Preparing Future Faculty to Assess Student Learning

    The assessment of undergraduate learning, and the use of assessment evidence to improve teaching, is one of the most important skills for advancing the quality of U.S. higher education. Yet learning assessment is typically a topic to which faculty have little or no exposure until they begin their faculty careers. This project seeks to enhance faculty involvement by preparing graduate students in the assessment of undergraduate student learning before they begin their careers.


    Project Overview


    The immediate goal of the project is to provide graduate students who aspire to faculty positions with strategies to:

    • Identify needs and opportunities in their classrooms and in their programs,
    • Respond to those needs through enhanced teaching and learning techniques, and
    • Engage with other graduate students and faculty in evidence-based conversations within and across the arts and sciences.


    A longer term goal is the enhanced integration of skills and understanding in student learning assessment into the majority of existing professional development programs to prepare graduate students for faculty careers.


    The project is supported through grants to CGS from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Teagle Foundation.


    Research Partners


    Several institutions at the forefront of learning assessment received "accelerator grants" under the current phase of the project. Funded partners and affiliate partners developed model approaches to enhancing graduate student skills and understanding in the assessment of undergraduate learning.


    Through a competitive process, the following universities were selected to participate in the project as funded research partners:


    An additional 19 universities participated in the project as affiliate partners:


    • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
    • City University of New York Graduate Center
    • Clemson University
    • Emory University
    • Felician College
    • Florida State University
    • Fordham University
    • The Johns Hopkins University
    • Marquette University
    • Purdue University
    • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    • Saint Louis University
    • Tufts University
    • The University of Missouri
    • The University of Missouri-Kansas City
    • The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
    • The University of South Florida
    • Virginia Tech
    • West Virginia University


    Online Resource Library


    CGS has compiled helpful resources and tools for institutions, deans, and program directors seeking to enhance the preparation of graduate students to assess student learning.




    In 2010, the Council of Graduate Schools was awarded a grant from the Teagle Foundation to explore the preparation of future faculty to assess student learning. The project examined how professional development programs such as Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) and other, similar programs might best train graduate students in the assessment of undergraduate student learning and the use of outcomes measures to improve teaching and course design. The project also sought to learn how such programs might catalyze broader cultural change within institutions and disciplines by supporting a generation of future faculty who perceive assessment of student learning to be integral to their roles as faculty and scholars.


    Preparing Future Faculty to Assess Student LearningThe publication, Preparing Future Faculty to Assess Student Learning, reviews recent trends in learning assessment, reports on data from a CGS survey of institutions with PFF and similar programs, and provides insights gleaned from a meeting of assessment experts, graduate deans, and graduate students about challenges and opportunities for future action.


    A free copy of the report can be downloaded here.





    Julia Kent



    In collaboration with:



    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national advocate for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource for policymakers and others on issues concerning graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS members receive regular updates of legislative and regulatory proposals impacting graduate education and are provided resources to use in advocacy efforts on their campuses and with policymakers and other constituents. 
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.