The Holy Grail of Learning Outcomes
By John Aubrey Douglass, Gregg Thomson & Chun-Mei Zhao
The search for the Holy Grail one-size-fits-all test to measure learning gains started in the US with the Collegiate Learning Assessment, but the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) wants to take it global.
In 2008 the OECD began a process to assess if it might develop a student assessment test for use internationally. A project emerged: the Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes programme.
AHELO would assess the feasibility of capturing learning outcomes valid across cultures and languages, and in part informed by the OECD’s success in developing the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) – a widely accepted survey of the knowledge and skills essential of students near the end of the compulsory education years.
The proclaimed objective of the AHELO ongoing feasibility study is to determine whether an international assessment is “scientifically and practically possible”. To make this determination, the organisers developed a number of so-called study ‘strands’.