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Learning and Educational Outcomes: Assessing Resiliency in Life and Career. David P. Angel, President Clark University. Liberal Education and Effective Practice. Comprehensive re-imagination of our approach to undergraduate education

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David P. Angel, President

Clark University

Liberal education and effective practice
Liberal Education and Effective Practice

  • Comprehensive re-imagination of our approach to undergraduate education

  • Based on the premise that liberal education must advance and become more deeply attuned to changes underway in our economy, our society and our democracy

  • Planning work initiated in 2008, launch 2011, full to scale implementation 2015

  • Support from Davis Educational Foundation, Mellon Foundation, and Teagle Foundation/AAC&U

Leep learning outcomes
LEEP Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge of the natural world and human cultures and societies

2. Intellectual and practical skills

3. Personal and social responsibility

4. Ability to integrate knowledge and skills

+ Clark’s Defining Contribution

5. Capacities of effective practice – including creativity and imagination, self-directedness, resilience and persistence, and the ability to collaborate across differences and manage complexity

*Learning outcomes, Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)

Advancing liberal education
Advancing Liberal Education

  • Affirming focus on education for life, career, and citizenship (not ‘first job’ skill specialization)

  • Recognizing the growing imperative for students at the point of graduation to demonstrate the capacity to ‘put their liberal education to work in the world’ (shifts in the economy, labor market, and work place across all sectors)

  • Seeking to enhance the effectiveness of the college to career transition for students

Liberal education and effective practice implementation informed by
Liberal Education and Effective PracticeImplementation informed by:

  • Research in the learning sciences – e.g. importance of high impact practices in the curriculum (first year intensives, LEEP pioneer projects)

  • Adopting developmental approaches (transition, growth and exploration, synthesis and demonstration, post-graduate)

  • Emerging adulthood studies (what do we know about this life stage? – identify formation, exploration, optimism, authenticity)

  • Build on strengths (exemplary activities validated within institutional culture)

Leep projects synthesis and demonstration
LEEP Projects – Synthesis and Demonstration

  • Placing students in authentic problem solving situations in the world

  • Project-based; defined outcomes; assigned responsibility

  • Alumni-host organizations

  • Faculty mentors

  • Pre-placement training

  • Reflective essays

  • Post-placement TED-talk/presentations

  • LEEP Alliance Partners (tune and assess)

  • Embedded in the academic program

Leep projects version 1 0
LEEP Projects Version 1.0

  • Sample placements to be added

Assessing leep advancing the conversation
Assessing LEEP – Advancing the Conversation

“Taken together, the findings in this report signal the need to shift the national assessment effort from one of compliance and accountability to one of heightened determination to move the needle on demonstrated achievement. For, as Making Progress shows, we have a high degree of consensus on learning outcomes that students really need to achieve and abundant evidence that too many students are falling short in relation to these outcomes” AAC&U Making Progress 2012

Leep baseline compared to aac u s making progress report
LEEP Baseline Compared to AAC&U’s Making Progress Report

Learning Outcomes Comparison – NSSE (2010) vs. Clark (2011)

Sample of Learning Outcomes 1 and 2


Acquiring a broad general education

very much 47% 67%

quite a bit 37% 25%


Thinking critically and analytically

very much 52% 68%

quite a bit 35% 29%

Analyzing quantitative problems

very much 40% 29%

quite a bit 36% 31%

Teamwork and problem solving

very much 44% 45%

quite a bit 36% 38%

Leep baseline compared to aac u s making progress report1
LEEP Baseline Compared to AAC&U’s Making Progress Report

Learning Outcomes Comparison – NSSE (2010) vs. Clark (2011)

Sample of Learning Outcomes 3 and 4


Contributing to the welfare of your community

very much 21% 48%

quite a bit 28% 27%

Learning effectively on your own

very much 36% 47%

quite a bit 39% 42%


Put together ideas of concepts from different courses when completing assignments

very much 28% 36%

quite a bit 42% 37%

Worked on a paper or project that required integrating ideas

very much 50% 66%

quite a bit 37% 28%

Assessing effective practice
Assessing Effective Practice

  • Direct assessment tools (e.g. Angela Duckworth’s GRIT survey of perseverance towards long term goals)

  • Analyzing ‘reflection statements’ generated during placements

  • Analyzing placement blogs

  • LEEP Learning Lab

  • In-situ placement assessments

  • Ted-talks

Assessing effective practice looking forward
Assessing Effective Practice: Looking Forward

“Currently, the most promising strategy for both assessment and improvement combines e-portfolios with the use of scoring rubrics to evaluate student progress and proficiency levels on specific learning outcomes. This strategy is especially effective for capturing learning outcomes or skills that are not amenable to, or appropriate for, standardized measurement (e.g. problem solving, team work, …” AAC&U Making Progress 2012