National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

2016 Excellence in Assessment Designees

The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) program – the first national designation of its kind – spotlights institutions successfully integrating assessment practices across campus, providing evidence of student learning outcomes, and using assessment results to guide institutional decision-making and improve student performance.

The 10 institutions comprising the inaugural class are: Cameron University; Capella University; the Community College of Baltimore County; Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis; Kansas State University; Mills College; Mount St. Joseph University; the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Zayed University.

We would like to thank our 2016 EIA Designation reviewers. For a list of reviewers, click here.


Cameron University has various processes in place to ensure student learning is the top priority. To meet the needs of students, it continually evaluates the quality of programs to determine whether changes are warranted. Over the last 20 years, Cameron University has documented an extensive commitment to assessment and enjoyed a campus-wide commitment to the assessment process. Positive student learning outcomes, engagement in, monitoring of, and compiling of assessment results at both the program- and campus-level are their signature accomplishments.


Since 2002, Capella University has offered degree and certificate programs through an online learning-outcomes and competency-based curriculum, catering to its student population – non-traditional adult learners with an academic experience relevant to their personal and professional goals. Capella’s assessment efforts are hallmarked by an emphasis on continuous improvement that demonstrates an assessment approach across the university community. The university created Competency Map, a custom dashboard for learners and faculty that shows course competency assessment in real time. And in 2009, Capella launched the public website CapellaResults.com to document each program’s expected and demonstrated learning outcomes and to provide transparency of their graduates’ professional accomplishments.


Sustained Excellence Designee

The goal of assessment at CCBC is to ensure the best conditions for learning, encourage best practices, and inspire creativity and innovation. CCBC has been lauded for its work in assessment and has been a national leader in assessment of student learning for many years. Nationally recognized as a leader in innovative strategies, CCBC educates more than 65,000 learners yearly, enrolling more than any other two-year college in Maryland.


Sustained Excellence Designee

IUPUI was an early adopter of assessment for improvement and accountability and has cultivated a campus ethos of transparency. In the 1990s, IUPUI adopted the Principles of Undergraduate Learning (PULs), which centered on learning, ways of knowing, and habits of mind. IUPUI is currently implementing a new strategic plan, Our Commitment to Indiana and Beyond, that reaffirms student learning and success as its highest institutional priority. Assessment thrives on a campus committed to using evidence-based practice in both undergraduate and graduate/professional education and to building and sustaining assessment capacity through professional development.


Sustained Excellence Designee

Kansas State University’s approach to assessment emphasizes faculty ownership, which is considered the foundation upon which institutional assessment efforts are built. Ownership and broad levels of involvement are the foundation supporting the assessment culture developed at Kansas State. Academic programs use their assessment processes to update curricula and improve student learning and the Office of Assessment supports faculty and fulfills external reporting obligations. Kansas State’s university-wide assessment culture is focused on improved learning within disciplines. Kansas State’s assessment systems have led to many substantial changes including instructional and curricular adjustments, clarification of expected learning, and deeper analysis of the campus-wide experience.


Mills College has been exceptionally active in assessing student learning. The broad representation of the college’s Assessment Committee provides the support and guidance that has enabled it to create a cohesive strategy for its learning assessment program. Mills’s assessment program uses many lenses through which student learning is assessed — from the level of institution-wide learning, to core programs, to each of their many academic and co-curricular programs. The college purchased a sophisticated software program allowing them to not only centralize all assessment components, but to align the learning goals of each to create a visual means of targeting assessment processes at the institutional level. Mills College is interested in and committed to learning as an institution about the methodology of collecting and analyzing data on learning. It’s also focused on designing and implementing a sophisticated and sustainable framework for putting that evidence to use.


Mount St. Joseph’s has been engaged in formal assessment for over 20 years and has developed a culture of assessment that covers all areas of student learning, both curricular and extra-curricular. Development of this culture has led to demonstrated improvement in curricular design, learning outcomes, and student experiences — supported by institutional leadership with significant investments of time and resources. The university’s pathway to excellence in assessment includes appointing a faculty member as Assessment Coordinator, the creation of an Academic Assessment Committee, the initiation of curriculum mapping at the program and baccalaureate levels, and the creation of the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. Effects of their work are evidenced in the amount of faculty engaged, with at least one-fourth of their faculty presenting or publishing research on assessment.


Sustained Excellence Designee

Since 1998, Rose-Hulman has had a well-established set of campus-level student learning outcomes statements and a comprehensive campus-level assessment plan. For the past two decades, assessment experts in the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment have collaborated with faculty and student affairs staff to collect meaningful assessment data. They continuously engage in meaningful discussions about the state of campus-level outcomes assessment and areas of improvement to further their efforts. Their outcomes align with the institutional mission and describe the knowledge, skills, and attitudes expected of their graduates. Rose-Hulman is currently in the process of revamping their entire campus online infrastructure to further enhance their ability to communicate with both internal and external stakeholders.


High-impact practices and student engagement are at the core of what UW-Madison refers to as the Wisconsin Experience, where they aspire to provide a learning environment that produces graduates who think beyond the conventional wisdom; are creative problem-solvers who know how to integrate passion with empirical analysis; know how to seek out, evaluate, and create new knowledge and technologies;  adapt to new situations; and are engaged citizens of the world. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has had formal assessment processes in place since 1991. Since then, the institution has worked to integrate assessment into the education experience through a formalized assessment plan, an assessment fund to support specific projects, and an assessment committee of faculty and academic leaders to oversee and advance student learning. In 2008 to keep in pace with the national direction of assessment, UW-Madison adopted the Essential Learning Outcomes promulgated by AAC&U as overarching learning goals for their undergraduate program. Since 2014, they have made documented progress and are currently in the second year of a three-year project to collect learning goals and assessment plans from every academic program, and then establish a reporting and renewal cycle with nearly 100 percent participation by academic programs at all levels.


Zayed University is an international learning outcomes-based institution that has established a set of institutional and major learning outcome statements. They continue to assess student learning in a systematic and sustained manner by constantly working towards effectively closing the loop. Regular professional development activities highlight key aspects of their assessment process. They have also been successful at providing ongoing improvement over the years that has been removing barriers and providing faculty with tools to facilitate effective planning, collection, analysis, and reporting of assessment results. Their commitment to good assessment practices have led them to post all of their annual assessment plans and reports on their website.


 

The Excellence in Assessment Designation is co-sponsored by the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). VSA College Portrait is a joint initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

 

Click below to read news releases on the EIA Designation.

2016 EIA Designees Press Release

Inside Higher Ed - August 22, 2016