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NILOA November 2018 Newsletter

Please join us in opening the November NILOA Newsletter with a big congratulations to Dr. Verna F. Orr, a NILOA Research Analyst, for successfully defending her dissertation earlier this month! It is only fitting that this month's newsletter starts with a new NILOA Report on "Assessment, Accountability, and Student Learning Outcomes at Historically Black Colleges and Universities" authored by Dr. Verna F. Orr, NILOA Research Analyst and CEEQA Co-Chair. 

We are also happy to publish a new Occasional Paper "Assessment 2.0: An Organic Supplement to Standard Assessment Procedure" co-authored by Eric T. Metzler and Lisa Kurz. We include a Call for Case Study Participants to showcase examples of Equity in Assessment. Together with the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), we invite you to apply by the January 15, 2019 deadline. We are also pleased to release a new addition to NILOA’s Assignment Charrette Toolkit “Clio in the Classroom: A Guide for Educators” from David Trowbridge. 

The newsletter concludes with Mississippi State University as our Featured Website, an update to the NILOA Transparency Framework in the Field, relevant News items, and information on Upcoming Conferences and Programs. 

NILOA Report

Assessment, Accountability, and Student Learning
at Historically Black Colleges
and Universities

Verna F. Orr
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

This report presents the background and subsequent founding of the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Collaboration for Excellence in Educational Quality Assurance (CEEQA), as well as the role this collaborative can play in advancing assessment in higher education. CEEQA is the first collaborative of its kind, and seeks to help address accountability measures while being true to HBCU missions and culturally relevant assessment approaches. Hence, as both internal and external accountability mandates increase, so too has the need for a strong HBCU alliance. CEEQA can offer significant resources and specific expertise to both the HBCU community and higher education community writ large. Read more...

Occasional Paper

Assessment 2.0: An Organic Supplement to
Standard Assessment Procedure

Eric T. Metzler and Lisa Kurz

The discipline of assessment has matured to the point where there is general agreement on best practices. However, the field has made little progress in developing a theoretical basis—whether for assessment in general or for more specific dimensions of assessment as they emerge. Without a generalizable theory to work from, assessment professionals remain focused on the details of practice—getting it done—instead of turning their attention to systems thinking in the service of improving, revising, growing, or otherwise developing a field that is still far from perfect. In this article, the authors bring sociological theory to bear on learning outcomes assessment in order to understand its strengths and challenges from a systems point of view. Then, using this theoretical understanding, we propose an alternative method of assessment (Assessment 2.0) designed to supplement the assessment work already being done while at the same time avoiding its most difficult challenges. Assessment 2.0 is organic because it grows naturally from the professional judgment and experience of instructors rather than from the highly structured, linear procedure commonly followed in standard assessment practice. Read more...

Equity in Assessment

Call for Case Study Participants:
Equity in Assessment

In order for assessment to meet the goals of improving student learning and authentically documenting what all students know and can do, an equitable approach to assessment is needed. To this end, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes 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?” NILOA and the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) 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. 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, review the Call for Case Study Participants and please complete the application by January 15, 2019.

Assignment Charrette Toolkit

Clio in the Classroom:
A Guide for Educators

David Trowbridge

Clio is a free website and mobile application that guides users through U.S. history – to historical and cultural sites, museums, and even tells the history that occurred right where users stand through the use of GPS, embedded data, and links to both primary sources and publications. In the classroom, Clio can be used as a tool to advance, create, and publish humanities scholarship that may be used by others using the application. Students can foster their research, refine writing, and increase their ability to evaluate data sources. This addition to the Assignment Charrette Toolkit includes a guide on how to use the application, how to create assignments, sample assignment learning outcomes, an assignment rubric, and other resources. Read more…

Featured Website

Mississippi State University’s (an Excellence in Assessment designee) Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness web page features useful resources and examples for visitors to peruse. The website features a snapshot of MSU’s assessment process including participants, procedures, and a schedule. The eight institutional learning outcomes are openly stated, along with targeted definitions to further clarify some of the language found within the outcome statements. Resources are available for outcome statement development and an example of how MSU maps their outcomes across all campus assessment plans is included. In addition, information on MSU’s Quality Enhancement Plan is outlined which details the campus’s initiative to improve undergraduate student writing. 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. Institutions may use the Framework to evaluate their online communication strategies or apply the Framework as an information organizing tool on their website. We have highlighted institutions that use the Transparency Framework, and this month we have added two new examples: Emporia State University and the University of Central Missouri. If your institution is using the Framework, we encourage you to contact us at so we can share your example. Read more…


Lumina Foundation’s Request for Information (RFI): All Learning Counts
Lumina Foundation has issued an RFI designed to solicit ideas for building the learning-based system the nation needs. Lumina is encouraging you to submit suggestions of promising practices and identify providers—including colleges and universities, employers, workforce training entities, state systems, and consortia—that are committed to incorporating all post-high school learning into transparent credential pathways for adult learners, and particularly adult learners of color.

Becoming a "Bilingual" Advocate for Your Discipline and Your Graduates
In the summer edition of AAC&U’s Liberal Education, Dan McInerney (a NILOA Coach) discusses how the divide between the academe and employment can be bridged through bilingual advocacy for liberal education. This begins by clarifying what our learning outcomes are and inviting every group on campus into the conversation.

The Need For an Open Assessment Platform in Higher Education
There are a lot of assessment platforms in higher education, but with many options come common issues when attempting to create and share assessment items efficiently, as the author expresses. One solution could be to have an open assessment platform such as Prendus which can be tailored to fit user needs, shareable, filterable, and actively assesses the quality of items available on the platform.

I'm Not a Fan of Bloom's
In her most recent blog post, Linda Suskie discusses the widespread use of Bloom’s taxonomy for writing and considering learning outcomes in higher education. Her rationale being that Bloom’s has been misused to segment the types of learning gains that can be expected from first-year courses and Bloom’s has not been updated to highlight skills needed in today’s classrooms, workforce, and society.

CALOHEE Outcomes Presented
The Measuring and Comparing Achievements of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Europe (CALOHEE) recently presented the project outcomes. The outcomes “are conceptual qualifications and assessment frameworks for five subject areas, chosen to represent significant academic domains: Engineering (Civil Engineering), Social Sciences (Teacher Education), Humanities (History), Health Care (Nursing) and Natural Sciences (Physics).”

The ‘Holy Grail’ of Class Discussion
The goals for class discussion should be more ambitious than just giving students the time to talk and share their opinions. Instead, we should be more intentional in how class discussion is used to teach difficult concepts and how other teaching tools can be incorporated (e.g., having students write and build on one another’s ideas on the board).

Turn Your Classroom Irritation Into Compassion
Instead of being frustrated about students continuously asking basic questions, about technological problems impeding students from accessing materials, or other random issues, how about we begin to address these issues from a standpoint of compassion? James Lang shares his rationale as to why the answer should always be compassion regardless of the question.

Measuring the Value of Digital Credentials (Part One): The Shared Benefits of Microcredentialing
Jonathan Lehrich, Associate Dean of Executive Education in the Questrom School of Business at Boston University, sat down for an interview with the EvoLLLution to discuss the value of digital credentials. The discussion touches upon ways to increase microcredentialing course rigor, ways to improve how digital credentials are offered, and how they help education providers meet the needs and demands of learners, professionals, and employers.

Job Announcements:

University of North Carolina at Charlotte
UNC Charlotte is seeking a Director for Assessment, Planning, and Accreditation. Please refer to the online job posting for further details. 

Upcoming Conferences and Programs

November 14-17. 2018 ASHE Annual Conference.
Tampa Bay, FL. Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE).
**Dr. Paul Lingenfelter, NILOA Senior Scholar, will present as part of a pre-conference panel “Increasing the Impact of Scholarship on Policy and Practice in Higher Education.”
**Dr. Jillian Kinzie, NILOA Senior Scholar, will present “Bringing their Perspectives to Campus: Students’ Experiences with Inclusive Courses and Diverse Environments”

November 15. Webinar: Equity and Assessment.
2:00 pm CST. National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment.
**Dr. Gianina Baker, NILOA Assistant Director, will be the presenter.

November 15. Proposals Due: 2019 Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference.
Detroit, MI. Oakland University.

November 15-16. 2018 SEDA Annual Conference.
Birmingham, UK. Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA).

November 16. Proposals Due: 2019 Transformative Learning Conference.
Oklahoma City, OK. University of Central Oklahoma.

December 8-11. 2018 SACSCOC Annual Meeting.
New Orleans, LA. SACS-Commission on Colleges.
**Dr. Jillian Kinzie, NILOA Senior Scholar, and Dr. Linda Townsend, Longwood University at Farmville, will present “Advancing the Use of Evidence to Improve: Lessons from Excellence in Assessment (EIA).”
**Dr. Jillian Kinzie, NILOA Senior Scholar, and Dr. Kate McConnell, Vice President for Research and Assessment at AAC&U, will present “VALUE, Authentic Assessment and Today’s Learning Landscape.”

December 12-14. 2018 NEASC/NECHE Annual Meeting & Conference.
Boston, MA. NEASC & NECHE.
**Dr. Gianina Baker, NILOA Assistant Director, will present “How Can Student Learning be Effectively Communicated via Evidence-Based Narratives?”

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