The Path to Competency-Based Certification: A Look at the LEAP Challenge and the VALUE Rubric for Written Communication
Although originally designed by writing professionals, AAC&U's VALUE Written Communication rubric is one small part of a larger national vision for higher education. This article traces that vision through multiple AAC&U publications from 2002-2017 to demonstrate the way advocacy-based philanthropy and competency-based education has shifted the VALUE initiative away from institutionally-based assessment toward national accountability. With the General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs) pathway initiative of 2015 and the creation of the VALUE Institute national scoring database in 2018, the VALUE rubrics may be used to compare writing instruction at universities, to facilitate state-wide transfer agreements, and to certify students' degree completion. In so doing, much of the original value of the rubric for writing studies is lost. When used on a national scale, it is impossible to modify for local context. I argue experts in writing assessment need greater awareness of the impact on these large-scale movements on the use of rubrics for writing instruction in higher education.
Keywords: rubrics, competency-based education, advocacy-based philanthropy, AAC&U, VALUE rubrics