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NILOA August 2018 Newsletter

In this month’s NILOA Newsletter, we begin by congratulating the 2018 Excellence in Assessment designees! These five institutions join our prior designees recognized for their commitment to the campus-wide assessment of student learning outcomes.

We also invite you to read a new NILOA Report “Helping Students Develop Habits of Reflection: What We Can Learn from the NILOA Assignment Library” from Pat Hutchings, and a new Response to NILOA’s Equity paper “Moving Towards Socially Just Assessment” from Gavin W. Henning and Anne E. Lundquist. In addition, we invite you to submit your ideas for a NILOA logo (the deadline is August 24) and to submit a request for a NILOA Coach visit.

Finally, this newsletter highlights the University of Texas at Arlington as this month’s Featured Website, provides two new examples of institutions using the NILOA Transparency Framework, and concludes with relevant news items and information on upcoming conferences and programs.

EIA Designation Class of 2018!

Five Colleges & Universities Named as 
2018 Excellence in Assessment Designees

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.

Five colleges and universities were named 2018 Excellence in Assessment designees, recognizing their commitment to the comprehensive assessment of student learning outcomes as a means to drive internal improvement and advance student success: Bowie State University, Harper College, Mississippi State University, Northern Arizona University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Please join us in congratulating the 2018 EIA Designees!

Application materials for the 2019 EIA Designation will be available in November. Read more…

NILOA Report

Helping Students Develop Habits of Reflection:
What We Can Learn from the NILOA Assignment Library

Pat Hutchings,
NILOA Senior Scholar

Over the last several years, NILOA has worked with faculty from around the country to build an online library of assignments that both foster and provide evidence of student learning. The Library is now approaching 80 entries and growing. A number of those assignments include an explicit requirement that students engage in structured, intentional reflection. The assignments involving reflection come from a diverse range of fields and institutional types, and include papers, presentations, case studies, group projects, and exams. This report highlights common features between the various assignments, the value and role of reflection, and important developments that can provide synergy for further work on reflective assignments. Read more…

Submit Ideas for a NILOA Logo!

NILOA is in the process of a website redesign and logo development and we'd like to invite you to take part! We invite all students, faculty, staff, and others to let your creativity flow and submit original ideas for a new NILOA logo. Thank you to those who have shared their ideas with us already. The deadline to submit an original piece to is August 24, 2018.

Bringing Equity into the Heart of Assessment

In January 2017, NILOA launched a conversation on the relationship between equity and assessment in th29th Occasional 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 Gavin W. Henning from New England College and Anne E. Lundquist from Campus Labs. Read more...

Featured Website

The University of Texas at Arlington’s (UTA) Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Reporting (IER) web page is this month’s NILOA Featured Website. For UTA faculty and staff, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Reporting offers professional development opportunities on assessment management systems and meaningful assessment practices. Visitors to the site can find a multitude of resources including reports on UTA’s six core curriculum objectives – the learning outcomes that the state of Texas and the institution believe students should acquire through coursework and co-curricular experiences. For those engaged in assessment work, the IER web page has Unit Effectiveness Process (UEP) resources such as UTA’s assessment handbook, a Quick Guide to Plan and Results Reporting, a Quick Guide to Improvement Reports, and a Wheel of Assessment Responsibility diagram all of which are useful for external audiences. Read more...

NILOA Transparency Framework in the Field

NILOA’s Transparency Framework is intended to help institutions evaluate the extent to which they are making evidence of student accomplishment readily accessible and potentially useful and meaningful to various audiences. The Framework identifies six key components of student learning assessment that may be of interest to specific audiences and outlines opportunities to advance public understanding. Institutions may use the Framework to examine their institutional websites to gauge the extent to which evidence of student accomplishment is readily accessible and potentially useful and meaningful to the intended audience. We highlighted institutions that use the Transparency Framework, and this month we have added two new examples: Hutchinson Community College and Syracuse University. If your institution is using the Framework, we encourage you to contact us at so we can share your example. Read more…

Request a NILOA Coach Visit

NILOA is pleased to announce we are currently accepting requests from institutions seeking to advance and accelerate campus initiatives to enhance student learning. NILOA is working with a group of Coaches who are available to help colleges and universities with their improvement efforts. Drawn from different types of institutions around the country, the Coaches are experienced faculty, administrators, and staff who know first-hand about the utility and value of assessing student learning, and can assist with local-level implementation opportunities and challenges. NILOA Coaches are available for a one-day campus visit at no cost to the host institution. Interested institutions seeking a Coach visit for Spring 2019 need to complete a NILOA Coach request form. Proposals for coach visits during the Spring of 2019 are due by October 15. Please refer to the call for additional details. Read more...


The Four Reasons Your Campus Should be Offering Prior Learning Assessment Credit
This article offers a compelling argument as to why Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) credit should be expanded into more campuses, including the fact that PLA increases graduation rates, improves time to degree, and students with PLA take 9.9 more credits than peers without access to PLA.

The Case for Assessment
Inside Higher Ed has recently published two opinion pieces on assessment. First, Will Miller offers an argument toward increasing faculty collaboration for the purpose of creating meaningful assessment approaches that allow the faculty to truly own the assessment process. Matthew DeSantis answers various questions on assessment with the purpose of demonstrating that assessment is more than rubrics and statistics

The Contamination of Student Assessment
Does giving extra credit, attendance/participation points, and deductions for negative behavior blemish the validity of tests as comparative measures of student learning? While these factors of students’ final grades have merit, they are potentially muddling what a grade represents.

The Challenge of a Universal Transcript
Central New Mexico Community College is offering students digital diplomas for educational experiences that can stack to a degree. Students can validate their various learning experiences in and out of the institution to begin to create a more universal transcript that can transfer with the student. A related article can be found in Inside Higher Ed

In The Know Episode 12: Debra Humphreys - Quality Assurance & The Future of Accreditation
In this episode of In The Know, Lumina Foundation Vice President of Strategic Engagement Debra Humphreys sits down with ACCT Vice President Jee Hang Lee, Director of Educational Services Colleen Allen, and Director of Strategic Communications David Conner to discuss quality assurance and the future of accreditation--how to ensure that students are employable when they complete college.

What Students Want Colleges to Know About How They Learn
Three current students joined EdSurge Live to discuss what they wish faculty knew about their students, and propose ways to remedy instructional gaps. Both a transcript and audio of the conversation are available.

New Issue of “Peer Review”
This new issue of AAC&U’s Peer Review key takeaways from the LEAP Challenge: Engaging in Capstones and Signature Work project consortium. The various articles focus on five themes that emerged during the project: assessment of capstones and signature work, defining capstones and signature works, curricular change and organizing signature work, student preparedness, and institutional readiness.

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is Thriving
Anne Tierney offers various examples to counter a recent article by Richard Arum disputing whether higher education sufficiently investigates university teaching. Among the examples discussed, Tierney touches upon work centered around the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and initiatives from various scholars in the field.

Upcoming Conferences and Programs

August 15. 2018 Annual Collegium on College Teaching Practice.
Edmond, OK. University of Central Oklahoma. 

August 17. Webinar- HIPs in Practice: Using Data to Answer New and Emerging Questions in the Field.
11:00 am CST. HIPs in the States Pre-conference Webinar.
**Natasha A. Jankowski, NILOA Director, will be a co-presenter in this webinar.

August 24. NILOA Logo Ideas Due
The deadline to submit an original piece to is August 24, 2018.

August 26. Webinar: AAC&U's 2018 Employer Research: Liberal Education and the Future of Work.
12:00pm CST. AAC&U.

August 26-29. EAIR 40th ANNUAL FORUM BUDAPEST 2018.
Budapest, Hungary. EAIR.

September 9-11. The Learning Organization’s 2018 Fall Institute.
Bend, OR. Central Oregon Community College.

September 12-14. 2018 Annual Assessment Conference.
Philadelphia, PA. Drexel University.
**September 12, 9:00am to 12:00pm. Natasha A. Jankowski, NILOA Director, will hold a pre-conference workshop "Moving to a Learning Systems Paradigm."
**September 13, 8:45 to 9:45 am. Jillian Kinzie, NILOA Senior Scholar, will deliver to morning plenary "Assessments' Final Frontier: Making Good on the Promise to Improve Student Learning and Success."

September 15. Proposals Due-CREA 2019 International Conference.
Chicago, IL. Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA).

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