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In response, throughout the 1990s administrative leaders at a majority of academic institutions began to require outcomes assessment projects. The typical directive that was passed down from the Academic Vice President to deans to department heads to course faculty was to find ways to provide data on improved student learning. During that decade assessment projects proliferated, many of which drew on the last four models we have examined. The second major adjustment came later. In 2001, Peter Ewell, commissioned by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), clarified student learning outcomes, to be ‘‘properly defined in terms of the particular levels of knowledge, skills, and abilities that a student has attained at the end (or as a result) of his or her engagement in a particular set of collegiate experiences’’ (Ewell, 2001).

This surprisingly simple academic practice simultaneously generates multi-faceted data on actual student learning directly out of the college’s or university’s academic and co-curricular programs data for all four of the purposes. Thus there is a sustained focus on student learning outcomes throughout the institution. Outcomes system: individual student accountability. What most clearly sets this model apart from all of the other models is that student learning outcomes are fundamentally understood both as attributes of individual students and as attributes of the organization.

Financial aid officers in the institution will also notice, since the federal government now makes continued financial aid to any student contingent on a certain percentage of ‘‘success’’ (passing courses) in a student’s attempted number of credits. However, since this review only occurs at the end of each academic term, any organizational attempt to notice failing students during an academic term – often called ‘‘an early warning system’’ – has to be an extra, off-system process. Rubric score: 1.

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