University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Maine
About the VALUE Rubrics
VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) is a campus-based assessment approach developed and lead by AAC&U as part of its Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. VALUE rubrics provide needed tools to assess students’ own authentic work, produced across students’ diverse learning pathways, fields of study and institutions, to determine whether and how well students are meeting graduation level achievement in learning outcomes that both employers and faculty consider essential. Teams of faculty and other educational professionals from institutions across the country—two- and four-year, private and public, research and liberal arts, large and small—developed rubrics for sixteen Essential Learning Outcomes that all students need for success in work, citizenship, and life. The VALUE rubrics are being used to help institutions demonstrate, share, and assess student accomplishment of progressively more advanced and integrative learning.
Since their release in the fall of 2009, the rubrics have become a widely referenced and utilized form of assessment on campuses across the United States and internationally. As of December 2015, the rubrics have been accessed by more than 42,000 individuals from more than 4,200 unique institutions, including more than 2,800 colleges and universities. The VALUE rubrics have also been approved for use in meeting national standards for accountability established by the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), and are used in all regional and some professional self-study reports and reviews for accreditation.
- VALUE’s primary goal is to provide data that will allow faculty and institution leaders to assess—and improve—the levels of student achievement on a set of cross-cutting outcomes important for all disciplines.
- VALUE is the only comprehensive approach to assessment that promotes the alignment of instructional design, pedagogical best practices, and principles of measurement to improve student learning, increase completion rates for all students, and address myriad accountability mandates at multiple levels of analysis.
Rubrics for Essential Learning Outcomes
Written communication is the development and expression of ideas in writing. Written communication involves learning to work in many genres and styles. It can involve working with many different writing technologies, and mixing texts, data, and images. Written communication abilities develop through iterative experiences across the curriculum. The central question guiding the rubric is "How well does writing respond to the needs of audience(s) for the work?" In focusing on this question the rubric does not attend to other aspects of writing that are equally important: issues of writing process, writing strategies, writers' fluency with different modes of textual production or publication, or writer's growing engagement with writing and disciplinarity through the process of writing.
Quantitative Literacy (QL) – also known as Numeracy or Quantitative Reasoning (QR) – is a "habit of mind," competency, and comfort in working with numerical data. Individuals with strong QL skills possess the ability to reason and solve quantitative problems from a wide array of authentic contexts and everyday life situations. They understand and can create sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence and they can clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables, graphs, mathematical equations, etc., as appropriate).
Critical thinking is a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion. Critical thinking can be demonstrated in assignments that require students to complete analyses of text, data, or issues. Assignments that cut across presentation mode might be especially useful in some fields. Student reflection.
Civic Engagement—Local and Global
Civic engagement is "working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes" (Ehrlich, 2000). Civic learning outcomes are framed by personal identity and commitments, disciplinary frameworks and traditions, pre-professional norms and practice, and the mission and values of colleges and universities. This rubric is designed to make the civic learning outcomes more explicit. Civic engagement can take many forms, from individual volunteerism to organizational involvement to electoral participation. For students this could include community-based learning through service-learning classes, community-based research, or service within the community.
Ethical Reasoning is reasoning about right and wrong human conduct. It requires students to be able to assess their own ethical values and the social context of problems, recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings, think about how different ethical perspectives might be applied to ethical dilemmas and consider the ramifications of alternative actions. Students’ ethical self identity evolves as they practice ethical decision-making skills and learn how to describe and analyze positions on ethical issues. The rubric focuses on five elements: Ethical Self Awareness, Ethical Issue Recognition, Understanding Different Ethical Perspectives/Concepts, Application of Ethical Principles, and Evaluation of Different Ethical Perspectives/Concepts. Students’ Ethical Self Identity evolves as they practice ethical decision-making skills and learn how to describe and analyze positions on ethical issues. Presumably, they will choose ethical actions when faced with ethical issues.
Intercultural Knowledge and Competence
Intercultural Knowledge and Competence is "a set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts.” (Bennett, J. M. 2008). The call to integrate intercultural knowledge and competence into the heart of education is an imperative born of seeing ourselves as members of a world community, knowing that we share the future with others. Beyond mere exposure to culturally different others, the campus community requires the capacity to: meaningfully engage those others, place social justice in historical and political context, and put culture at the core of transformative learning. The intercultural knowledge and competence rubric suggests a systematic way to measure our capacity to identify our own cultural patterns, compare and contrast them with others, and adapt empathically and flexibly to unfamiliar ways of being.
Global learning is a critical analysis of and an engagement with complex, interdependent global systems and legacies (such as natural, physical, social, cultural, economic, and political) and their implications for people's lives and the earth's sustainability. Through global learning, students should 1) become informed, open-minded, and responsible people who are attentive to diversity across the spectrum of differences, 2) seek to understand how their actions affect both local and global communities, and 3) address the world's most pressing and enduring issues collaboratively and equitably. As this rubric is designed to assess global learning on a programmatic level across time, the benchmarks (levels 1-4) may not be directly applicable to a singular experience, course, or assignment. Depending on the context, there may be development within one level rather than growth from level to level. We encourage users of the Global Learning rubric to also consult three other closely related VALUE Rubrics: Civic Engagement, Intercultural Knowledge and Competence, and Ethical Reasoning.
Inquiry and Analysis
Inquiry is a systematic process of exploring issues, objects or works through the collection and analysis of evidence that results in informed conclusions or judgments. Analysis is the process of breaking complex topics or issues into parts to gain a better understanding of them. Since the terminology and process of inquiry are discipline-specific, an effort has been made to use broad language which reflects multiple approaches and assignments while addressing the fundamental elements of sound inquiry and analysis (including topic selection, existing, knowledge, design, analysis, etc.)
Creative thinking is both the capacity to combine or synthesize existing ideas, images, or expertise in original ways and the experience of thinking, reacting, and working in an imaginative way characterized by a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking, and risk taking. The Creative Thinking VALUE Rubric is intended to help faculty assess creative thinking in a broad range of transdisciplinary or interdisciplinary work samples or collections of work. The rubric is made up of a set of attributes that are common to creative thinking across disciplines.
Oral communication is a prepared, purposeful presentation designed to increase knowledge, to foster understanding, or to promote change in the listeners' attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors. This rubric is specifically designed to evaluate oral presentations of a single speaker at a time and is best applied to live or video-recorded presentations.
The ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibly use and share that information for the problem at hand. - Adopted from the National Forum on Information Literacy. This rubric is recommended for use evaluating a collection of work, ideally might include: research papers, editorials, speeches, grant proposals, marketing or business plans, PowerPoint presentations, posters, literature reviews, position papers, and argument critiques to name a few.
Teamwork is behaviors under the control of individual team members (effort they put into team tasks, their manner of interacting with others on team, and the quantity and quality of contributions they make to team discussions. Two characteristics define the ways in which this rubric is to be used. First, the rubric is meant to assess the teamwork of an individual student, not the team as a whole. Therefore, it is possible for a student to receive high ratings, even if the team as a whole is rather flawed. Similarly, a student could receive low ratings, even if the team as a whole works fairly well. Second, this rubric is designed to measure the quality of a process, rather than the quality of an end product.
Problem solving is the process of designing, evaluating and implementing a strategy to answer an open-ended question or achieve a desired goal. This rubric is designed to measure the quality of a process, rather than the quality of an end-product. As a result, work samples or collections of work will need to include some evidence of the individual’s thinking about a problem-solving task (e.g., reflections on the process from problem to proposed solution; steps in a problem-based learning assignment; record of think-aloud protocol while solving a problem).
Foundations and Skills for Lifelong Learning
Lifelong learning is “all purposeful learning activity, undertaken on an ongoing basis with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competence”. An endeavor of higher education is to prepare students to be this type of learner by developing specific dispositions and skills described in this rubric while in school. This rubric is designed to assess the skills and dispositions involved in lifelong learning, which are curiosity, transfer, independence, initiative, and reflection. Assignments that encourage students to reflect on how they incorporated their lifelong learning skills into their work samples or collections of work by applying above skills and dispositions will provide the means for assessing those criteria.
Reading is "the process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language" (Snow et al., 2002). To paraphrase Phaedrus, texts do not explain, nor answer questions about, themselves. They must be located, approached, decoded, comprehended, analyzed, interpreted, and discussed, especially complex academic texts used in college and university classrooms for purposes of learning. This rubric provides some initial steps toward finding ways to measure undergraduate students' progress along the continuum. Our intention in creating this rubric is to support and promote the teaching of undergraduates as readers to take on increasingly higher levels of concerns with texts and to read as one of “those who comprehend.”
Integrative and applied learning is an understanding and a disposition that a student builds across the curriculum and co-curriculum, from making simple connections among ideas and experiences to synthesizing and transferring learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the campus. Integrative assignments foster learning between courses or by connecting courses to experientially-based work. Work samples or collections of work that include such artifacts give evidence of integrative and applied learning. Faculty are encouraged to look for evidence that the student connects the learning gained in classroom study to learning gained in real life situations that are related to other learning experiences, extra-curricular activities, or work.
- Download all 16 Rubrics