Guide for Institutional Assessment of Cognitive Skills

Natalie Simper, Sue Fostaty Young, Brian Frank, Jill Scott

Research output: Book/ReportOther reportEducation


This guide was developed as part of the Cognitive Assessment Redesign Project (CAR), one of the Learning Outcomes Assessment Consortium (LOAC) projects funded by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). The CAR project was built on the foundation of a four-year longitudinal project that investigated various methods for assessing learning outcomes (Simper, Frank, Scott, & Kaupp, 2018). The CAR project is a network-based project, designed to build capacity in constructing assessment that aligns with dimensions of critical thinking, problem-solving or creative thinking. In the project support personnel (called Assessment Facilitators) enabled faculty members to develop their processes for assessment that aligned with overarching metrics. Consistent metrics allows aggregation of assessment data across the institution. The research team investigated the reliability of course-based outcomes with the external measures (the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education VALUE rubrics), and selective testing using the HEIghten critical thinking test, developed by the Educational Testing System (ETS). With the establishment of consistent metrics, the aggregated data provides a reliable estimate of the institutional value-add between first and fourth-year cognitive skill achievement. The results of the research are published in a separate report, further details are available here This guide was written as part of the sustainability plan for long-term institutional assessment of cognitive skills. It is written in three sections: Fundamentals of Assessment; the Guide itself; and Principles for Success. This document also provides Appendices, with resources necessary to implement the work. This document was written for the range of stakeholders necessary to sustain work of this nature: institutional leaders; assessment project management; and course instructors. The guide describes the processes to implement an institution-wide project for the assessment of cognitive skills, though sections of the guide may also be useful to design smaller-scale projects, or for a project aimed at the development and assessment of other skills.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKingston, ON
PublisherQueen's University Kingston
Number of pages59
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Guide for Institutional Assessment of Cognitive Skills'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this