Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Faculty of Business [now QUT Business School]
QUT Faculty of Business accreditation by Association to Advance Schools and Colleges of Business (AACSB), like many recent accrediting bodies, included the requirement of Assurance of Learning (AoL) to be demonstrated. At the time, many institutions were wrestling with strategies for AoL, and were employing measures like standardised testing and other evaluation strategies which were cumbersome, involved adding layers of administrative cost, and had questionable validity. The urgency of deciding on an AoL strategy for re-accreditation was concurrent with the completion of the QUT Faculty of Business’s contribution to the Graduate Attributes project which I worked on prior to being appointed as Teaching and Learning Consultant in the Faculty. As the partner institutions were also business schools wrestling with the AoL problem, during the project, which included the use of the beta version of graduate attribute software platform ReView (which maintained a database mapping generic learning outcomes to assessment task criteria), project team members began to play with the idea of getting our AoL data from samples of assessment performances recorded in the ReView.
Queensland University of Technology provided a more mature curricular capability, having already mandated the implementation of Criterion Referenced Assessment (CRA) in 2004. This was a top-down policy mandate requiring all course assignments to use rubrics or ‘criteria sheets’. By 2007, compliance was almost universal, but thisdid not mean that the quality of the rubrics in place were optimal, either for mapping to program outcomes for AoL purposes, or more broadly, for use in constructive learning dialogue with students in assignment completion and performance feedback. As part of my Learning and Teaching Consultant duties, I was quickly immersed in literally hundreds of assignment rubrics. The teaching and learning team did provide a set of exemplar rubrics, but instructors were urged and assisted to unpack the learning outcomes they wanted demonstrated by students into customised rubrics for their own unique course, while mapping them to the most relevant Program Level outcome. I became known as the ‘rubric guru.’
Using these assets and strategies, I set to work to design a pilot process for implementing the sampling and analysis of data. The following shows the process map I developed for the pilot, or proof of concept.
Once proven, this AoL process was cited by the Accreditation team on their visit in 2010 as global best practice. The additional functionality needed to extend the ReView application to generate the reports was added and my contribution is a substantial part of the application as it exists today.