National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

NILOA In the Field

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January 2017

Excellence in Assessment Designations: Lessons from the field

The main focus of the session was to share assessment practices from the EIA inaugural class designees on assessment for improving student learning. Their successes and struggles are an invaluable tool not just for NILOA, but for other institutions to learn and improve their efforts. Dr. David Marshall of NILOA noticed that the conversation moved towards treating assessment as a tool utilized not only for student learning but for faculty learning. “The large audience and the interest in pursuing the designation in the future is heartening,” says Dr. Marshall. In his view it shows a new trend surrounding assessment framing, which will hopefully continue.

The EIA designation was created to further the development of a coherent narrative around assessment efforts. Instead of providing a bullet list of processes, the designation asked institution applications to craft a narrative, sharing why they were undertaking assessment in the manner they were, based on their mission and student population. Further, the focus on aligned assessment processes that build from classroom-based assessment helps institutions with a coherent, collaborative approach to assessing student learning. We were delighted to have three of the inaugural class of designees present: Rose Mince from the Community College of Baltimore County, Jeff Grann from Capella University, and Alice Knudsen from Mills College.

The Excellence in Assessment, which NILOA is proudly part of in partnership with AAC&U and the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), distinguished ten institutions in 2016 with EIA Designation.

Please click below to learn more about each organization.

Capella University

Across the changing landscape of higher education, assessment practices increasingly define the quality of an institution’s credentials. We are proud our competency-based, authentic assessments can help adult learners transfer their academic success into career success. This prestigious award recognizes our faculty and staff’s continuous use of assessment results to improve our offerings.

Dr. Dick Senese, University President and Chief Academic Officer for Capella University.


Community College of Baltimore County

The Excellence is Assessment Designation-Sustained Level is a testament to the excellent work that the faculty and staff at CCBC have been doing in learning outcomes assessment for more than a decade. It is a wonderful recognition of how using the results from assessment projects has made a positive difference in students’ learning and their overall success at CCBC. CCBC has a culture of evidence that supports learning outcomes assessment and vice versa. We are very proud of our accomplishments and will use this designation to further strengthen and enhance our work.

Dr. Rosalie Mince, Dean of Instruction for Curriculum & Assessment, The Community College of Baltimore County-Essex.

Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis

IUPUI is honored to be among the inaugural designees for Sustained Excellence in Assessment. The designation follows 25 years of patient and (yes!) sustained effort by hundreds of dedicated faculty and staff across the campus. We have also been fortunate to enjoy unstinting support for assessment and improvement among university leaders, particularly Vice Chancellor Emerita Trudy Banta, who led these efforts from 1992 until 2016. The Excellence in Assessment recognition gives us not only something to celebrate at IUPUI, but also some added encouragement to renew and redouble our efforts to assess and improve student learning as we face the challenges of a rapidly changing higher education landscape.

Dr. Susan Kahn, Director, Institutional Effectiveness at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Mills College

The EIA designation is meaningful to Mills in a number of ways. First, receiving the award is validation that we are moving in the right direction in an area that is still relatively new, and not necessarily well understood or accepted. It has also given the assessment program greater recognition and respect on our campus and among our colleagues at other institutions. In addition, it has provided us with opportunities to share our story with others and supporting and hopefully inspiring them in their ongoing efforts in this area. Perhaps most importantly, it has provided us with a thoughtful and meaningful critique of our efforts and where we can improve, which is of great value to us.

Dr. Alice Knudsen, Director of Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Academic Assessment, Mills College

Cameron University

Kansas State University

Mount St. Joseph University

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Zayed University

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