Discover, Assess, Distribute.

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

Call for Examples:
Vignettes of Equitable Assessment Practice

An upcoming book from Stylus aims to help higher education implement equitable assessment. A central element is providing examples of practice showcasing how assessment for equity is carried out within classrooms, programs, student affairs, co-curricular, etc. Share your examples of equitable assessment practice for inclusion in the book by August 1, 2020.

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.

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 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 in Assessment Case Studies

Capital University: Campus Climate Assessment through Critical Race Theory

Capital University, founded in 1830 and chartered in 1850, is a private, liberal arts university located in Columbus, Ohio. In 2015, a broad group of faculty and staff began meeting to engage in discussions about diversity and inclusion at Capital University. A committee was formed and worked for over a year to build the framework for a Strategic Diversity and Inclusion plan. As part of the plan, one of the recommendations was to assess the campus climate. To examine campus climate, the study was undertaken with a Critical Race Theory (CRT) framework, which did not assume that the climate was already equitable for all students. Instead, the study asked the following questions: What are the actual experiences of students of color? Do students of color have different experiences than White students? Are students’ perceptions of diversity and inclusion different by race? This case from Capital University highlights how institutions can use CRT to examine existing processes and practices in order to create more equitable assessment practices. Read more…

Occasional Paper 44

Working with Employers: Tips for Success

Stronger, meaningful connections are needed between employers and higher education, however, questions abound about how best to work together. Stemming from conversations with members of the higher education and employer communities over the past three years, this Occasional Paper provides tips for fostering successful partnerships and collaboration between higher education and employers. Three lessons learned from successful employer and higher education partnerships are introduced: the importance of context, tips for sparking conversation between faculty and employers, and questions to ask one another to find common values and deeper understanding.  Read more…

Occasional Paper 45

Mapping and Assessing Student Learning in Student Affairs

Over the last three years, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) assisted institutions which were developing Comprehensive Learner Records and scaling high-impact practices. In each of these initiatives, mapping of learning, redesigning assessments, and creating assignments was a staple of practice. Further, assessment practitioners were reminded that before staff jump into implementing assessment and writing the perfect learning outcome statement with just the right verb, time is needed to think about what is being built, why, how, and which students are being served. This Occasional Paper provides inroads to such discussions, offering resources to inform practice and use in professional development. Read more...

Assessment in Practice

Connecting Student Employment to Student Learning & Development

Olivia Baca, Cindy Pierard, & Anne Schultz
University of New Mexico

Many students work during college and many work in libraries. The University of New Mexico University Libraries (UNMUL) Access Services team leveraged a student employment program to enhance students’ connection with the overall educational experience by structuring the employment experience to be beneficial to student learning and success. UNMUL redesigned employment practices to be in alignment with the Iowa GROW® (Guided Reflection on Work) program, which helps students learn about connections between their jobs, learning, and career goals. A study of the implementation of the GROW® program found it to benefit both student employees and student supervisors. Read more…

Assessment in Practice

Outcome Measurement in Libraries: The Project Outcome Model

Sara Goek, Association of College & Research Libraries

Emily Plagman, Public Library Association

Project Outcome is a free online toolkit designed to help libraries understand and share the impact of their programs and services. It provides simple surveys for measuring and analyzing patron-reported learning outcomes in four areas—knowledge, confidence, application, and awareness. Project Outcome also gives libraries resources and training support needed to make use of findings and confidently advocate for their future. The range of assessment skills in the library field is broad but the need to use data for advocacy, planning, decision-making, and funding requests grows. The Project Outcome model provides convenient tools for libraries to measure learning outcomes easily and consistently. Read more…

Curriculum Mapping Example:
Lincoln Memorial University’s College of Veterinary Medicine

Patricia Butterbrodt

The concept of a map indicates the user is searching for information and has gone to the map to locate the information needed, with different types and layers of information available in maps with different foci. Likewise, a curriculum map will look different from one user to another, from one school to another, from one university to another. There are multiple designs for a curriculum map, and depending on the information presented, a curriculum map can be very simple or quite complex. This example from Lincoln Memorial University offers a description of a multi-layered mapping process including the uses of mapping, resource needs, mapping levels, possible formats, and other important considerations. Read more…

Featured Website:
Western University

The Empower U website from the Texas A&M University System’s is the July 2020 NILOA Featured Website! In developing the website, the system relied on NILOA’s Transparency Framework and its components to guide the types of information made available to visitors. Institutions in the Texas A&M University System share a common set of student learning outcomes, and are encouraged to pursue an assessment culture of improvement; emphasizing a commitment “to responsible assessment practices that stress fairness and equity, and transparency.” Website visitors can find information on the six system-wide learning outcomes, including a description of each outcome and an overview of the multiple measures that will be used as sources of evidence. Information regarding how different system universities engage in assessment and quality enhancement from an evidence-based and continuous improvement perspective can also be explored. Read more…

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.

Can't find what you're looking for?