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

NILOA Updates

New Occasional Paper:

A Comprehensive Approach to Assessment of High-Impact Practices

NILOA’s 41st Occasional Paper, co-released with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), outlines a process of effectively assessing high-impact practices at your institution. High-impact practices, such as learning communities, capstones, undergraduate research, and community-based experiences, are effective pedagogies. Most of these practices have been around for decades. The vast majority of campuses can proudly point to multiple high-impact practices happening somewhere within their institutions. Given the intense focus across institutions of higher education on identifying, tagging, and touting their high-impact practices, assessment is what separates the committed practitioners from the casual adopters. A good assessment plan for high-impact practices starts with acknowledging three things. One, the name alone does not make them high-impact. Two, evidence of effect requires assessing more than outcomes, alone. And three, assessment must be, at every stage, attentive to equity. Read more… 

New Case Study:

Palo Alto College

Palo Alto College (PAC) was selected as a NILOA case study based on its successful efforts in adapting NILOA’s assignment design toolkit to engage faculty, staff and students in assessment. Offering intimate workshops frequently throughout the academic calendar year has created a ground swell of faculty reinvesting themselves in the curriculum. This case study explores PAC’s focus on assignments from the perspective of faculty, staff, and students. Read more…

New Viewpoint:

Meta-Themes & Meta-Trends in Assessment:
Enduring Issues, Emerging Ideas

After 35 years of the assessment movement in the U.S., how are we approaching assessment today? What have we learned? What has changed? And what do the answers to these questions imply for designing teaching, learning, and curricula, and for the kinds of learning we value? These are the questions we set out to address in our new edited volume, Trends in Assessment: Ideas, Opportunities, and Issues for Higher Education (2019). As organizers of the Assessment Institute in Indianapolis, now the nation’s oldest and largest assessment conference, we were uniquely positioned to comment on changes over time. Further, the contributors to the book were composed of the Institute’s past and current track leaders, in addition to the representatives of the many higher education organizations who partner with the Institute and offered their own perspectives on current and future assessment trends in the book’s concluding chapter. This Viewpoint offers a summary of the “meta-themes” and “meta-trends” identified in Trends in AssessmentRead more…

New Equity Response:

Culturally Responsive Assessment is Just Good Assessment

In her now classic article, “But That’s Just Good Teaching! The Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy,” Ladson- Billings (1995) provides a compelling analysis for teaching, committed to student academic success, cultural competence, and critical consciousness. Therein, she indicates that considerations of equity and culture are not anathema to, but rather emblematic of high-quality teaching. In Equity and Assessment: Moving Towards Culturally Responsive Assessment (2017), Montenegro and Jankowski are, in effect, making a similar claim: “But That’s Just Good Assessment!” Montenegro and Jankowski make an explicit recognition that ideology, bias, and positionality affect the assessment process. Akin to Harding’s (1993) notion of strong objectivity, how we frame, practice, and interpret phenomena—including research and assessment data—may be influenced by our preconceived ideas about: (1) different social identity groups, (2) reasons for inequitable outcomes, and (3) the process and practice of assessment itself. Read more…

Excellence in Assessment (EIA):

Consider Applying for the Excellence in Assessment
Class of 2020

The application process for the 2020 Excellence in Assessment (EIA) designation will open December 2019! EIA recognizes institutions for their efforts in intentional integration of institution-level learning outcomes assessment. Over the past four years, we have recognized 27 institutions for their Excellence in Assessment. If your institution is involved in exemplary assessment practice, please consider submitting an application. In preparation, we encourage you to visit our website and review material from prior years and the accompanying rubric that evaluators use to assess the merit of each application. Read more…

Featured Website:

James Madison University

James Madison University’s (JMU) Student Affairs Assessment Support Services (SASS) web page is this month’s NILOA Featured Website! SASS features numerous resources for each step of the assessment process including resources for the development of student learning outcome statements (SLOS), and the selection and design of assessment instruments. We invite you to read the full Featured Website review, and peruse the valuable resources SASS has for each step of the assessment process. For these reasons, JMU’s Student Affairs Support Services web page is a NILOA Featured Website in the Centralized Assessment Repository and Creativity categories, as well as an exemplar for the Transparency Framework Assessment Resources component. Read more…

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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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