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NILOA December 2018 Newsletter

Happy holidays! As the year comes to an end and we are wrapped in this holiday spirit, we at NILOA would like to share a warm message to you and yours for a prosperous end to 2018 and a productive 2019. We invite you to please take a moment to read our 2018 Year-End Note reflecting on NILOA’s activities over the past 12 months, as well.

Of special interest in this year’s final newsletter are two calls for applications. First, NILOA, the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) invite you to apply for the 2019 Excellence in Assessment (EIA) designation. Second, NILOA and the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) are inviting institutions that are engaged in equitable assessment efforts to apply to participate in a Case Study on Equity in Assessment by the January 15, 2019 deadline.

In addition, this newsletter features a new Occasional Paper “Towards a Model for Assessment in an Information and Technology-rich 21st Century Learning Environment” by Johannes Cronjé, a new voice in the equity conversation from Ruth Williams in “Culturally Responsive Assessment: What to Tackle First,” a new Assessment in Practice “Hands on with Digital Communication!” from Jaime Riccio, Poppy Slocum & Patricia Sokolski, and a Featured Website from the University of California Riverside. The newsletter concludes with an example of the Transparency Framework in the field from the University of Kentucky, relevant news items, and information on Upcoming Conferences and Programs.

Occasional Paper

Towards a Model for Assessment in an Information and
21st Century Learning Environment

Johannes Cronjé
Cape Peninsula University of Technology

The question driving this paper is: “What should we assess if learners can Google the answers on their mobile devices?” If Learning is defined as being able to do something afterwards that you could not do before, the problem is that technology now enables us to do many things which we were not able to do before, by simply using an app such as a GPS or Google translate. Nevertheless, the actual learning is hard to define. The person with the best technology and who can use it might fare best. It is not just the individual learners that learn, it is the whole system, including the devices used, and the cloud to which the device are connected. The constraint has shifted from our ability to provide learners with information to learners’ ability to process and use information. This paper argues that the locus of learning has shifted from the learner to the rhizome. Shifting the emphasis from evaluating learners’ collection of knowledge to evaluating their connection to the system. Read more...

Excellence in Assessment (EIA)

The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) program is now accepting applications for the 2019 designee class! Building on the foundation of reporting both student learning outcomes assessment results and processes established in the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), EIA recognizes institutions for their efforts in intentional integration of campus-level learning outcomes assessment. Over the past three years, we have recognized 20 institutions for their Excellence in Assessment. If your institution is involved in exemplary assessment practice, then please review the application packet and the accompanying rubric that evaluators will use to assess the merit of each application, and submit all materials by May 6, 2019. 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, 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.


Culturally Responsive Assessment:
What to Tackle First

Ruth Williams
Oakton Community College

When institutions commit to equity work, Montenegro and Jankowski (2017) note that this work should also be reflected in culturally responsive assessment. Oakton Community College’s new mission, values, and strategic plan, are founded in Success Matters and we are approaching the fulfillment of our mission, vision, and strategic commitments with an equity-minded focus. Oakton’s Program for Assessment and Learning (OPAL) team is working with curricular programs to pilot student learning outcomes assessment data disaggregation in transfer and career and technical education courses. The OPAL team also addresses any concerns that faculty may not have the knowledge to develop action plans that could address the unveiled student learning outcomes gaps through professional development. To achieve educational equity for all students, faculty, staff and administrators will need to be engaged in professional development to recognize and address assumptions and biases when analyzing disaggregated student outcomes data and to identify and implement strategies in learning experiences that will positively impact the learning of all students. Read more…

Assessment in Practice

Hands on with Digital Communication!

Jaime Riccio, Poppy Slocum & Patricia Sokolski
LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

Good assessment practice is critical to the learning experience of both faculty and students. Good digital assessment practice is even more important, given the rapid rise of social media tools and other instructional technologies in the classroom. Since a digital communication ability was incorporated into the assessment plan at LaGuardia Community College in 2013, faculty in the Communication Studies program have worked to create assignments that enable students to adequately showcase their digital communication ability. Outlined in this Assessment in Practice are the challenges and successes faced in employing wikis to develop and assess students’ competence in digital communication. Read more...

Featured Website

The University of California Riverside’s Office of Evaluation and Assessment web page is NILOA’s Featured Website for December 2018. The website offers straight forward and useful information on assessment beginning with its mission: “to facilitate a culture of data-driven decision making and continuous educational improvement.” The institution’s assessment handbook allows visitors to interactively find information on the various aspects of good assessment practice including learning outcomes statements, aligning learning opportunities with desired outcomes, data analysis, and ultimately using and sharing assessment results. Undergraduate-level learning outcomes are available for each academic program and for the overall institution. There are numerous resources available for use, as well, to help with planning departmental assessment efforts, briefs on ePortfolios, and rubrics. 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 a new example from the University of Kentucky. If your institution is using the Framework, we encourage you to contact us at so we can share your example. Read more…


Fertile Ground: The Movement to Build More Effective Assignments
Intentionally designing and using classroom assignments that align with desired student learning outcomes can better support student success, encourage curricular improvement, and inform pedagogy. Authors Pat Hutchings, Natasha Jankowski, and Gianina Baker provide insights on emerging work on assignment design. 

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.

Defining Student Success Data: Recommendations for Changing the Conversation
What exactly does student success mean for today’s learners and how does this changing definition impact institutional initiatives focused around completion? This report from the Higher Learning Commission sets forth the seeds of a possible framework with students at the center aimed at starting a conversation around student success with today’s students in mind.

Assessment Update
The final 2018 issue of Assessment Update is available now! Included in the issue is a NILOA Perspective "Handcuffs of Our Own Making: The Reduction of Assessment" authored by Dr. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA director.

Developing Assessments for Learning That Leads to Equity
Shifting the focus of assessment from one that aims to segment and compare students towards one that aims to support deeper learning can have equitable returns, argues Ann Jaquith, the associate director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE).

Improving Teaching Through Reflection
Through reflection, experiences can transform into knowledge which can inform practice. Being a reflective educator can not only help to inform pedagogical improvements, but it might be an important element of good teaching.

What College Professors Should Know About Learning Science
Sanjay Sarma, vice president for open learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), sat down for an interview with EdSurge to discuss how to put learning science into practice on college campuses.

5 Teaching Tips From ‘How Humans Learn’
A new book How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories Behind Effective College Teaching offers educators numerous tips on how to reframe and approach course topics to better engage learners. Included among these tips are ways to effectively use group work and emphasize feedback over grades.

Building Experience into the Curriculum So Students Learn How to Learn
David Hollander, assistant dean of Real World in the School of Professional Studies at New York University, discusses why colleges and universities need to better prepare students to be lifelong learners. Simply equipping students with specific skills might not be enough to ensure their long-term success in a work environment that rapidly changes.

Mapping the Wild West of Pre-Hire Assessment: A Landscape View of the Uncharted Technology-Facilitated Ecosystem
This report explores how pre-employment assessment is changing, and will continue to change, in the U.S. There are skills gaps between employers’ needs and employees’ capabilities along with differing pathways from education to the workforce further complicating the ecosystem. Discussion is given to emerging trends, useful platforms, potential barriers, and opportunities to build upon this work.

Upcoming Conferences and Programs

December 19. Webinar: The Essential Role of Assessment in Competency-Based Education.
3:00 pm CST. AALHE.

December 28. Proposals Due: 2019 ANNY Annual Conference.
Saratoga Springs, NY. Assessment Network of New York. 

January 3-6. 2019 AHA Annual Meeting.
Chicago, IL. American Historical Association.
**Friday, January 4, 3:30 to 5:00 pm: James Grossman, Daniel J. McInerney, Robert Wagenaar, Satoko Fukahori, and Ikko Tanaka will participate in "The State of Tuning around the Globe: A Roundtable Discussion."
**Friday, January 4, 3:30 to 5:00 pm: Daniel J. McInerney, Debra Humphreys, Anne Hyde, Norman L. Jones, and Nancy Quam-Wickham will participate in a roundtable discussion "Tuning at Ten: Lessons We've Learned in the AHA."

January 10-11.University of Hawai'i Workshops.
University of Hawai'i, West O'ahu.
**Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will lead a series of workshops. 

January 23-26. AAC&U's 2019 Annual Meeting.
Atlanta, GA. Association of American Colleges and Universities. 
**Thursday, January 24, 10:30 to 11:45 am: Paul Gaston, Amber Garrison Duncan, Natasha Jankowski, and Melanie Booth will present "Stations to Student Success: Navigating New Routes in Higher Education."
**Thursday, January 24, 10:30 to 11:45 am: Kristen Hodge-Clark, John Ottenhoff, Mary Hinton, Kevin Reilly, and Peter Ewell will discuss "High Stakes: Engaging Trustees as Guardians of Educational Value."
**Thursday, January 24, 2:45 to 4:00 pm: George Kuh, Pat Hutchings, Chantal Levesque-Bristol, Pamala Morris, and Benjamin C. Wiles will present "Taking Student-Centered Pedagogy to Scale: How One University Has Done It (and You Can, Too!)."
**Thursday, January 24, 2:45 to 4:00 pm:
Claire Jacobson, Natasha Jankowski, and Ashley Finley, will present "Creating a Virtuous Cycle of Quality, Assessment and Equity in High-Impact Practices."
**Thursday, January 24, 4:15 to 5:15 pm:
Pat Hutchings, Jillian Kinzie, Mary Deane Sorcinelli, and Kathleen Landy will present "Better Together: How Faculty Development and Assessment Leaders Can Collaborate to Achieve Shared Goals for Student Learning."
**Friday, January 25, 8:45 to 10:00 am: Natasha Jankowski, Jillian Kinzie, George Kuh, and Gianina Baker will present "Communicating the Value of Higher Education through Evidence-Based Storytelling."
**Friday, January 25, 10:30 to 11:45 am:
Natasha Jankowski and Jason Tyszko will present "Reimagining Employer Relations as an Ally of Higher Education."
**Friday, January 25, 1:30 to 2:30 pm: Mary-Ann Winkelmes and Pat Hutchings will present "How We Can Do a Better Job of Communicating Higher Education’s Critical Importance to Students and Society Today."
**Saturday, January 26, 7:30 to 9:00 am: Gianina Baker, Denise Nadasen, and Ashley Finley will hold a roundtable discussion on "Using the Excellence in Assessment Designation to Communicate the Value of Higher Education Reflecting on Good Assessment Practice."

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