom activities promote learning, students are better equipped to develop the kinds of knowledge and ability that curricula are designed to promote. Minnesota wrote that their experience with Tuning led to increased clarity of communication to students regarding what knowledge and skills were expected for demonstration within the discipline and which would be used in future careers (Minnesota Office of Higher Education, 2010). The Indiana Tuning project stated that while some institutions had institution-level learning outcomes, prior to involvement in Tuning they were rarely publicized, rarely addressed at more than one degree level, were rarely clearly defined, and never discussed across institutional boundaries (Indiana Commission for Higher Education, 2010). Institutions using the DQP have stated that, through faculty discussions, what the degree represents and means has become clear to faculty and to students regarding what proficiencies students should meet, what needs to be done to get there, and how students will know they have attained them. Further, involvement in the DQP and Tuning efforts have led to transfer agreements between institutions, such as those in Texas and in the Quality Collaboratives of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)—which have the potential to improve transferability and increase student success. Further, institutions hope that having clear, transparent pathways for students, focused on shared proficiencies and outcomes will help reduce cost for students while having a significant effect on completion rates (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2011).