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The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment makes learning outcomes visible and useful to the public.

New Resources

New Book

Student-Focused Learning and Assessment: Involving Students in the Learning Process in Higher Education

This contributed volume explores institutional and programmatic policies and practices which actively engage students as partners in improving student learning. This volume showcases student partnerships, as well as presents a history of institutional culture affecting student learning, the role of students in teaching and learning, and brings student voices and perspectives to bare through research from a variety of institutional types.

Case Study

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion Outcomes in General Education

This case study provides insight into how the Department of African-American Studies at UIUC utilizes assessment in course design, being mindful of aligning diversity and inclusion outcomes within the course and program goals, and ensuring students attain these outcomes in both in-person and online courses utilizing equitable assessments and student involvement in the assessment process. Read more…

Occasional Paper 49

There is No Return to Normal:
Harnessing Chaos to Create our New Assessment Future

The United States is in a period of reckoning from which institutions of higher education are not exempt. Rather, we exist at the intersection of the chaos wrought by the novel coronavirus and the spread of outrage about systemic racism beyond Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC) communities. The resulting almost universal sense of loss and uncertainty leads many of us to believe that individuals have little-to-no power to inform, never mind implement, change. Systemic problems require systemic solutions. There can be no return to “normal.” The authors instead invite assessment colleagues to question the unexamined assumptions which underlie heretofore taken-for-granted approaches to assessing and documenting students’ learning; to reconnect with foundational beliefs and values; and to fully engage with the uncertainty and complexity of the current moment. This paper offers readers a developmental approach for reflection, identifying potential leverage points, and intentionally creating a new assessment future which proactively includes all students. Read more…

Centering Historically Black Colleges and Universities:
Making the Case for a Statement for the Field and Beyond

Verna F. Orr

At this transformational moment in history, this report takes time to center Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) within the assessment realm; from teaching and learning experiences to internal and external mandates, from accreditation requirements to advocacy and agency. The paper argues that this work requires more than a statement of words and phrases including diversity, equity, inclusivity, culturally relevant, etc. It requires the lived experiences of HBCU connoisseurs. Let the lessons presented from our HBCU colleagues be the motivation needed to deliver on the promise of an equitable educational experience, for all students. Read more…

Strategies for Change: Equity in Assessment Practices

Carole L. Huston

This equity response presents two avenues for greater diversity and equity in assessment processes and practices: disaggregating data in non-traditional ways and building diverse assessment methods and teams. Providing examples and cases to explain and explore, this response offers guidance on how to better detect and block bias in assessment processes and practices. Read more…

Moving from Compliance to a Culture of Inquiry: Student Learning Outcome Implementation and Professional Development in California Community Colleges

Mary-Jo Apigo

This brief reports the findings and related recommendations from a study exploring professional development models that support community college faculty in completing the assessment cycle and/or barriers to assessment. The study was conducted of Coordinators, Academic Senate Presidents, and Chief Instructional Officers (CIOs) across the 112 California community colleges. Read more…

Occasional Paper

Grand Challenges in Assessment: Collective Issues in Need of Solutions

Karen Singer-Freeman & Christine Robinson

This paper shares ten grand challenges identified through an examination of the assessment literature and a national survey. To read more about how the Grand Challenges were identified, please the recently released Research and Practice in Assessment articleEach of the grand challenges are described, of which four were identified as of greatest concern to the assessment community. Those four are being addressed by the Grand Challenges in Assessment Project for possible collective solutions. Read more…

Students Bring a Fresh Perspective to Institutional Assessments Through Capstone Projects in Strategic Communication

Kimberly Green, Scott K. Benson, & Anne Peasley
Washington State University

This Assessment in Practice discusses lessons learned from an assessment office that worked with students as the “clients” in a capstone course at Washington State University. The effort built from prior work with high-impact practices and capstone assignment charrettes which recommended students engage as active agents in “real” professional tasks. Read more…

What is your Student Affairs Assessment Philosophy?

The activity presents a structured exercise to explore what student affairs practitioners believe to be true about the role and purpose of assessment as well as the best means to document student learning in relation to four philosophies: co-curricular learning, measurement of participation/satisfaction, compliance/reporting, and student-centeredness. Done individually or as a group, this activity can support internal communication and strategic planning on assessment. Read more…

NILOA COVID Resources

Beyond the Looking Glass:
Tenets of Meaningful Transparency

April 30, 2020

In the final episode of NILOA’s six-part webinar series, Natasha Jankowski, Ruth Slotnick, and Christina Ouellette discuss the role of transparency in student learning (view presentation slides). This includes communication about programmatic design, and the processes and practices at institutions working to convey information of student learning in a clear and coherent manner to different audience(s). The importance of transparency to students and student voice in the process are explored through the example of the transparency project at Bridgewater State University. The webinar concludes with institutional strategies and considerations for transparency in a time of Covid-19. We encourage you to participate in the BSU National Learning Outcomes Transparency survey! We also invite you continue the conversation on social media using the tags #NILOAwebinar, #AssessmentBook, and #AssessmentMusic.

The Evidence-Based Storytelling Toolkit:
Using Assessment Data to Write
Your Learning Narrative

April 23, 2020

Natasha Jankowski, Brad Mello, and Joe Levy provide resources on how to think about and plan for telling a story of learning to specific target audience (view presentation slides). Presenters will provide institutional examples of evidence-based storytelling, as well as guidance on communicating in a time of crisis and tips on messaging assessment efforts to faculty and staff. A new resource from NILOA “Planning for Effective Communication of Assessment: A Toolkit for Practice” was also introduced during the webinar. We invite you continue the conversation on social media using the tags #NILOAwebinar, #AssessmentBook, and #AssessmentMusic. NILOA will host the final webinar of this series April 30, 2020 at 3pm EST.

Outcomes, Alignment and Mapping, Oh My!:
Curriculum Mapping as Educational Design

April 16, 2020

Natasha Jankowski, Dan McInerney, and Errin Heyman present considerations for planning ahead to the summer and fall semester for supporting and advancing learning, especially in light of any learning outcomes that may need to be re-emphasized for returning students within programs. Presenters discussed alignment, levels of mapping, what is feasible now, and where to place our attention as we plan for the future (view presentation slides). NILOA has developed a guiding document for Program Planning in a Time of COVID-19. We encourage you continue the conversation on social media using the hashtags #NILOAwebinar, #AssessmentBook, and #AssessmentMusic. NILOA will continue to host weekly webinars every Thursday at 3:00pm EST through the end of April.

Assignment Design: Charrettes to Build Community in a Time of Physical Distance

April 9, 2020

NILOA will host weekly webinars every Thursday at 3:00pm EST through the end of April. This recording is of the 3rd webinar in the series, presented by Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Executive Director, Pat Hutchings, NILOA Senior Scholar, Tami Eggleston, McKendree University, and Shontell Stanford, Morehouse School of Medicine. The webinar discusses best practices for designing assignments for online learning, including tips for maintaining equity, quality, and applicability (view presentation slides). NILOA also developed a guiding document to conduct Assignment Charrettes in a Time of COVID-19. We encourage you continue the conversation on social media using the hashtags #NILOAwebinar, #AssessmentBook, and #AssessmentMusic.

Second Community Check-in and Updates
April 2, 2020

NILOA will host weekly webinars every Thursday at 3:00pm EST through the end of April. This recording is of the 2nd webinar from April 2, 2020, led by Dr. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Executive Director. She discusses faculty evaluations, student surveys, messaging assessment reports, and assessing online in the time of COVID19 (view presentation slides). A new NILOA Viewpoint, discusses some of the issues that should be considered in making changes to how we grade students and using pass/fail. We encourage you continue the conversation on social media using the hashtags #NILOAwebinar, #AssessmentBook, and #AssessmentMusic. More information on the webinar series.

First Community Check-in and Updates
March 26, 2020

NILOA will host weekly webinars every Thursday at 3:00pm EST through the end of April. This recording is of the first webinar from March 26, 2020, led by Dr. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Executive Director. She introduces a handful of resources, as well as advice, to help the field of assessment—and higher education writ large—to navigate the current transition to online as the field responds to the COVID19 pandemic (see presentation slides). The webinar focuses on providing a space for people to come together and decompress, share concerns, and experiences. We encourage you continue the conversation on social media using the hashtags #NILOAwebinar and #AssessmentMusic. More information on the webinar series.

Making the Move to Online Courses:
Resources to Inform Teaching and Learning

The NILOA Team has compiled and will continue to update a resource list to assist the field as we make the move to online courses.

New to Assessment?

Assignment Library

Browse our interactive, online library of high-quality, peer-reviewed assignments.

Transparency Framework

The NILOA Transparency Framework helps institutions evaluate the extent to which they are making evidence of student accomplishment discoverable and  meaningful to various audiences in an online format.

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