The American Association of Colleges and Universities

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U, 2007) compared college-level learning goals and educated person statements from various higher education associations, disciplinary associations, accrediting agencies, student studies, and colleges and universities.

From these, the AAC&U concludes that overall a college-educated person possesses the following characteristics:

  • knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world by engagement with big questions, both contemporary and enduring, through study in the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, histories, languages and the arts;
  • intellectual and practical skills in the context of progressively more challenging problems, projects and standards for performance, including inquiry and analysis, critical and creative thinking, written and oral communication, quantitative literacy, information literacy, teamwork and problem solving extensively, across the curriculum
  • personal and social responsibility through active involvement with diverse communities and real-world challenges, including: civic knowledge and engagement, local and global intercultural knowledge and competence, ethical reasoning and action, foundations and skills for lifelong learning
  • integrative learning through the application of knowledge, skills and responsibilities to new settings and complex problems, including synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies.

The AAC&U also has worked extensively to create the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) rubrics to help assess college-level learning. These rubrics may be helpful in assessing student’s prior learning.