Institutional Participants in Multi-State, Faculty-Driven Assessment Initiative and Taskstream Celebrate and Reflect on Successful Pilot Year

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MSC participants gather at AAC&U General Education Conference and Central Connecticut State University Shares How They Were Able to Get to Usable Results for Gen Ed Assessment Relatively Easily

NEW YORK – March 1, 2016 — With the Pilot Year completed and the Demonstration Year gearing up, participants from the Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment (MSC) gathered at the AAC&U General Education & Assessment Meeting in New Orleans to celebrate and reflect on their successes at a special reception hosted by Taskstream, the technical partner for the MSC.

The MSC, led by AAC&U and SHEEO with funding from the Gates Foundation, seeks to create a nationally-scalable, alternative approach to standardized testing for assessing essential learning outcomes based on authentic student work scored by calibrated faculty using standard rubrics (i.e., AAC&U VALUE rubrics). The pilot study that took place last year included 69 two- and four-year institutions across 9 states and focused on three learning outcomes: written communication, quantitative literacy, and critical thinking.

AAC&U and SHEEO noted that they view the pilot as a success in demonstrating that rubric-based assessment can be taken to scale and can produce valid findings with actionable information about student learning.

Courtney Peagler, Taskstream’s Vice President of Strategy agreed: “We’re proud of our contributions in the pilot year, inspired by the project’s accomplishments and excited to continue to advance the work this year. It was great to celebrate this success and look forward to next year with MSC participants at the AAC&U General Education and Assessment Meeting.”

Taskstream continues to support the MSC as it expands to include additional institutions and states during the Demonstration Year of the initiative and is partnering with AAC&U and SHEEO to highlight the important work of the VALUE Initiative and the MSC through additional resources and speaking engagements.  Together, the groups will launch a webinar series this spring that focuses on topics such as faculty engagement, scorer calibration, and making use of data for improvement.

In addition to supporting the next phase of the MSC, Taskstream has made Aqua by Taskstream™, the technology behind the MSC, available to support similar assessment initiatives within and across institutions and is partnering with many institutions that would like to use this technology to gather insightful assessment data more easily.

At the conference, Taskstream partnered with Yvonne Kirby, the Director of Institutional Research & Assessment at Central Connecticut State University for a presentation titled, “Technology to Advance Faculty-Driven Assessment of Student Work.” As a participant in the MSC and one of the first institutions to adopt Aqua by Taskstream locally, Central Connecticut brings a unique perspective and solution to the challenges many general education programs across the country face.

“We have useable data for our general education assessment!” Ms. Kirby exclaimed. “And we were able to get it relatively quickly and painlessly by applying the MSC model and using Aqua to manage the work. We collected 533 artifacts for scoring from undergraduates representing 75% of our majors offered. Faculty scored 250 of these artifacts at one retreat in January and we have already begun having conversations with faculty about the data.” Ms. Kirby shared how Aqua helped streamline their general education assessment activities involving faculty scoring student work samples with rubrics in order to improve student learning and institutional quality.

Ms. Kirby also discussed the benefits and challenges the MSC offered her institution and how they approached the work. As someone with both assessment and institutional research responsibilities, she was able to demonstrate her process for identifying faculty to recruit, pulling data at the outset, and recording artifacts for later analysis.


About Taskstream:

Taskstream partners with institutions of higher education to improve student learning and institutional quality with proven, reliable, and user-friendly assessment management and e-portfolio solutions and supporting services. For more information, visit



Courtney Peagler
Vice President of Strategic & Business Development