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NILOA April 2019 Newsletter

While we are busy working on preparing for the release of the new NILOA website, this month's newsletter focuses on announcements, resources, and opportunities. We open with a publication in Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. This article is a collaborative effort with partners AALHE, AAC&U and NILOA, encouraging higher education to shift towards an assessment-for-learning-improvement mindset. Next, we highlight that applications for the 2019 Excellence in Assessment (EIA) designation are due by May 6. Furthermore, priority applications or your campus to receive a free NILOA Coach to inform your assessment efforts are due by April 18. We conclude the newsletter with an encouragement to apply for the 2019 Teaching and Learning National Institute by May 1. Finally, details on relevant assessment news and events are offered.

Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

Assessment for Student Learning and the Public Good
Monica Stitt-Bergh, Catherine M. Wehlburg, Terrel Rhodes & Natasha Jankowski

The assessment of student learning in higher education has been headed down an unproductive path for too long. Too many campuses maintain a view of learning assessment that limits its uses to gatekeeping and providing evidence to external entities such as regional accreditors. An expanded view would position assessment as a tool for equity, program understanding, and improvement of the learning system, all in service to the broader public good. AALHE, AAC&U, and NILOA realize that the magnitude of this conceptual change requires stakeholders from across higher education to come together to collectively support new faculty understandings of a learning assessment process that benefits all students. To chart a path forward, we must reflect on where we are today and how we got here. How did we lose focus on the quality of student learning? How do we shift from a compliance mindset to an assessment-for-learning-improvement mindset? Read more…

Excellence in Assessment (EIA)

The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) program is accepting applications for 2019 designees. 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 institution-level learning outcomes assessment. To date, 20 institutions have been recognized for their Excellence in Assessment. If your institution is involved in exemplary assessment practice, please review the application packet and the accompanying rubric that evaluators will use to review each application, and submit all materials by May 6, 2019. Read more...

NILOA Coaches

To advance and accelerate campus initiatives to enhance student learning, NILOA and Lumina Foundation are pleased to offer NILOA Coaches – a practical, useful resource to improve student learning and assessment processes and practices at your institution. Coaches are available for a one-day campus visit at no cost to the host institution 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 the utility and value of assessing student learning, and can assist with local-level implementation opportunities and challenges. Because they are knowledgeable about the various initiatives unfolding nationally around student learning, assignment design, assessment, and strategies for institutional change, the Coaches encourage and support institutions at various stages of implementation. Coaches are paired with the requesting institution based on interests, intended outcomes, and expertise. Institutions seeking a Coach visit for Fall 2019 are asked to complete a NILOA Coach request form by priority deadline of April 18. A sample application can be viewed here. Read more…

Teaching and Learning National Institute

The 4th Annual Using Evidence for Improvement: Teaching and Learning National Institute will take place July 28-31, hosted by the Washington Center at The Evergreen State College. The institute offers many benefits including contextualized, project-based professional learning opportunities to get better at how you use data to design change initiatives that improve the quality of student experiences, assess them, and plan subsequent steps. Experienced educators from across the country will facilitate small and large group sessions and work directly with teams as resources for the entire institute. Each team plan will focus generally on improving effective instructional practices, student engagement, and student learning and success. The specifics will vary and depend on your campus context. A draft of the proposed 2019 Institute is available online. The Institute is now accepting team applications, which are due on May 1, 2019. Read more…


Socially Just Assessment Podcast Series
Campus Labs brought together experts across the field of higher education for a podcast series that provides in-depth conversation on the many nuanced topics that fall under the umbrella of socially just assessment. In the first episode of this five-part podcast, NILOA’s own Dr. Natasha Jankowski and Erick Montenegro discuss culturally-responsive assessment.

A Professor Asked His Students to Write Their Own Exam Questions. Here’s What He Found
A professor used testing as a meaningful learning opportunity by encouraging students to use Bloom’s Taxonomy and higher-order cognitive processes to create their own test questions. Compared to a control group, these practices increased students’ average grades by 7.5 percent.

Many Professors Want to Change Their Teaching but Don’t. One University Found Out Why
The Teaching newsletter explored what might prevent faculty from changing their pedagogy even when they receive guidance and support. A survey found that the top two reasons are little time for planning and tenure/promotion guidelines that emphasize research over teaching. Another edition of Teaching states that excellent teachers are comfortable with the possibility of failure associated with pedagogical experimentation; all for the opportunity for their students to reap the benefits of success. 

Assessing Student Learning is Integral Part of Teaching
We would be remiss to cease assessing student learning just because it is hard; especially when learning is the point of education. “It is true that assessment of student learning can be time-consuming,” writes Catherine M. Wehlburg, “[but], we cannot [possibly] be appropriately teaching if we choose to not measure student learning – and measuring learning to enhance learning is the point of assessment.”

Prior Learning Assessment at Scale
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) which determines whether students hold enough knowledge around a specific topic to earn college credit – much like AP exams granting college credit – can be a lifeline for learners who have transferrable knowledge. However, to be truly impactful it would require a robust, scaled, and streamlined PLA process which is possible but does not yet exist.

Learning Science for All
In order to encourage other institutions and instructors to experiment with their teaching for the purpose of increasing students’ learning outcomes through science, Carnegie Mellon University is opening access to its teaching and learning tools. Over the next year, Carnegie Mellon will release content with guides and support to help institutions access and adapt tools.

New Edition of Assessment Update
A new edition of Assessment Update is now available! This issue features many informative pieces, including a thoughtful article by Marilee Bresciani Ludvik on “What Makes a Performance Indicator an Equity Driven, High-Performance Indicator?,” a deeper exploration on how institutional leaders can make assessment excellence a priority authored by Stephen P. Hundley, and a new NILOA Perspective by Peter O. Nwosu on “Creating Culturally Responsive Ecosystems for Learning and Assessment.”

When Grading Less Is More
Does eliminating instructor grading from courses improve student learning? Instructors engaged in ungrading – which utilizes alternative forms of assessment and involves reflection on learning as a way for students to assess themselves – believe it leads to deeper impacts on student learning and development.


Register for a NILOA Workshop
On Tuesday, May 28, NILOA will be leading a workshop at the 2019 AIR Forum on "Building a Narrative Via Evidence-Based Storytelling" from 12:30-4:00 PM. 
By pulling examples from the field and engaging with participants on how to move reporting and transparency towards effective communication, this workshop will assist participants in transitioning Institutional Research into a more central role of meaning making. Participants will leave with a refined narrative about their work. Register by April 25!

National Survey on Competency-Based Education and Approaches
American Institutes for Research is pleased to invite you to take part in the second annual national survey on postsecondary competency-based education (CBE) and competency-based approaches to teaching and learning. Consider participating and providing insights about whether and how your institution is using competency-based approaches to teaching and learning. The survey closes on April 24.

National Award for the Improvement of General Education: Exemplary Program Award
The Association for General & Liberal Studies (AGLS) is now accepting applications for their Exemplary Program Award. Each year, AGLS recognizes up to three institutions who are committed to general education improvement and reform. Consider submitting an application by June 15.

Participate in the 2019 PLA Impact Study
The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) are inviting participants in a new research study on prior learning assessment (PLA). They “are examining the relationship between PLA credit-earning and undergraduate student educational outcomes such as persistence and degree-earning.” Institutions can receive a stipend of $2,500 each for their participation.  


Upcoming Conferences and Programs

April 16. Webinar- Refining an Approach to Assessment for Learning Improvement
1:00 PM CST. Weave, James Madison University, and the Virginia Assessment Group.
**Dr. Jillian Kinzie, NILOA Senior Scholar, and Dr. Monica Stitt-Bergh, University of Hawaii at Manoa, are the presenters.

April 18. Applications Due: Request for NILOA Coach Visits.
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. 

April 18. Proposals Due: 2019 TxAHEA Conference.
San Antonio, TX. Texas Association for Higher Education Assessment Conference.

April 18. Proposals Due: 2019 ASHE Conference
Portland, OR. Association for the Study of Higher Education.

April 19. 2019 CoRAC Conference.
Pueblo, CO. Pueblo Community College.

April 19. Seminar- Almost a "Majority:" The Bologna Process Turns 20.
Champaign, IL. Higher Education Collaborative at the University of Illinois.
**Paul Gaston, NILOA Advisory Board member, will be the speaker.

April 23. Webinar- Why Assessment and Faculty Development Need Each Other: Using Evidence to Improve Student Learning
1:00 PM CST. Weave, James Madison University, and the Virginia Assessment Group.

April 26. Assessment Matters: Regional Community College Assessment Conference.
Overland Park, KS. Johnson County Community College.

April 30. Proposals Due: 2019 Southeastern Library Assessment Conference.
Atlanta, GA. Clayton State University & Georgia Tech Library.

April 30. Webinar- Integrating Academic and Student Affairs in FYE: Tuning Outcomes to Assignments and Activities
Logan, UT. Utah State University.

May 1. Applications due- 2019 Teaching and Learning National Institute.
Olympia, WA. Washington Center at the Evergreen State College. 
**NILOA Senior Scholars Dr. Pat Hutchings and Dr. Jillian Kinzie will be the plenary speakers.

May 1-3. 2019 Assessment, Teaching and Learning (ATL) Conference.
Spokane, WA. Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

May 6. Applications due- Excellence in Assessment (EIA) Designation.

May 8-10. Spring 2019 Data Summit.
Washington, DC. PESC. 
**Wednesday, May 8, 1:30-3:00PM. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will participate in the second Keynote panel "Reshaping the Ecosystem" along with Dr. Bob Sheets, Jason Tyszko, and Silvia Brunet-Jones.

May 13. Webinar- Considerations and Resources for the Learning Improvement Facilitator
11:00 AM CST. Weave, James Madison University, and the Virginia Assessment Group.
**Dr. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, and Dr. Kristen Smith, UNC Greensboro, will be the presenters.

May 14-15. 2019 Higher Education Assessment Conference.
Henniker, NH. New England College.
**Wednesday, May 15, 8:40-9:30 AM. Dr. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will deliver the keynote speech.

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