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A Year-End Note from the NILOA Team


Dear Colleague:

 Thank you for your interest in NILOA’s efforts to advance practice in student learning outcomes assessment. During the past year, we released three occasional papers, two reports, and five examples of good assessment practice.  These new resources address such topics as the evaluation of the student learning outcomes pilot of the Voluntary System of Accountability, debate about the utility of standardized assessments of learning outcomes in higher education, an analysis of the stages of assessment, and the role of libraries in assessing student learning. We also worked in partnership with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) to examine assessment processes and practices within large, complex research universities.

You can get copies of NILOA’s reports and products from our website, a continually updated resource that attracted more than 65,000 views in 2012. In addition, NILOA personnel made presentations at various national and regional meetings. We hope that you’ve found our work useful.

Earlier this year, NILOA contracted with Lumina Foundation for Education for a multiple-year study of the implementation of the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) across the nation.  In January, 2013, we will release our first DQP-related occasional paper written by one of the DQP authors, Peter Ewell, with an afterword by another DQP author, Carol Schneider.  We redesigned portions of the NILOA website to include an extensive resource library and an entire section devoted to the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP). The DQP is a framework that illustrates what students should be expected to know and be able to do after earning an associate, bachelor, or master’s degree, regardless of major or specialization. It encompasses five areas of learning including applied learning, intellectual skills, specialized knowledge, broad knowledge, and civic learning – domains to be assessed throughout the course of a student’s educational experience.

We’re excited to announce that Pat Hutchings, a pioneer in the assessment movement, has joined the NILOA team as a senior scholar to help with the DQP work and other activities.  Pat’s assessment-related work at Alverno College, the American Association for Higher Education, and most recently the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching brings to the NILOA team unparalleled wisdom and experience.  Tim Cain, assistant professor at the University of Illinois who also serves as co-director of the Ethnography of the University Initiatives and Associate Editor of the History of Education Quarterly, has also joined NILOA as Senior Scholar. Finally, we’ve been fortunate to appoint three new, highly-able Research Analysts, including Robert Dumas, Paul Myers, and T. Jameson Brewer.

            Looking ahead to the coming year, we invite you to stay connected with us. We plan to release new occasional papers along with more examples of good assessment practices. Early in 2013, we will conduct our second national survey of chief academic officers. We also intend to update the Transparency Framework and continue conversations with people doing the work at the ground level, institutional leaders, and policy makers. 

                On behalf of the entire NILOA team, we wish you a joyous holiday season and a healthy, productive 2013!


George Kuh, Stan Ikenberry, and Natasha Jankowski



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