Queen's Learning Outcomes Assessment

Learning Outcomes Project
Learning Outcomes Project

Assessment Tools 

Descriptions of instruments to evaluate critical thinking, problem solving, creative thinking, teamwork, and learning orientations (lifelong learning).

The HEIghten™ Outcomes Assessment


Developed by the Educational Testing Service, HEIghten™ is a standardized testing tool used to demonstrate the validity of general education. The computer-delivered, modular assessment provides data that is both valid and reliable in showing the impact of learning in the classroom. 

HEIghten™ is a 45-minute, online critical thinking test. The selected-response questions reflect real-world issues. There is a question bank comprising quantitative and qualitative themes, in the context of humanities, social sciences, natural science, or everyday life or business contexts. 

The results of the test help in the evaluation of cognitive skill development in a program across Queens University, and provide the opportunity to investigate the effectiveness of course-based assessment practices across the institution. 

Britton E., Simper, N., Leger, A., & Stephenson, J. (2017). Assessing Teamwork in Undergraduate Education: A measurement tool to evaluate individul teamwork skillsAssessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43 (3), 378 - 397. 

Transferable Learning Orientations (TLO) Overview

Transferable Learning Orientations (TLO) survey

The TLO is a triangulated measure developed as an ongoing self-report measure of lifelong learning. It was built on select scales from the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) (Pintrich 2004), together with multiple choice items adapted from the Association for American Colleges and Universities Lifelong Learning rubric (Rhodes and Finley 2013), and an open-ended response for each dimension. The survey has three overarching factors, deep learning, self-belief, and learning strategies. The open-ended questions are designed to support meta-cognition; to engage students in thinking about their own learning.

The TLO self-report measure is not expected to represent a summative point for transferable, but rather part of an ongoing process. The TLO could also be used as a self-assessment; administered before and after a course of study to determine if the teaching and learning had an impact on approaches to lifelong learning.

Simper, N., Kaupp, J., Frank, B., & Scott, J. (2016). Development of the Transferable Learning Orientations (TLO) Tool: Providing metacognitive opportunities, and meaningful feedback for students and instructors. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 41 (8), 1159–1175.

Teamwork (Team Q) Overview

The Team Q Survey

The Team-Q peer and self-assessment tool was developed as a means of teaching and assessing teamwork skills. Team Q divides the broad construct of teamwork into five dimensions associated with key teamwork skills, such as participation, planning, and group cohesion, with behaviours articulated as performance indicators. By peer and self assessing, students reflect on specific descriptors of teamwork behaivour and make frequency ratings about how often they or their peers demonstrate those behoviours.

The teamwork dimensions are based on the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) teamwork rubric. Queen's researchers leveraged research by Hastie et al. (2014), testing and adapting a longer tool named TeamUp. The Team Q survey aligns well with team-based learning and is recommended to be used repeatedly through a course of instruction to focus students on their own and others team input and team efficacy in general.

Hastie, C., Fahy, K., & Parratt, J. (2014). The development of a rubric for peer assessment of individual teamwork skills in undergraduate midwifery students. Women and Birth, 27(3), 220-226.

VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) Rubrics

The VALUE Rubrics

Developed by the American Association of Colleges and Universities to provide a valid assessment of learning in undergraduate education.  These rubrics are broad, discipline-neutral descriptions of selected essential learning outcomes of undergraduate education from the Liberal Education America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative.  In each rubric, common themes were identified for each outcome and performance criteria were developed by panels of experts. The efforts of the experts were focused on:

  • Performance criteria focuses on positive demonstration of outcomes rather than what was lacking
  • Performance criteria can be used to assess to non-traditional modes of artifacts demonstrating student learning
  • Performance criteria are developed to assess summative displays of student learning rather than developmental or formative displays
  • Performance criteria are phrased in a manner as to be easily understood by non-experts

There are four levels of performance criteria, from the benchmark level of a student entering university to the capstone level of a student who has just completed their undergraduate experience.   While the performance criteria and levels represent a consensus of experts and can be used in their original form, the rubrics are purposely designed for modification to foster alignment between course, program or institutional outcomes and to reflect the specific context in which they are used.