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The Story Project

We are collecting and sharing stories of student learning improvement in higher education, with a focus on program and institution levels.

What we mean by "learning improvement"

Simply put, a change(s) in the learning environment that produces better student learning (evidenced by better student achievement).

What we mean by "learning improvement story"

It’s a narrative that describes evidence of improvement in student learning that was informed by assessment processes and intentional change(s) to the learning environment. (See also the Story Writing Guide.)

The story might, for instance, focus on how faculty members used learning achievement results from an integrative project in a capstone course to inform a change that led to better performance in a next iteration of the course. It might highlight improvements at the program level, in which an analysis of student e-portfolios pointed the way to modifications in curriculum that in turn led to greater student success for the subsequent set of students. Or it might capture the improvement of students’ skills resulting from a new curriculum informed by an academic program review. A story focused at the institution level might feature campus-level modifications stimulated by faculty conversations about findings from the National Survey of Student Engagement that led to an increase in student achievement. 

In any case, all learning-improvement stories will have in common the following:

  • collection of information about student learning (i.e., baseline data),

  • implementation of well-thought-out changes to the learning environment, and

  • a re-assessment that shows that students’ learning improved.

We know that assessment contributes to faculty’s learning and changes to assignments, curriculum, policies, etc. These kinds of changes to the learning environment are integral to each story.

Share and learn from the stories

As a collection, coming from different institutional types, fields, and course contexts, the stories provide rich grist for better understanding of what learning improvement looks like, the challenges that inhibit it, the context and conditions that support it, and what campuses can do to improve student learning and success. 

We encourage the use of these stories in a variety of contexts, e.g., faculty development, sharing practices among assessment professionals, and communicating the value of assessment.

What we do with the stories we collect

Our team will review the stories and may contact authors to elicit additional story details. Once selected, we will share the story on this website. We will also conduct and distribute an analysis that highlights interesting characteristics within and across the stories.

Who should submit

We invite those involved with learning assessment aimed at promoting and capturing learning improvement to submit their success story. This may be a team, individual faculty, assessment practitioners, educational developers, writing center directors, internship coordinators, campus leaders, etc.

Need help crafting a story?

Read or download the Story Writing Guide.

These questions may get you started or unstuck as you shape your story.

  • What learning was targeted for improvement? Why?

  • What steps, changes, or interventions were taken to improve student learning? Why?

  • Who led the charge? Who were the biggest supporters?

  • What was the biggest lesson learned?

  • What advice would you give others who want to replicate your success?

  • What resistance or barriers were encountered? Why? How were they overcome?

You can read others' stories for inspiration.

You can submit a story.

You can contact us: we're good at helping people tell their story. Email us.

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