A focus on learning outcomes has the potential to modernize teaching and learning across the province. According to a HEQCO-convened expert panel that reviewed institutional Strategic Mandate Agreement submissions, “a deeper and system-wide commitment to measurement of learning outcomes is an opportunity for the Ontario system to show world-wide leadership.”
HEQCO's discussion of learning outcomes is organized into four classes: basic cognitive skills (numeracy and literacy), discipline-specific skills (specialised knowledge and skills), higher-order cognitive skills (communication and critical thinking), and transferrable skills (teamwork, initiative and resilience).
HEQCO will continue to collaborate with Ontario colleges and universities to investigate the development and assessment of learning outcomes. There is wide consensus on the importance of general learning and cognitive skills, which could also underpin an effective evidence-based credit transfer system. The focus is now on reliable and valid instruments for assessing and measuring these learning outcomes, with testing embedded into ongoing assessments already familiar to students.
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