Deadline for Applications: October 16, 2013
Evidence of student achievement, student learning outcomes, plays an increasingly important role in discussions of higher education accountability, quality and effectiveness. At the same time, developing and using capacity to address student learning outcomes is a complex and significant challenge for colleges and universities, whether pursued at the level of an institution, a program or a major. This award acknowledges outstanding practices in developing and applying evidence of student learning outcomes as part of the ongoing accountability, evaluation and improvement of college and university programs of study. Up to four awards will be made each year. Awards will be presented at the CHEA Annual Conference.
Applications will be accepted only from current CHEA institutional members. For members who are prior award winners and wish to submit a proposal for another award, the second proposal will be considered only if it is for a different program or major from the initial award or, if an initial institutional award, is a proposal for a program or major.
Categories of Award
The application may be institution-wide, focused on a specific program or focused on a major. Each application should contain a designation of the category for which it has been prepared: institution, program or major. Applications will be judged within the specific award category designated.
Award Selection and CriteriaApplications will be reviewed by an Award Committee of individuals from higher education institutions, higher education associations, accrediting organizations and the public. Applications will be judged by the extent to which four award criteria have been met:
In addition to the four criteria, the committee looks for evidence that outstanding practice related to outcomes (1) is embedded in an institutional culture, (2) makes good use of current technology in the methods and tools to track outcomes, (3) includes extensive use of faculty and strong faculty support, (4) is supported by institutional leadership that is dedicated to the importance of outcomes and (5) involves approaches to outcomes that can be replicated at other institutions.
To be considered for an award, an applicant on behalf of an institution, program or major should complete the four sections of this application.
Section 1: Contact information for individual submitting the application
Section 2: Institutional endorsement by the chief executive officer or chief academic officer
Section 3: Application summary (100 words or less)
Section 4: Award criteria (response to each criterion not to exceed two pages)
Applications that do not conform to format and length will not be considered by the award committee. Applications should provide full information in response to each award criterion. A complete response to each criterion is to be included in the text. Please do not rely on a review of links by the committee.
Examples of Evidence for Award CriteriaEvidence can be the result of quantitative and qualitative approaches to gathering information. It should be relevant to what is being claimed, potentially verifiable through replication or third-party inspection and representative or typical of major, program or institutional performance. Evidence must involve examination of student levels of attainment (individual students or representative samples) and may include:
Self-study reports and student satisfaction surveys do not constitute direct evidence of student learning outcomes.
CHEA Award: Successful Proposals to Date
A description of proposals of prior CHEA Award recipients may be found at: past CHEA Award winners.
The CHEA Award and the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability: Committing to Quality: Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability in Higher Education
The CHEA Award criteria align with the four principles established in the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability’s 2012 publication, Committing to Quality: Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability in Higher Education. Institutions and programs that have made use of these principles and the companion document, Assuring Quality: An Institutional Self-Assessment Tool for Excellent Practice in Student Learning Outcomes Assessment, may find their work with the guidelines and practices to constitute a strong foundation for a CHEA Award application.
Electronic copies of these documents are available for free download. Print copies are available at no charge for a shipping and handling fee.
Initiated in 2005 by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the CHEA Award was created to encourage and enhance attention to student learning outcomes within and among institutions, programs and majors. The four award criteria are intended to provide a framework within which higher education may address what students learn and can do, providing students, the public and the academic community with reliable evidence of student achievement. The award seeks not only to acknowledge the work of colleges and universities, but also to encourage future attention to student learning and to share effective practices in student learning within the academic community. The award criteria are described above.
The New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability’s Committing to Quality was published in 2012. These guidelines are directed to colleges and universities to address the vital question, “Are students learning?” and to serve as a tool to aid institutions in taking responsibility for assessing and improving student learning. The four guidelines, accompanied by additional description of what is needed to meet the expectations expressed, offer sound and useful ideas to institutions seeking to move forward in this important area. The guidelines call on institutions to:
Applicants who effectively address the CHEA Award criteria will likely meet the expectations of the Committing to Quality guidelines and vice-versa. Both the criteria and the guidelines (1) call on institutions and programs to state their objectives for student learning, (2) develop evidence that student learning has taken place, (3) use the evidence to inform the public of what has been accomplished with regard to student learning and (4) use the evidence for institutional improvement.
It is not a coincidence that the CHEA Award criteria and the Committing to Quality guidelines are aligned. The CHEA Award was established by the Board of Directors representing the 3,000 degree-granting institutions that are members of CHEA. Committing to Quality is a publication of an organization devoted to support of voluntary and cooperative efforts to improve student learning, with a particular focus on associations of colleges and universities working together. Both organizations are committed to the centrality of success with student achievement in higher education and strongly support academic faculty and the nation’s colleges and universities in carrying out this vital work.
Definitions of Key Terms
For the purposes of the CHEA Award:
Suggested Reference Materials
Council for Higher Education Accreditation (2010). Effective Practices: The Role of Accreditation in Student Achievement. Washington, DC: Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). http://www.chea.org/pdf/Effective Practice Revised3.pdf
Council for Higher Education Accreditation (2003). Statement of Mutual Responsibilities for Student Learning Outcomes: Accreditation, Institutions and Programs. Washington, DC: Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). http://www.chea.org/pdf/StmntStudentLearningOutcomes9-03.pdf
Effective Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes: CHEA Award Recipients at http://www.chea.org/chea award/CHEA_Awards_All.html for summaries of award-winning institutions and programs.
Ewell, Peter T. (2001). Accreditation and Student Learning Outcomes: A Proposed Point of Departure. Washington, DC: Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). http://www.chea.org/award/StudentLearningOutcomes2001.pdf
New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability (2012). Assuring Quality: An Institutional Self-Assessment Tool for Excellent Practice in Student Learning Outcomes Assessment. http://kry224-site0001.maxesp.net/alliance_publications/assuring%20quality-pdf%20version.pdf
New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability (2012). Committing to Quality: Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability in Higher Education. https://kry224-site0001.maxesp.net/alliance_publications/committing%20to%20quality-3rd%20edition.pdf
Applications may be submitted as email attachments in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat format and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications may be also submitted via U.S. mail or other delivery service to the following address:Joél Espinoza
Special Assistant to the President
Council for Higher Education Accreditation
One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20036-1135
Applications must be received by Wednesday, October 16, 2013. Acknowledgment of receipt of application will be sent to the applicant via email.
Additional InformationFor information about CHEA, please visit www.chea.org. For questions about the CHEA Award, contact Joél Espinoza at 202-955-6126 (email@example.com).