angle-up angle-right angle-down angle-left close user menu open menu closed search globe bars phone store

HEIghten® Outcomes Assessment Suite



Video duration: 4:37

On-screen: [Innovations in Conceptualizing and Assessing Civic Competency and Engagement in Higher Education, November 4, 2015.]

Speakers: Ou Lydia Liu, ETS Research; Alberto Acereda, ETS Global Education; Lauren Bauser, ETS Global Education

Ou Lydia Liu, ETS Research - There has been an increasing demand for higher ed institutions to demonstrate direct evidence of student learning. And that pressure comes from funding agencies, accrediting agencies, even prospective students and parents.

Alberto Acereda, ETS Global Education - These are all stakeholders that are thinking, is the college degree worth it? And if so, as we all believe it is, how can we measure that learning? So after extensive research on the frameworks around the world on student learning outcomes, ETS® built the HEIghten® Outcomes Assessment suite for undergraduate general education.


Ou Lydia Liu, ETS Research - ETS is a world-leader in educational measurement and research. We conducted a very broad-based review of all the existing frameworks in higher ed and workforce.

Alberto Acereda, ETS Global Education - We followed up by reaching out to organizations in higher education, universities, colleges, and we realized that we could come up with a suite of assessments that is state-of-the-art, because it looks at all the different constructs, and it's modular, it creates different opportunities for the universities to actually pick and choose those competencies or skills in this case that they feel are more appropriate for their curriculum.

Lauren Bauser, ETS Global Education - The HEIghten Outcomes Assessment Suite will actually be a suite of different tests. The first three will be Critical Thinking, Written Communication and Quantitative Literacy.

And the second group of assessments which will be released later include Civic Competency and Engagement, and Intercultural Competency and Diversity.

Each individual assessment is separate and unique from the others. So institutions can choose the mix of assessments that meet their needs.

Ou Lydia Liu, ETS Research - The HEIghten assessments have a very clear and a thorough construct definition. We clearly define what we mean by, say, critical thinking or written communication. And that level of clarity is typically lacking in many of existing assessments. In HEIghten we also use a variety of innovative item types that are situated in authentic real-life contexts.

Alberto Acereda, ETS Global Education - So HEIghten is pretty easy to administer. We actually built it thinking of how can we do this in a way that does not interfere with faculty members, planning, syllabus, it doesn't interfere with administration's plan for the semester. So we figured out that a test for about 45 minutes would work well because you could actually adapt it into one class period.

Lauren Bauser, ETS Global Education - Students take the tests on their computer and they can really be delivered any time and any place. We also have the option for students to use an online remote proctoring service so they don't even have to be on campus at all. They're very cost-effective, so the price per student is very affordable. And the test takers, they have the ability to earn a micro-credential, which is like a certificate that shows the level of ability that they demonstrated in these specific skill areas.

Alberto Acereda, ETS Global Education - The data that we are going to be providing is going to be useful for institutions, because they can actually look at that from different perspectives. They can do it demographically, they can do it by gender. And so, it's a tool that is easy to implement, and that actually provides actionable data.

Lauren Bauser, ETS Global Education - The assessment results will be used for accreditation and accountability initiatives, to show growth among their students in terms of what they're learning, and it will also help them to identify and develop curricular improvements.

Unknown speaker - And the sub scores would be equated to …

On-screen: [ETS HEIghten Development Team Meeting.]

Lauren Bauser, ETS Global Education - The HEIghten assessments are something that institutions can use in addition to what they already have. But the benefit of something like a HEIghten Assessment is because it's a standardized test, institutions will have comparative information so they can benchmark their students' results. So they can then combine that with the results they have from their internal assessments to show a broad picture of the skills that their students are learning and demonstrate the effectiveness of their institution.

Alberto Acereda, ETS Global Education - I spent almost 20 years in higher education both as faculty and as an administrator. It would have definitely been a very useful tool, particularly if you understand the constructs behind it and the effort that the researchers have put into this. The validity studies behind them, and reliability that allow faculty members, institutions, and students to show the growth within the years at schools.

On-screen: [HEIghten Outcomes Assessment Suite. You believe your students will have the skills to succeed in the future. Now you can show it.]

On-screen: [HEIghten Outcomes Assessment Suite. To learn more, visit]


End of HEIghten Outcomes Assessment Suite Video.