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

St. Edward’s University:
Rethinking General Education to Support Social Justice

To better align general education with the mission of St. Edward’s University, a general education renewal process was undertaken to revamp curriculum as well as revamp assessment processes to reflect the equity and social justice mission of the university, moving from a course-based silo assessment approach to a university-level discussion engaging all campus stakeholders in equitable improvement processes.

Occasional Paper 46

Documenting Learning: The Comprehensive Learner Record

Traditionally, transcripts present a collection of lists of courses and grades in a format valuable for trading information between and among institutions of higher education. What if transcripts were reimagined to not only provide information on credits earned, but also provide information on learning acquired both inside and outside the classroom? What if the transcript documented learning in a digital portable record, regardless of where the learning took place or was acquired? Beginning from a partnership between the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and NASPA: Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the work to develop Comprehensive Learner Records (CLR) sought to address these questions with the help of a group of pilot institutions. NILOA provided professional development support to the pilot institutions as the pilot participants mapped learning and identified assessments of learning from both within and outside of the classroom for inclusion in a formal record. This occasional paper provides an overview of the Comprehensive Learner Record project as well as connection points to assessment. Read more…

Twelve Institutions Named 2020 Excellence in Assessment Designees

The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) program recognizes colleges and universities that successfully integrate assessment practices across the institution, provide evidence of student learning outcomes to stakeholders, and utilize assessment results to guide institutional decision-making and improve student performance. 

McKendree University, Miami Dade College, and the University of Wisconsin Whitewater were awarded the 2020 Sustained Excellence in Assessment designation for maintaining integrated institution-level student learning outcomes assessment for five or more years. 

Nine universities were awarded the 2020 Excellence in Assessment designation recognizing their commitment to the comprehensive assessment of student learning outcomes as a means to drive internal improvement and advance student success: • Davenport University • East Carolina University • Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University • Messiah University • Northwestern State University • Oregon Health & Science University • University of Florida • University of Texas at Arlington • Wayne State University.

Equity Response

Cripping Equity and Assessment:
Disability as Identity and Culture in the Context of Culturally Responsive Assessment

Ezekiel Kimball, Jordan Abbott, and Jonique Childs
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Montenegro and Jankowski establish an ambitious goal in their occasional papers Equity and Assessment: Moving Towards Culturally Responsive Assessment and A New Decade for Assessment: Embedding Equity into Assessment Praxis. Their model, which ties together disparate elements of the assessment cycle with intentional consideration of students’ unique needs and experiences, calls for administrators, staff, and faculty engaged in the assessment process to view this work as integrally linked to the educational experience writ large. However, despite the many laudable features of Montenegro and Jankowski’s proposed approach to culturally responsive assessment, the occasional paper offers only limited attention to issues of disability or to the experiences of disabled students. In response, we offer a “cripped” reading of their occasional papers—raising questions about how Montenegro and Jankowski’s work might be supplemented by insight from crip theory. Read more…


In Memoriam:
Arthur Wright Chickering

George D. Kuh

We lost a prolific scholar, influential thought leader and innovator on August 15, 2020 with the passing of Arthur Wright Chickering. Read George Kuh’s In Memoriam: Arthur Wright Chickering which outlines why assessment professionals are indebted to his pioneering work illustrating how and why data about the student experience can be used in institutional decision making.



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 in Motion:
Steps Toward a More Integrated Model

Susan Canon, Kelsey Thompson, and Mary Walczak

St. Olaf College has a long history with assessment, having participate in many different assessment initiatives over the years, including being a NILOA case study institution in 2012. NILOA originally selected St. Olaf as a case study for its framing of assessment as inquiry in support of student learning and its strong commitment to using evidence of learning for purposes of ongoing improvement. However, assessment continues to change and shift. This case study provides an update to the original case to help readers explore sustainable assessment and the ongoing review of assessment approaches.

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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