Our NILOA Viewpoints are guest-authored, thought-provoking pieces aimed at moving the field toward practices, initiatives, and questions that can inform assessment for improvement. Viewpoints cover myriad topics of interest to different audiences. To help facilitate how you navigate through these pieces, we have grouped them by topic area.

Latest NILOA Viewpoint

Direct Instruction in Learning Outcomes for More Meaningful Assessment of Students of the Environment

Jennifer Pontius & Alan McIntosh

Assessment best practices suggest that the most effective way to engage and include students in mastering learning outcomes is to directly teach frameworks for applying learning outcomes and then practice these skills with clear guidelines about what differentiates competency from novice to mastery levels. A new text published by Springer provides such a tool for direct instruction and assessment of common learning outcomes for environmental programs. Critical Skills for Environmental Professionals: Putting Knowledge into Practice is designed to provide direct instruction and assessment tools for environmental majors. Selection of content for this book was based on a review of learning outcomes published by leading environmental programs across the United States. Several common themes emerged that were focused on training students to apply their disciplinary knowledge base, with an emphasis on environmental problem solving.

The Assessment Landscape


Viewpoints in this section discuss contemporary and possible future challenges and opportunities for the field of assessment, how assessment contributes to conversations surrounding the value and worth of higher education, what principles of good assessment practice we should follow, and how we can use assessment data to improve teaching and learning. 

Strengths-based Assessment Practice: Constructing Our Professional Identities through Reflection by Gina B. Polychronopoulos Emilie Clucas Leaderman
Promoting an Improvement Culture by Claudia J. Stanny
Improvement Matters by Peter Felten
Responses to “The Misguided Drive to Measure” Learning Outcomes by Natasha Jankowski
AAHE Principles of Good Practice: Aging Nicely by Pat Hutchings, Peter Ewell, and Trudy Banta
Guidelines to Consider in Being Strategic about Assessment by Larry A. Braskamp and Mark E. Engberg
Why Are We Assessing? By Higher Education Assessment Practitioners

Institution & Program-Level


What do institutions and programs need to consider when it comes to assessment work? The Viewpoints in this section provide thoughts on implementation of assessment at various levels within institutions of higher education.

Tools & Resources


There are various tools and resources available to us in our assessment efforts. In fact, the use of multiple measures of student learning and the implementation of different tools is recommended. The Viewpoints in this section discuss processes, tools, and related concepts to consider when engaging in assessment.

Stakeholder Roles

Assessment is done by groups of individuals committed to using evidence to improve teaching and learning. To see the collective impact to which we are striving, partnerships and role differentiation are crucial. The Viewpoints in this section provide insight and reflection on stakeholder roles and partnerships in assessment.

Equity & Diversity

I am not standard

How can assessment be more equitable? How can we assess learners aptitude to understand diverse others? How can assessment support equity initiatives at our institutions? The Viewpoints in this section tackle these questions and many more as thought leaders and experts in the field offer insight on issues of equity and diversity as they relate to assessment. 

In Remembrance

Many pioneers have impacted the landscape of assessment in higher education for the better to advance the conversation toward one that situates student learning at the center of what we do. As such, these Viewpoints invite you to remember, celebrate, and reflect on the careers and lessons learned from colleagues who may have passed, but their legacies continue to teach and inspire us all.