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NILOA July 2019 Newsletter

While we are busy working towards the release of the new NILOA website, this month's newsletter focuses on announcements, resources, and opportunities for involvement. First we are pleased to release a Viewpoint on assessment professional identity that builds upon a recent article in Research & Practice in Assessment. We then share a publication from Lumina Foundation "Learning Frameworks: Tools for Building a Better Educational Experience" authored by Nan L. Travers (NILOA Senior Scholar), Natasha Jankowski (NILOA Director), Deborah J. Bushway, and Amber Garrison Duncan.

Next, we take a moment to appreciate the hard work of the HBCU Collaboration for Excellence in Educational Quality Assurance (CEEQA) which held a successful Summer Convening. We also invite you read the CEEQA report and email us if you would like to learn more and/or be involved with CEEQA.

Finally, the newsletter concludes with useful information on relevant News items and Upcoming Conferences and Programs.


Strengths-based Assessment Practice:
Constructing Our Professional Identities through Reflection

Gina B. Polychronopoulos, Christopher Newport University 
Emilie Clucas Leaderman, Santa Clara University

Given the notably diverse professional backgrounds of assessment practitioners, the authors posit: what are the implications of this diversity? How might assessment practitioner backgrounds inform the ways we individually and collectively approach assessment work? Assessment professionals wear multiple hats at their institutions; the strengths they bring to their work may be as unique as the individuals themselves. Assessment practitioners need opportunitities to reflect upon their professional backgrounds and tell their own stories. One way to do this is through the RARE Model, a strengths-based framework which outlines strategies to build collaborative, inclusive, and participatory relationships with faculty and staff. The authors also share a few exercises that may help assessment practitioners reflect upon their individual strengths and articulate their perspectives on professional identity. Read more...

Learning Frameworks

Learning Frameworks:
Tools for Building a Better Educational Experience

Nan L. Travers, Natasha Jankowski, Deborah J. Bushway, & Amber Garrison Duncan

Learning frameworks define what learners know and can do by facilitating how knowledge can be applied in different contexts. But how exactly can learning frameworks bring disparate pieces of the learning ecosystem together for greater portability and documentation of learning in all the places it unfolds? Why do learning frameworks matter? This paper from Lumina Foundation outlines the roles that learning frameworks play in the emerging ecosystem of connected learning. The authors conclude with a focus on technological innovations as a source of future directions for learning frameworks connectivity. Read more…

Get Involved with HBCU CEEQA

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Collaboration for Excellence in Educational Quality Assurance (CEEQA)

The HBCU Collaboration for Excellence in Educational Quality Assurance (CEEQA) met for their 2nd Annual Summer Convening in Atlanta, GA. There were 31 institutions represented – a three-fold increase over last year’s inaugural convening that outlined the mission, vision, and path forward for CEEQA. We would like to take a moment to thank all of you who attended ready to engage and lend your expertise to answer some pressing questions impacting the HBCU community and higher education assessment overall. We are proud to be a part of CEEQA and this important work. If you would like to learn more about CEEQA and/or about ways to get involved, CEEQA members will have various sessions at the 2019 Assessment Institute or you may contact Dr. Verna Orr: vorr2@illinois.edu. Read more…


Grades Can Hinder Learning. What Should Professors Use Instead?
Research tells us that grading does very little to help students improve, it does not accurately measure student learning, and it can actually have negative impacts on student motivation. As a result Susan Blum, from the University of Notre Dame, no longer uses grades in her courses and instead incorporates timely and continuous feedback, student self-reflections to focus on learning.

How Professors Can Bring Culturally-Responsive Teaching to Online Courses
Julia Parra, an assistant professor at New Mexico State, has made her classroom more inclusive and culturally-responsive by offering students the opportunity to co-design the course learning goals, and providing choice in the types of assignments used to demonstrate comprehension of a particular concept.

Guest Post: Reclaiming Assessment's Promise
Echoing sentiments that many have previously shared in the shift to move assessment beyond compliance towards a focus on improvement, author David Eubanks expresses the long-championed need to move from poor methods of assessment towards those that leverage institutional context, faculty expertise, and student work.

Transforming the Transcript
Comprehensive Learner Records can help learners better understand and communicate to employers the skills they have developed both inside and outside of the classroom; furthering their competitiveness in the job market.

Capturing All Learning, and Documenting It, Too
In a time where stakeholders question how well higher education prepares learners to succeed post-graduation, a comprehensive learner record (CLR) can be a useful tool to leverage. CLR captures student experiences throughout college, details learning outcomes and skills that have been developed over time, and helps meet both student and employer needs by involving their input in the process.

How Test Review Can Improve Students’ Study Habits
To encourage metacognition in their students, three professors implement exam reviews in their courses. Knowing that students often need to develop their study skills, part of the review offers the time to reflect on students’ study habits and ways to improve them. In addition, students are asked about ways the instructor can improve or alter their teaching.

Save the Degree from Irrelevance: Rethinking On-Ramps to Higher Education
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) allows students the opportunity to earn college credit for demonstrated their knowledge in specific areas. PLA can have significant implications for recruitment of adult learners with work and perhaps prior college experience, and for retention and completion by reducing cost and time-to-degree.

'Small Teaching Online'
In this interview with Inside Higher Ed, Flower Darby from Northern Arizona University discusses useful tips to take effective teaching and learning practices into the online setting. For example, ensuring there are numerous points of interaction between instructor and learners, and making incremental changes to pedagogy over time to garner greater learning gains.

Six Steps to Making Credit for Prior Learning a Reality
Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) offers college credit for past college-level learning experiences which can promote degree completion. In order for CPL to work well at institutions and overcome obstacles, there must be ample planning prior to implementation that includes support from administration, faculty, and staff that involves professional development. A robust program infrastructure with quality checks, established procedures, marketing plans, and a viable business model are also essential elements.

Why Can’t Students Recognise Transferable Skills?
By making the connections clear for students between course assignments, learning outcomes, and the transferable skills the assignments foster, we can help students to further engage and be able to identify how the skills they acquire can be applied in other contexts. Tanya Martini discusses how facilitating these connections can require additional time and dedication from faculty, but it is well worth it. 


New Issue of Research & Practice in Assessment
The Summer 2019 issue of Research & Practice in Assessment is now available! It features various useful articles including “Humanizing the Assessment Process: How the RARE Model Informs Best Practices” co-authored by Emilie Clucas Leaderman and Gina B. Polychronopoulos, and “‘From the Mouths of Babes’: Using a Charrette Model to Assess Student Learning and Engage External Stakeholders” co-authored by Laura C. Hart and Christine Robinson.

New Issue of Change
A new issue of Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning is now available. The issue features articles including “Creating Value” by Penny MacCormack, Kevin P. Reilly, and David G. Brailow, and “Faculty Leadership and Institutional Resilience: Indicators, Promising Practices, and Key Questions” by Brian Norman.

Lumina State Quality Assurance Grant Fund
Lumina Foundation is now accepting applications through September 25, 2019 for “Enhancing the State Role in Quality Assurance.” This grant intends to mobilize state leadership towards building a post-secondary system of learning that meets the country’s need for more citizens with advanced quality credentials. The grant stems from a recent SHEEO and NASH report “Quality Assurance and Improvement in Higher Education: The Role of the States.”

U.S. Chamber Foundation Leads Modernization of Data Standard for Jobs
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is inviting feedback on the JDX JobSchema+, which aims to evolve existing data standards for job postings in order to better meet current and future hiring needs. Of special attention are the language used for communicating desired competencies, credentials, and experience, as well as better defining job characteristics such as term, schedule, and location. You can offer your feedback through this online form.

Call for SNAAP Research Fellows
"The Board of Directors of Arts & Design Alumni Research (SNAAP) invites proposals from scholars and researchers to develop and conduct new research using the quantitative items in the SNAAP database of arts alumni. SNAAP wants to build a broad community of researchers and scholars who draw on the rich SNAAP database to inform their work on the creative economy and the value of an arts education." 

Upcoming Conferences and Programs

July 21-24. SACS 2019 Institute on Quality Enhancement and Accreditation.
Dallas, TX. SACS Commission on Colleges.
**Monday, July 22 from 10:00 to 11:30am. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will present "Communicating Our Work Through Evidence-Based Storytelling." The session will be repeated again at 3:00pm.

July 22. Proposals Due: 2020 AAC&U Annual Meeting.
Washington, DC. Association of American Colleges & Universities.

July 31. Proposals Due: Virginia Assessment Group Conference 2019.
Richmond, VA. Virginia Assessment Group.

August 5-9. SHEEO 2019 Higher Education Policy Conference.
Boston, MA. State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.
**Thursday, August 8 from 2:00 to 3:00pm. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, Scott Jenkins, Lumina Foundation, David Tandberg, SHEEO, and Nan Travers, NILOA Senior Scholar, will present "The Role of State Agencies in the Recognition of Learning: Current and Future Considerations."

August 13. Proposals Due: Twenty-seventh International Conference on Learning.
Valencia, Spain. University of Valencia.

August 15. Webinar: Assessment Success Strategies for Community Colleges.
1:00 – 2:00pm CST. Watermark.
**Dr. Natasha Jankowski, NILOA Director, will moderate this webinar which features speakers Jill Millard, South Piedmont Community College, Jacob Ashby, Frederick Community College, and Kathy Adair, Bay Mills Community College.

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