On December 6, 2013, the SSRC’s Education Research Program convened a group of historians with a proven passion for undergraduate education to discuss ways to define and measure student learning outcomes in the field of history. This was the inaugural meeting for the Measuring College Learning Project, a new initiative that aims to develop tools that increase our understanding of field-specific learning. Click here to learn more about the MCL Project.
The goal of the meeting was to engage faculty in a focused conversation about what undergraduate students should know and be able to do after completing: (1), an introductory course; or (2), a major in history. In pursuit of this goal, the meeting began with a discussion about previous and ongoing efforts to articulate learning goals for history undergraduates. Participants talked about the American Historical Association’s ongoing Tuning Project, the National History Council’s project on the history major and liberal learning, as well as relevant international projects (e.g., the European Tuning Project). Next, building on these efforts, meeting participants worked to identify “essential competencies” – i.e., a small set of skills and habits of mind that experts agree every undergraduate in a particular field should master – for undergraduate students of history.
This fruitful first meeting in the field of history has paved the way for a second meeting, where the group will engage in an in-depth discussion about ways to measure history undergraduates’ learning over time.