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Synthesizing Frameworks of Higher Education Student Learning Outcomes KSA

Markle, Ross; Brenneman, Meghan; Jackson, Teresa; Burrus, Jeremy; Robbins, Steven B.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Student Learning, Learning Outcomes, Higher Education, Education Standards, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Teamwork, Communication, Information Literacy, Media Literacy, Computer Literacy, Citizenship, Life Skills, Knowledge Skills and Abilities (KSA)


The public, education, and workforce sectors all have expressed interest regarding the key knowledge, skills, and abilities that enable individuals to be productive members of society. Although past efforts have attempted to create frameworks of student learning outcomes, the results have varied due to different perspectives and goals. Thus, the purpose of this paper was to gather and review relevant higher education frameworks, determine their commonalities and create domains, and identify the assessments that Educational Testing Service (ETS) has developed in each of the domains. After a thorough review of the relevant frameworks, seven key domains were identified: creativity, critical thinking, teamwork, communication, digital and information literacy, citizenship, and life skills. Also discussed were the issues of education versus work contextualization and the assumption of foundational quantitative reasoning and literacy skills informing these seven domains.

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