Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute, Turning Ideas Into Reality - Located in Toronto, ON

Assurances of Learning

Scholarship related to AoL

The scholarship related to Assurances of Learning (AoL) has really taken off since the accreditation agencies adopted this requirement in 2005. In addition to the standards themselves, the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (JCSEE) for program evaluation (JCSEE, 1994) and student evaluation (JCSEE, 2003) are good places to start reading.

There are three levels of AoL: individual student grades, assessing groups of students for instructional planning, and evaluating program-level outcomes over time. Unfortunately, these three levels require different methods. The accreditation agencies prefer methods that assess overall program level outcomes, whereas professors prefer to focus on student-level grading methods. The course-embedded method attempts to resolve this by using student grades on assignments as the basis for program-level assessment (Martell, 2007).

Virtually all the AoL Literature relates

Virtually all the AoL literature relates to measuring AoL for skills, not knowledge or attitudes. This is ironic given that the vast majority of professors focus on knowledge-based testing and the vast majority of entrepreneurship research focuses on measuring attitudes.

AoL measurement of knowledge is typically based on standardized testing such as multiple choice, fill in the blank or short answer exams. AoL measurement of skills is typically based on observation of behaviors (e.g. during presentations or role-playing) or assessment of assignments (e.g. business plans or self-reflection assignments). AoL of attitudes are based on affective beliefs assessed outside of class via indirect methods such as surveys, rating scales and retrospective techniques. Fortunately, in the case of entrepreneurial attitudes, there are many well-known validated scales and survey methods available that arise out of the entrepreneurial intent and Theory of Planned Behavior stream of research.

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