In May 2005, six “value-added assessment collaboratives” received grants from the Teagle Foundation to work over three years on assessment projects. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) also received a grant from the Teagle foundation that supported, in part, interviews on fourteen assessment project campuses in early fall 2006 about 1) how the campuses build faculty support for assessment and/or 2) the barriers that slow progress on assessment. Sharing information from the interviews was viewed as a way to allow campuses to see what issues were held in common and the strategies others were using that might be adapted to local purposes.
The interviews revealed growing campus engagement in creating assessments that serve to improve student learning. In the best cases, campuses are developing common expectations for assessing liberal education outcomes across programs, collecting data about student learning, and making improvements informed by evidence. The universal thread in liberal arts institutions of strong faculty commitment to student achievement provides hope that enthusiasts will continue to enlist others in their efforts to assess systematically how well students have learned and how effective their programs are.