Evidence-Based Storytelling

NILOA assists institutions in the practice of sharing assessment data through evidence-based narratives utilizing a collaborative, field-tested peer review process. Evidence-based storytelling, informed by the NILOA Transparency Framework, offers an innovative strategy to help institutions meet current accountability and transparency demands.

To better tell institutional assessment stories using evidence of student learning specific to institutional context and audience, NILOA’s Evidence-Based Storytelling Toolkit provides questions, tools, and resources for consideration in narrative development. Click on each banner to expand the selection and access each resource.

Please cite as: Jankowski, N. A., & Baker, G. (2019, August). Building a narrative via evidence-based storytelling: A toolkit for practice. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

Building a Narrative via Evidence-Based Storytelling: A Toolkit for Practice is designed to help you think through various elements in the creation of a compelling, evidence-based story. It was developed through document and narrative analysis review of accreditation reports, program reviews, and annual assessment reports. In addition to the individual questions to consider when crafting a narrative, the toolkit includes resources for undertaking a group activity to peer review reports, documents, or data visualizations. This peer review process has been field-tested over the last three years and refined with different groups including assessment professionals, faculty, and institutional research staff.


Our first institutional example for the Evidence-Based Storytelling Toolkit comes from San José State University.


Our second practice example comes from the Virginia Assessment Group and James Madison University.