Equity in Assessment

For assessment to improve student learning and authentically document what students know and can do for the diversity of today’s students, an equitable and culturally responsive approach to assessment is needed. To begin the conversation on the relationship between equity and assessment, NILOA launched its 29th Occasional Paper in 2017 that explores the question “how consequential can assessment be to learning when assessment approaches may not be inclusive of diverse learners?”

In short, equitable assessment practices

  1. Are mindful of the student population(s) being served and involve students in the process of assessing learning
  2. Use appropriate student-focused and cultural language in statements of learning outcomes
  3. Develop and/or use assessment tools that are culturally responsive
  4. Intentionally improve student learning through disaggregated data-driven change that examines structures, demonstrations of learning, and supports

Equity Conversation

NILOA invited the field into dialogue on the relationship between equity and assessment in the form of responses to NILOA’s 29th Occasional Paper. Since the release of the Occasional Paper in January 2017 over 15 faculty, staff, and administrators have explored and unpacked relationships between equity and assessment. Their responses examine the important role of equity and cultural responsiveness; social justice in assessment; and intersections between equity, inclusion, and assessment. The conversations have refined the ideas presented in the paper and added various challenges and opportunities to consider.

The Importance of Equity

Ebony Zamani-Gallaher

Equitable Assessment Framework

Thomas Nelson Laird & Allison BrckaLorenz

Pedagogy, Inclusion & Disaggregation

Melissa Wright

Responsiveness & Inclusivity

Pamela Petrease Felder


Jan McArthur

Professional Development & Pedagogy

Jodi Fisler

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

Ereka R. Williams


Joseph D. Levy &
Ciji A. Heiser

Inclusive Learning Environments

Ian Clark &
Masahiro Arimoto

Faculty & Pedagogy

Sheri Williams &
Frank Perrone

Social Justice

Gavin W. Henning &
Anne E. Lundquist

Student Affairs

Sophie Tullier

Professional Development

Ruth Williams

Student Affairs & Engagement

Leslie S. Meyerhoff

Professional Development

Rosalie Roberts

CRA as Good Assessment

Dennis L. Rudnick

Learning Management System

Audrey Rorrer &
Bruce Richards

If you would like to join the equity conversation and respond to or raise points around equity and assessment, please fill out the form or email your insights to Erick Montenegro, NILOA’s Communication Coordinator and Research Analyst at montene1@illinois.edu.

Equity Case Studies

We recognize that there are practices occurring within institutions of higher education that address issues of equity in relation to assessment. What is lacking is awareness of the various practices, their effectiveness, process elements, and the impact of equitable assessment efforts on diverse student populations and their learning.

NILOA, the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), and other partners invited case studies around Equity in Assessment to highlight examples from which others can learn and to continue to dialogue on equitable assessment. 

Equity Case Studies are forthcoming. Please stay tuned!

If your institution is engaged in equitable assessment efforts and you are interested in sharing your processes and practices through a case study or other outlet, please apply to be an Equity in Assessment Case Study site.