here for PDF format
for participants' responses to this interview.
designer of learning assessment management system eLumen,
St. Paul, MN,
and Peter Daly, research director,
An Interview with
The Civic Caucus
8301 Creekside Circle #920, Bloomington, MN 55437
Notes of the
Present (All by phone):
Verne Johnson (chair), Dave Broden, Janis Clay,
(coordinator), Curt Johnson,
Introduction of guests
- Peter Daly is the director for research and assessment at
Carrington College California, in Sacramento. Carrington College CA is a
for-profit career and technical school. A native Australian, Daly has been
in the United States since 2004.
is chief innovation officer for eLumen Collaborative,
MN, an independent academic R&D firm. Before co-founding eLumen
Collaborative in 2003 Shupe was System Director for Academic
Accountability for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU)
system, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Development at
Inver Hills Community College, and a Program Director at the
of Minnesota. He began his career as an administrator at Control Data
Corp. Shupe is a graduate of Bethel College, and received his PhD from
Colleges do not know specifically what students have learned during
their time in their programs
know more about a student when they arrive, through admissions, than when
they leave, Shupe said.
leaving a college a student is issued a transcript - it states which
courses they took and what grade they received but doesn't say what they
did well or poorly.
Schools should be able to show specifically what students know and can
do and, for each of these areas, how well
seems to us as a vocational college there's something missing in that
transcript," Daly said. "It doesn't tell us what they can do and how well
they can do it.
Measure students for outcomes, not process
it's best not to get into the technicals but keep it simple," Daly said,
as he sought to illustrate what eLumen looks like to
California. "It's a far-reaching reform, but not a complicated one to
Focus on learning outcomes
learning outcome is a succinct statement of what a student can do as a
result of a period of learning. In a course like Medical Assisting they
will need to demonstrate to Carrington teachers very specific skills. That
course has four student learning outcomes drawn from the program's set of
expected learning outcomes, Daly said. The college will be able to say the
students can do those things and the level at which they can do them.
this arrangement the college or a potential employer have much more
information on outcomes than just courses and grades. "It allows us to
have more granular detail."
require students to provide demonstration of their competency of learning
outcomes," Daly said. "We have hundreds and hundreds of student learning
outcomes that are being assessed in our courses at any given time. We have
a lot of data."
eLumen the instructor can see what percentage of students are
performing at which levels. That tells the instructor what the students
have not learned as much as what they have learned. They know then where
the students are weak and where they are strong. They know which students
were able to master a skill, which weren't, and where the gaps are. The
gap tells them where to put additional effort. Learner support sources can
be targeted to those points.
Moving toward competency-based progression
commented that information on expected and actual learning outcomes can be
used to drive continuous improvement of the college.
working the eLumen management system into the organizational model
the college begins the first of several incremental steps toward the
ultimate goal of attending to student progress based on competency.
Create a culture of achievement, defining degrees by outcomes
at Carrington are focused on outcomes from the time they arrive, Daly
said. Professors can identify the students that aren't doing well and
create a special session for them on specifics. The system shows real time
progress so teaching responds in real time to what students are and are
not achieving, not just after the fact.
Made possible by new technology
institutional capacity to know in real time where any student or set of
students stands relative to any set of expected learning outcomes is new
territory - hasn't existed before," Shupe added.
been missing to this point is the ability to gather the data in one place.
The technology is here, but has moved slower than it might otherwise
because it has been in the realm of administrators - teachers haven't had
the authority to do it. More academic institutions are interested in it
now because the accrediting bodies are insisting on it.
arrangement sets up the possibility for a new educational social contract,
Shupe argued: Students will become responsible to work for outcomes that
the faculty have defined, and the college becomes responsible for paying
attention to student abilities and strengths, even ones that are
unexpected. In the end, each student will have a digital personal outcomes
transcript that complements the traditional transcript.
added that for the student the college experience is more integrated.
Courses are not each conducted in isolation. The evaluation of students is
integrated. Instructors can see how students are doing in real time. The
technology is designed to give real time access.
now, without such technology, a college is like a holding company for
departments and courses doing their own thing," Shupe said.
Instructors come to support the change
"Typically faculty members on the front end tend to be skeptical but see
it's not as bad as they thought it would be," Shupe said. "This is less
work than keeping track of points and grades. You're asking them to
evaluate students differently."
added that at Carrington there was some trepidation about accountability.
Instructors are getting much more granular information about their
they see the data," he said, "everything changes. Once we get the data
people start to realize just how measureable of a reform that this is."
resistance is an unknowing fear, and when they become familiar with it -
particularly held to the alternative of standardized tests - they will
choose the more academic version, Shupe observed.
- Shupe projected growth for this way of organizing learning, and eLumen
Minnesota use the program - Concordia University, St. Paul, and Anoka
Ramsey Community College - as part of 31 across the country reaching from
to Nova Scotia. Three of their clients are for-profit; 28 are non profit.
Shupe says he plans to have 400 schools involved in 3-5 years.
to be that the technology to do this did not exist. Now it does. The
question now is which institutions will choose it."
chair thanked Daly and Shupe for the visit.