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Over the past two years a group of distinguished economics faculty worked on defining and measuring a set of learning outcomes for undergraduates in their field. The Measuring College Learning (MCL) project—organized by the Education Research Program at the Social Science Research Council—served to facilitate faculty consensus around a limited set of empirically measurable “essential concepts and competencies” that economics students should gain over time. Rather than striving to produce a set of exhaustive of comprehensive list of learning outcomes, the MCL frameworks that emerged serve as a jumping off point for departments and disciplinary associations.

The MCL economics panel was made up of eleven scholars with expertise on teaching, learning, and assessment in the discipline:

Sam Allgood, Professor of Economics, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Amanda Bayer, Professor of Economics, Swarthmore College

Stephen Buckles, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Vanderbilt University

Charles Clotfelter, Professor of Economics, Law, & Public Policy, Duke University

Melissa Famulari, Lecturer with Security of Employment, University of California, San Diego

Rae Jean Goodman, Professor of Economics, United States Naval Academy

Mark Maier, Chair and Professor of Economics, Glendale Community College

KimMarie McGoldrick, Professor of Economics, E.C. Robins School of Business, University of Richmond

John Siegfried, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Vanderbilt University

William Walstad, Professor of Economics, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Michael Watts, Professor of Economics, Krannert School of Management, Purdue University

At the center of each of the MCL white papers is an innovative learning outcomes framework that articulates a set of “essential concepts and competencies” for undergraduate-level learning in the discipline. Essential concepts and competencies are deep understandings and complex skills that faculty believe are fundamental to the discipline, valuable to students, and worth emphasizing given limited time and resources. The MCL learning outcomes frameworks emerge from and are part of the MCL white papers, but they can be used as stand-alone resources.

The Measuring College Learning Project is committed to the idea that the articulated frameworks are part of an iterative process that will evolve and change over time. As part of plans for phase two of the project, we envision building out and piloting assessments based on the learning outcomes frameworks presented in the whitepaper. We look forward to the work to come, as part of a collaborative process with faculty, disciplinary associations, employer groups, and other stakeholders concerned with improving student learning in higher education.

Discipline specific project materials are available under the "Economics Tools + Resources" sidebar.

General project materials are available under the "General Tools + Resources" sidebar.

Materials are also available in Improving Quality in American Higher Education: Learning Outcomes and Assessments for the 21st Century (Jossey Bass, 2016).