Decentralised learning outcomes assessments: Developments in Ontario, Canada
Abstract: Operating in a decentralised environment, quality assurance agencies in Canada and the province of Ontario have developed numerous expectations in competency and learning outcomes frameworks. Yet none of the frameworks require a demonstration of programmatic or student achievement, instead supporting institutional and program autonomy. Institutional activities in assessing student learning outcomes have been voluntary, small scale, and focused on internal expectations. Accredited professional programs in Canada are an exception, as they are required to provide evidence of either student or programmatic success. The case of engineering provides an excellent example of how learning outcomes assessments are being systematically embedded in programs in order to meet accreditation requirements. Due to external demands the engineering programs are pioneering learning outcomes assessment activities in Canada, and are finding ways to use those assessment activities to support program improvement and demonstrate program and student achievement, all while maintaining autonomy.
Keywords: professional accreditation; outcomes assessment; engineering education