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NILOA April 2018 Newsletter

This edition of our newsletter provides a variety of resources and commentary on accreditation. NILOA is pleased to present an Occasional Paper on Assessment and Accreditation: An Imperiled Symbiosis by Paul L. Gaston. We also introduce a new Assessment in Practice The Peer Review Portal: Using an Online College of Peers Network and Collaborator Role for Reporting Professional Accreditation, and a Viewpoint by Melanie Booth on The EEQ CERT: A New Way to Assure and Communicate Program Quality, Relevance, & Value. We would also like to highlight the upcoming May 1 deadline for this year's Excellence in Assessment designation application process. 

In addition, we are pleased to continue the equity and assessment conversation with commentary by Masahiro Arimoto and Ian Clark, both with Tohoku University's, Graduate School of Education and are happy to announce the Texas Tech University as this month's Featured Website. Finally, please find a summary of NILOA's activities in the field from March and a summary of relevant news items and events, including an announcement for a NILOA Visiting Communications Coordinator position. 

New NILOA Occasional Paper

Assessment and Accreditation: An Imperiled Symbiosis
Paul L. Gaston

This occasional paper reviews the accomplishments of higher education accreditation relative to its symbiotic relationship with assessment, acknowledges serious criticisms and proposed reforms, and indicates how accreditation might reform itself so as to disarm calls for radical change, improve its performance, strengthen the institutions and programs it serves, and enhance public understanding of and appreciation for higher education. Read more...

NILOA Assessment in Practice

The Peer Review Portal: Using an Online College of Peers Network and Collaborator Role for Reporting Professional Accreditation, Course Accreditation and Assessment Activity

Dr. Sara Booth, Strategic Advisor, Quality-External
University of Tasmania, Australia and Higher Education Consultant

This Assessment in Practice (AiP) provides an overview of a Peer Review Portal, designed to support, connect and advance higher education institutions, professional organizations and individuals in professional accreditation, course accreditation and review activity in a cost effective as well as a cost-benefit exercise. The strength of the Portal lies in its growing online Peer Review Portal Network community and the Collaborator function which enables cross-institutional and institutional reporting. Read more...

NILOA Viewpoint

The EEQ CERT: A New Way to Assure and Communicate Program Quality, Relevance, & Value

Melanie Booth
The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher & Postsecondary Education

The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher & Postsecondary Education (The QA Commons) was established in the fall of 2016 to create a new approach to quality assurance that would respond to the changing landscape of higher education and would serve the needs of learners, employers, and our larger society. In partnership with 27 academic programs from 14 institutions across the country, the QA Commons have designed the Essential Employability Qualities Certification (EEQ CERT). When implemented later this year, the EEQ CERT will certify bachelors, associates, and certificate programs that prepare graduates with the essential employability qualities. Included in this Viewpoint is a discussion on the value of the EEQ CERT, promising practices, and frameworks used to assess the Essential Employability Qualifications. Read more…

Bringing Equity into the Heart of Assessment

In January 2017, NILOA launched a conversation on the relationship between equity and assessment in the 29th Occassional Paper, Equity and Assessment: Moving Towards Culturally Responsive Assessment. We are continuing the conversation in 2018 with additional responses to the paper, and are pleased to announce the release of a new installment to the equity conversation by Masahiro Arimoto and Ian Clark, both with Tohoku University's, Graduate School of Education. Read more...

2018 EIA Designation Application Deadline

Applications are due by May 1

The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) program recognizes colleges and universities that successfully integrate assessment practices across campus, provide evidence of student learning outcomes to stakeholders, and utilize assessment results to guide institutional decision-making and improve student performance. The EIA designations are sponsored by the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), a joint initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and NILOA. Read more...

NILOA Updates

NILOA Featured Website

The Office of Planning and Assessment (OPA) website at Texas Tech University (TTU) explains the importance and value of learning outcomes and assessment methods in an innovative manner to a key audience of Students & Parents. The section features an infographic, links to reports, and clear language on learning outcomes and assessment methods for a student and parent audience. In addition, learning outcomes, assessment approaches, and student testimonials are available for each college. Read more...

NILOA In The Field

In March NILOA staff and coaches participated in various conferences, presentations and meetings with a focus on advancing student success and learning improvement. We keynoted Virginia Tech's Advising Matters conference, presented at the Tuning Academy, presented a plenary address at Nanyang Technological University’s annual Learning and Teaching Conference and Learning Improvement Summit. Additionally, NILOA Senior Scholar, Dr. George Kuh keynoted The Educational Opportunity Fund Professional Association of New Jersey (EOFPANJ) 2018 Spring Conference. NILOA staff facilitated a webinar on assignment charrette, a workshop at the Changing Classroom Cultures 12th Annual Conference and delivered presentations during Promoting Student Transition and Equity in 21st Century Higher Education conference. Read more... 



NILOA Communications Coordinator
The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) is seeking a Communications Coordinator. The Communications Coordinator will manage day-to-day communications responsibilities which include, but are not limited to managing multiple websites and social networks, creating digital communication strategies, and assisting the Director and Assistant Director in developing communication initiatives for NILOA. More information will be located in the forthcoming job posting. For queries, please contact Dr. Gianina Baker: 

The National Teaching and Learning Forum
Many regular readers of the NILOA newsletter may be familiar with the National Teaching and Learning Forum (NTLF), edited by James Rhem. Recently, NTLF has featured stories on teaching for social justice. The current issue (volume 27, issue 3) contains several pieces with connections to NILOA’s work: a discussion of the Degree Qualifications Profile, and stories drawn from two featured assignments in the NILOA Assignment Library. A special thanks to Rhem and to Wiley, NTLF’s publisher, for “unlocking” this issue of the publication so we can share it with newsletter readers.

Assignment Design Webinar Recording Available
The recording from Facilitating an Assignment Charrette: Providing Space for Faculty-Led Conversations on Assignment Design webinar is available. In this webinar, participants learned about necessary skills to lead assignment conversations along with resources to support them in their work going forward. 

Quality Pathways: Employer Leadership in Earn and Learn Opportunities 
The newly released paper by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) focuses on earn and learn pathways, which aims to address skills gap, misalignment of skills in current labour market and growing demand for high-skill employees who have the ability to adapt to constantly changing work environment. The paper calls for a joint effort between employers, businesses, workers, government and educators to solve these challenges as the only way to reach a successful solution.

What Assessment Is Really About
Kate McConnell, a scholar and assessment professional, highlights the role and value of assessment. She joins a number of assessment professionals, rebutting claims made against the value and utility of assessment, explaining its critical importance to documenting and improving student learning.

What Motivates Good Teaching?
Flaherty cites a new study which explored what motivates professors to teach well. Believing in the importance of education, job satisfaction and being a part of something greater seem to be some of the major motivating factors that make professors good educators. At the same time, rewards, satisfying self-esteem or avoiding shame and punishment have no impact on teaching practices.

AALHE's Quarterly Publication: Winter/Spring 2018 Issue of Intersection
The recently released winter/spring issue of Intersection offers articles focused on assessment strategies employed in disciplines with specialized accreditation including nursing, education, business, social work, occupational therapy, sports management, and medical education. In addition, some articles deal more broadly with communication and collaboration strategies that are applicable across a range of programs as they prepare for reporting and accreditation.

PLA Inside Out Issue No. 6 Now Available
The recently released sixth issue of PLA Inside Out: An International Journal on Theory, Research and Practice in Prior Learning Assessment features material under the theme of PLA Policies and Standards: Institutional, Regional, National, International and Transnational.

The UMBC Hype is Great — Now Let’s Focus on Educational Quality
Debra Humphreys, vice president of strategic engagement for Lumina Foundation, argues for a system of higher education that develops knowledgeable, creative, and responsible citizens, who are also prepared for employment. Essential elements of such an effective system are ensuring that education programs are of high quality and designed to meet the needs and aspirations of all students regardless of background.

Designing for Equity: Leveraging Competency-Based Education to Ensure All Students Succeed
This report seeks to answer the question “how should we think about equity in a personalized, competency-based education system (CBE) to ensure that every student is indeed successful?” To do so, this paper explores potential pitfalls and strategies that may ensure a more equitable CBE system.

Life's different for today's students - let's help them succeed with high quality learning.
Debra Humphreys presents another installment focused on pathways to high-quality credentials. Understanding that today’s students are more diverse in every way and face mounting challenges which prevent many from completing a high-quality postsecondary credential. Humphreys argues that educators are responsible for recognizing and addressing the needs of today’s students by building a learning-based infrastructure that will work for them.  

Upcoming Conferences and Programs

April 13-17, 2018. AERA 2018 Annual Meeting.
New York, NY.
**We invite you to attend SIG 64 on Measurement and Assessment in Higher Education sessions throughout the conference. This SIG is chaired by Natasha Jankowski, NILOA director. The program chair is NILOA Coach, Ruth Slotnick.

April 18-20, 2018. The Heart of Healthy Assessment: Cultivating Assessment Literacy.
Syracuse, NY.

April 25-27, 2018. WASC ARC 2018.
Burlingame, CA.

April 27, 2018. AAC&U Webinar. Signature Work from First Year to Capstone: Scaffolding throughout the Curriculum.

April 27, 2018. AALHE Webinar: Twitter for Assessment Professionals.

April 28-May 1, 2018. AACC 98th Annual Convention.
Dallas, TX.
**Join Dr. Gianina Baker, Assistant Director of NILOA along with Laura Blasi and Hana Lahr for a session on Monday, April 30 from 11:45-12:45 on Responding to the Completion Challenge with Meaningful Assessment.

May 1-2, 2018. 2018 Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching.
Calgary, Alberta.

May 8, 2018. Proposals Due: 2018 Summer Assessment Symposium (SAS).

May 13-15, 2018. The Gory and Glory of Assessment.
Camrose, Alberta.

May 15-16, 2018. The 2nd Annual New England Assessment Conference.
Henniker, NH.

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