Discover, Assess, Distribute.

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

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 Resources

New Report

Assessment During A Crisis:
Responding to a Global Pandemic

In March 2020, institutions abruptly pivoted to remote instruction, sending students, faculty, and staff away from college campuses in response to COVID-19. In June 2020, NILOA launched a survey to capture a snapshot of assessment-related changes made during Spring 2020 and to help determine remaining professional development needs. The report provides an overview of findings from 813 responses representing 624 different institutions and organizations, couples those findings with other reports released from March through July, and provides “do’s” and “do not’s” for higher education and the field of assessment—looking beyond Fall 2020. Read more…

Equity Case Study

San Diego State University: Supporting Commuter Students through
Equity-Driven and Student-Focused Assessment

This case study showcases how an institutional focus on equity can help foster equitable assessment through empowering faculty, administrators, and staff to explore equity gaps affecting students in Commuter Life (a San Diego State University initiative) use assessment data to close those gaps, and leverage the student voice and experience to inform improvement via a seminar course for commuter students.

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…

Assessment Institute: NILOA Track

The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) track of presentations at this year’s Assessment Institute covers a wide range of topics and are designed to appeal to a broad audience. In the following pages you can find more information on each NILOA track session. We hope you find the NILOA Track to be relevant, thought-provoking, and engaging. We look forward to ‘seeing’ you at this year’s free virtual Assessment Institute!!! For the most updated program booklet, please visit the program page: https://assessmentinstitute.iupui.edu/program/program-book.html

Measuring the Quality of University Education:
Beyond the Nonsense of University Rankings

Paul Ashwin

How do we measure the quality of a university education in meaningful ways? Across the world there are  discussions of how students choose the degree courses that they will study and how employers select graduates based on the degree courses studied. This means that gaining a rich sense of the quality of different degree programs is very important. Paul Ashwin’s (2020) recent book, Transforming University Education: A Manifesto, explores a series of dominant myths around the measurement of quality and explores what is needed to develop more valid measures of educational quality. Read more…

Occasional Paper 48

Program Review and Assessment for Continuous Improvement:
Asking the Right Questions

Tami Eggleston, McKendree University 

While almost every campus conducts program reviews, the definition, purpose, structure, and integration of assessment in program reviews is not universally understood, accepted, or implemented. This paper summarizes essential questions and discussions campuses should have regarding program reviews and the integration of assessment into such reviews.

Assessment Strategies: A Practical Model for a Peer Facilitated Assessment Cycle
to Demonstrate Continuous Improvement

Scott Myers & Nancy McDonald
University of Phoenix

This Assessment in Practice discusses lessons learned during the implementation of an initial assessment cycle at the New Mexico (NM) Campus of the University of Phoenix. Campus administrators recognized the key to successful implementation of this initial assessment cycle process was to ensure engagement and buy-in from the faculty members who would be teaching the classes selected to be assessed. Read more…

NILOA Webinar Series

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.

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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