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Degree Qualifications Profile released for large-scale implementation

DQP and Tuning, Tested and Ready for Widespread Use

INDIANAPOLIS—Lumina Foundation today joined expert authors, reviewers and faculty to officially launch the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP). Nearly five years in the making, the DQP is a framework that clearly defines the learning that college degrees should signify at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree levels. In short, it is a baseline set of reference points for what students should know and be able to do to earn their degrees.

Drafted by four recognized experts in higher education, the DQP was released as a beta version in 2011 and has since been tested by faculty and academic administrators at more than 400 colleges and universities in nearly every state. Combined with Tuning ― the complementary process of defining learning outcomes at the discipline level—the DQP has proven to be an effective tool for improving courses, programs of study and accreditation processes at scores of institutions. Today’s launch responds to the demand to greatly expand the use of these tools, to encourage their widespread adoption throughout American higher education.

“As the nation strives to reach Goal 2025 ― that is, ensuring that 60 percent of Americans have a high-quality postsecondary credential by 2025 ― we’re convinced the DQP and Tuning can play an important role in fostering quality,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, Lumina’s president and CEO. “After all, it’s not enough to simply count credentials; the credentials themselves must count. These tools are designed to ensure that they do.”

The DQP organizes the learning outcomes (proficiencies) of degrees among five broad, interrelated categories:

  • Specialized Knowledge
  • Broad and Integrative Knowledge
  • Intellectual Skills
  • Applied and Collaborative Learning
  • Civic and Global Learning

Within each category, then, specific proficiencies are spelled out for each of the three degree levels. These clearly defined proficiencies empower faculty to shape their courses and programs according to what really matters: the specific learning outcomes that those credentials signify. In effect, the DQP and Tuning shift the discussion from “What are we going to teach?” to “What should our students learn? What knowledge and skills do they need to thrive?”

“It’s imperative for us to move beyond relying so heavily on seat time to declare that students have acquired the proficiencies that will enable them to live productive, self-sufficient, and civically responsible lives,” said George Kuh, director of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), which is partnering with Lumina to provide ongoing support for institutions that use the DQP and Tuning. “Faculty and staff at several hundred institutions around the country have field-tested the DQP, and we now have a framework that supports and advances their work while ensuring that students get what they need from postsecondary education.”

More information about the DQP/Tuning process and how to implement it is available at: More information about the latest DQP/Tuning work, see: Support for Expanded Use of DQP and Tuning to Build a Learning-based Credentials System

About Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. We envision a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Our goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.

About National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA):

Established in 2008, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) assists institutions and others in discovering and adopting promising practices in the assessment of college student learning outcomes. NILOA’s primary objective is to discover and disseminate ways that academic programs and institutions can productively use assessment data internally to inform and strengthen undergraduate education, and externally to communicate with policy makers, families and other stakeholders.

Kate Snedeker

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