Supporters of the Lumina project say it holds the promise of turning educational assessment from a process that some academics might view as a threat into one that holds a solution, while also creating more-rigorous expectations for student learning.
Mr. Jones, the Utah State history-department chairman, recounted in an essay published in the American Historical Association's Perspectives on History how he once blithely told an accreditation team that "historians do not measure their effectiveness in outcomes."
But he has changed his mind. The Lumina project, and others, help define what learning is achieved in the process of earning a degree, he said, moving beyond Americans' heavy reliance on the standardized student credit hour as the measure of an education.
"The demand for outcomes assessment should be seized as an opportunity for us to actually talk about the habits of mind our discipline needs to instill in our students," Mr. Jones wrote. "It will do us a world of good, and it will save us from the spreadsheets of bureaucrats."