National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

NILOA In the Field

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January 2017

Equitable Assignments: A conversation to improve teaching, learning and assessment

Commentary by Erick Montenegro

The goal of this presentation was to emphasize the importance of equity in assessment. One approach is through developing equitable and transparent assignments. To help achieve this goal, attendees participated in exercises that helped them explore assignments through the eyes of students. We then used their own assignments as examples of how to improve assignments by involving students in the review process. Participants learned of NILOA’s resources, how to develop more culturally responsive and student-centered assessment methods, and had materials to take back to their campuses and use in their own courses.


The session had a fairly large group of participants with significant involvement in the discussion and activities during the session. Participants seemed excited to be able to apply what they learned at their own campuses, which was apparent during questions and post-session conversations.

Our aspiration is for participants to understand and identify how equity and culture impacts the entire assessment process from development of learning outcomes statements to choosing appropriate assessment methods to properly using data for improvement and to understand why it is important to involve students in assessment.

We are so pleased to be working with Dr. Mary Ann Winklemes and coupling her work in TILT with NILOA’s work in assignment design. The paper on equity and assessment, released by NILOA in January, provided a natural point of connection and allows multiple ways into a dialogue within institutions regarding equitable learning experiences for students.

Click here to view the latest version of the PowerPoint Presentation.

Please view the image gallery from the presentation below (click to enlarge).

Click here to read about NILOA's track at the 2016 Assessment Institute.



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"The complex, diverse learning goals, of postsecondary education do not justify a passive approach to student achievement. It is heartening to see state policy and institutional leaders working together to collect evidence of student learning and pursue continuous improvement."

Paul Lingenfelter

Paul E. Lingenfelter
President Emeritus
State Higher Education Executive Officers