The Excellent Practice in Student Learning Assessment (EPSLA) institutional certification program will recognize high level institutional performance in assessment and using evidence to improve student learning. Like the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) project run by the U.S. Green Building Council, it is intended to motivate as many institutions as possible to meet high standards. The resulting recognition should persuade many high-performing institutions to seek certification and thereby inspire others to raise their own standards of performance. The certification process will help promote good practices in assessing and improving student learning and will encourage institutions to develop processes in a more meaningful, systematic way.
In order to be certified, an institution will have to demonstrate that it has explicit and ambitious learning outcomes for the institution as a whole and for all of its undergraduate academic and cocurricular programs. It will also have to demonstrate that program-level learning outcomes are consistent with institutional learning outcomes and that all its learning outcomes are consistent with widely acknowledged goals for higher education. It will be able to document that it routinely and systematically gathers evidence of the achievement of these outcomes using sound methodologies that allow judgments of effectiveness using external as well as internal criteria. The institution will also have to show that its leadership (including academic, student affairs, executive, and governing bodies), faculty, and administrators analyze and use the resulting evidence to improve programs and services continuously, and that learning has improved as a result of the evidence-informed changes. The institution will also have to publish on its website meaningful evidence about student learning at the institution, as well as other indicators of institutional performance.
Institutions seeking this voluntary certification will be evaluated using established criteria. Applications will be reviewed by a committee of experts according to rubrics that reflect the criteria. Certification will be for a limited number of years and will be able to be renewed as long as the institution continues to meet the criteria.
EPSLA is currently under development.