Skip to main content

The Governance, Policy and Strategy of Learning Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education


Advancing the assessment of undergraduate and graduate student learning outcomes is essential for the future of higher education. After illustrating the value of this research area, this article examines contemporary limitations and the need for taking stock and charting promising directions. It introduces six papers which look at foundational issues, contexts, applications and implications. The article emphasizes the need for ongoing reviews in this field to clarify policy relevance and opportunities.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Figure 1


  1. Calderon, A. (2018) Massification of Higher Education Revisited, Melbourne: RMIT University.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Cantwell, B. Coates, H. and King, R. (Eds) (2018) Handbook on the Politics of Higher Education, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Coates, H. (Ed.) (2014) Higher Education Learning Outcomes Assessment, Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Coates, H. (2016) ‘Assessing student learning outcomes internationally: Insights and frontiers’, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 41(5): 662–76.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Coates, H. (2017) The Market for Learning: Leading transparent higher education, Dordrecht: Springer.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  6. Coates, H. (2018) Next Generation Assessment, Melbourne: Online Education Services.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Coates, H. and Richardson, S. (2012) ‘An international assessment of bachelor degree graduates’ learning outcomes’, Higher Education Management and Policy 23(3): 51–69.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Coates, H., Kelly, P. and Naylor, R. (2017) ‘Leading online education for student success’, International Journal of Chinese Education 6(1): 105–126.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Hazelkorn, E., Coates, H. and McCormick, A. (Eds.) (2018) Research Handbook on Quality, Performance and Accountability in Higher Education, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

  10. Kelly, P., Dollinger, M. and Coates, H. (2017) ‘New directions for quality assurance: Transparent outcomes for industry collaboration, research training and student success’, Higher Education Evaluation and Development 10(1): 31–51.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Wagenaar, R. (2019) Reform! Tuning the Modernisation Process of Higher Education in Europe: A blueprint for student-centred learning, Groningen: Tuning Academy.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, O. and Pant, H.A. (2016) ‘Measurement advances and challenges in competency assessment in higher education’, Journal of Educational Measurement 53(3): 253–264.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, O., Pant, H. A., Lautenbach, C., Molerov, D., Toepper, M. and Brückner, S. (2017a) Modeling and Measuring Competencies in Higher Education: Approaches to Challenges in Higher Education Policy and Practice, Wiesbaden: Springer.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  14. Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, O., Pant, H. A., Toepper, M., Lautenbach, C. and Molerov, D. (2017b) ‚Valid Competency Assessment in Higher Education: Framework, results, and further perspectives of the German research program KoKoHs’, AERA Open 3(1): 1–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, O., Toepper, M., Pant, H. A., Lautenbach, C. and Kuhn, C. (Eds.) (2018) Assessment of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education: Cross-national comparisons and perspectives, Wiesbaden: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hamish Coates.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Coates, H., Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, O. The Governance, Policy and Strategy of Learning Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education. High Educ Policy 32, 507–512 (2019).

Download citation


  • learning outcomes
  • competence
  • skills
  • governance
  • assessment
  • higher education