NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED567005
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
Aligning Educational Outcomes and Practices. Occasional Paper #26
Hutchings, Pat
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment
The notion of alignment has become increasingly prominent in efforts to improve student learning today. The term, as used in this paper, refers to the linking of intended student learning outcomes with the processes and practices needed to foster those outcomes. Alignment is not a new idea, but it has become more salient as increasing numbers of campuses have devised institution-level learning outcomes, and as frameworks such as the Association of American Colleges and Universities' (AAC&U) Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs), Lumina Foundation's Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP), and Tuning USA have become widely known and adopted. It has also become more important as students swirl through multiple institutions, stop out and return, and take advantage of the growing set of providers offering courses, badges, and certificates. Seen from this perspective, alignment is a much-needed counter to fragmentation and incoherence. But achieving alignment isn't easy. In 2013 only four in ten institutions reported that the learning goals of all of their academic programs were aligned with the institution's stated learning outcomes. Drawing on work by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), this paper explores what campuses can do to facilitate this process in a way that makes a difference in the experience and achievements of learners. Specifically it reviews the use of curricular mapping as one prominent approach to achieving alignment; explores another approach that emerges more directly from the interests and work of faculty; proposes a number of implications for approaching the work of alignment; and concludes with an examination of the roles that students can play in our thinking about alignment. The aim of the paper is to begin to "crack open" this topic in ways that recognize its multiple levels, full range of contributors, and complexity.
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. 340 Education Building MC 708, 1310 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820. Tel: 217-244-2155; Fax: 217-244-5632; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment