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"As all stakeholders in higher education focus more intently on increasing degree attainment, it is more important than ever to fully understand the meaning of those degrees. While many institutions have worked to identify student learning outcomes to inform their own work, these efforts have been largely invisible to students and...
"As all stakeholders in higher education focus more intently on increasing degree attainment, it is more important than ever to fully understand the meaning of those degrees. While many institutions have worked to identify student learning outcomes to inform their own work, these efforts have been largely invisible to students and other key players. The Degree Profile seeks to clearly define the learning that students should acquire. It does this by establishing reference points regarding the level and nature of the learning.
The reference points aim to do all of the following: • Help postsecondary students better understand the work they will engage in at an institution. • Focus and organize efforts to ensure institutional accountability. • Help faculty and institutions in their assessment efforts. • Create a common vocabulary for all stakeholders."
The student learning outcomes, or competencies, are organized in five broad categories:
1. Specialized Knowledge. Independent of the vocabularies, theories and skills of particular fields, what students in any specialization should demonstrate with respect to the specialization itself.
2. Broad, Integrative Knowledge. Something that transcends typical distribution requirements bounded by the first two years of higher education. This category of competencies is about bringing together learning from broad fields of study throughout the three degree levels covered in the Degree Profile.
3. Intellectual Skills. Both traditional and nontraditional cognitive operations are brought together and in sometimes new formulations: communications fluencies, quantitative fluencies, analytic operations, use of information resources, and the capacity to perceive from different points of reference.
4. Applied Learning. What students can do with what they know, demonstrated by innovation and fluency in addressing unscripted problems at work and in other non-classroom settings.
5. Civic Learning. Integration of knowledge and skills in applications that facilitate student articulation and response to social, environmental and economic challenges at local, national and global levels