Assessing student learning

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Recently, I have found myself in several meetings and informal discussions around assessment.  Penn State is heavily involved in a university-wide program assessment effort, fueled by Middle States accreditation.  Several members of the Institute are involved to assist Undergraduate Education, working with every degree granting program at Penn State to foster a culture of learning outcomes assessment through data.

A colleague pointed out an interesting article in the Chronicle of Education, examining a recent survey of chief academic officers and chairs of board committees on academic affairs across the country dealing with learning outcomes assessment.  The article doesn't paint a very pleasant picture.  How involved should the Board of Trustees at a university be with learning outcomes assessment compared to other topics, like financial issues?

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