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National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

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Current issue: February 2015
January 2015

 

 

February 2015 Newsletter


This month's newsletter is chock full of new resources. It features an occasional paper from Clifford Adelman, To Imagine a Verb: The Language and Syntax of Learning Outcomes Statements. It also includes a viewpoint from Pat Hutchings, Jillian Kinzie, and George Kuh, an assessment in practice from Christie Cruise-Harper about Maryville University, a featured website from Ferris State University, a DQP in Practice from Oregon Institute of Technology, and a DQP case study of the American Public University System by Jillian Kinzie.

In addition, Jillian Kinzie's and Natasha Jankowski's webinar from January 29, Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education, is now available here.

Finally, the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) website welcomes users to provide feedback on its usability and resources. We'd appreciate it if you would complete the short survey and tell us how to improve the site, any resources you would like or could not find, and other comments.   

NILOA Occasional Paper 

Occasional Paper 24  
 
Clifford Adelman
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment
 
This paper, focused on syntax and semantics, provides language-centered principles, guidelines and tools for writing student learning outcome statements. While placing the verb at the center of all student learning outcomes, it distinguishes between active and operational verbs, voting for the latter on the grounds that they are more likely to lead, naturally and logically, to assignments that allow genuine judgment of student performance, and offers, as more constructive cores of student learning outcomes, 20 sets of operational verbs corresponding to cognitive activities in which students engage and faculty seek to elicit.  Read more...
 
 

Viewpoint

Evidence of Student Learning:
What Counts and What Matters for Improvement

     

Pat Hutchings, Jillian Kinzie, and George D. Kuh
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessmen

Colleges and universities today are collecting a broader range of information about student learning, yielding more and more varied kinds of evidence. Of course, evidence does not automatically translate into improvement. Assessment that is truly focused on improving students’ educational experiences means putting a premium on evidence. It also means being smart about what constitutes evidence and how to use it effectively. Improving student accomplishment depends less on the amount of information gathered and more on whether it leads to action by those in a position to use it productively.  Read more…


Assessment in Practice

Measuring Student Learning in the Co-curricular:
Developing an Assessment Plan for Student Affairs

     

Christie Cruise-Harper
Maryville University 

The Office of Student Life at Maryville University of St. Louis has adopted an assessment plan that meets department directors at their various levels of comfort with assessment while contributing to the university’s efforts to create a culture of assessment. In past efforts, the majority of the data that had been collected was program evaluation data, not assessment. Christie Cruise-Harper details the process of developing an assessment plan, findings for the department, and next steps. Included are four modules aimed at walking staff and faculty through the assessment plan. Read more…


NILOA Updates

NILOA's Featured Website

 
Ferris State University’s Student Affairs Assessment webpage provides a host of information regarding its student affairs assessment. Visitors to the webpage can view information regarding the mission of the university’s student affairs assessment efforts, links to the institution’s yearly assessment highlight reports, their assessment newsletter, and a statement about how these assessment efforts relate to the university’s accreditation.  Read more…
 


DQP Updates

DQP in Practice

 

In 2013, the Oregon Institute of Technology began working with the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) as a guide to review and strengthen Oregon Tech’s general education program to better prepare professionals and citizens for the twenty-first-century. The Task Force began by reviewing their own assessment results, which illustrated the need to make educational pathways more clear and concrete for students by revising both their general education program and Institutional Student Learning Outcomes (ISLOs) to bring them into alignment. The subcommittees now use the results of mapping exercises and the DQP to identify cumulative learning experiences for Oregon Tech’s new integrated model of general education.  Read more…

 

 

DQP Case Study

 Case Study Cover   DQP Case Study: American Public University System

Jillian Kinzie
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

American Public University System’s (APUS) first phase of DQP work began in 2012 with an initial exploration of the qualifications framework and its relationship to university system interests. APUS aimed to take advantage of the DQP in various ways (e.g. to strengthen the overall university and discipline-level curriculum and ensure that students are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed for success in work, citizenship, global participation, and life). This case study highlights insights from APUS’s initial exploration, focusing on four significant themes in that work: the institution-wide commitment to testing and implementation, the thoughtful process for working through the DQP, the development of signature assignments, and the incorporation of the DQP framework into the university system’s program review process. Read more…

 


 

News

We collect news items from a variety of sources related to learning outcomes assessment for our website. Listed below are some from the past month:

Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education
From scholars at the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education (2015), available from Jossey-Bass, presents a reframed conception and approach to student learning outcomes assessment. The authors explain why it is counterproductive to view collecting and using evidence of student accomplishment as primarily a compliance activity, and offers both a compelling rationale and practical advice for making student learning outcomes assessment more effective and efficient.

Evidence of Learning: The Case for an Integrated Competency Management System for Students, Higher Education, and Employers
Tyton Partners, formerly known as Education Growth Advisors, has issued a report outlining their “evidence of learning framework”. One of the goals of this framework is to help university leaders identify areas of friction and opportunities for student advancement through higher education and into the employment sector.

Competency-Based Education Network Adds Members
The Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN), which is funded by Lumina Foundation and allows participants to share information on their experiences with competency-based programs, has added 15 new members - 13 institutions and 2 public university systems. Among them are the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Purdue University at West Lafayette, and the University of Texas system. 

Sticking with Credit Hour
Paul Fain discusses the results of the Carnegie Carnegie Unit, a report from the Carnegie Foundation for the advancement of teaching, which considers an alternative way to measure student learning. The Carnegie Unit is based on competencies rather than the credit-hour system, and could improve learning in both high school and post-secondary education. An additional viewpoint on the Carnegie Unit can be found here.

Synthesis of “Assessment in Action” Team Projects
ACRL compiled the findings from the first year of Assessment in Action into a report noting promising and effective approaches that demonstrate the library’s value to students’ academic success. Among the findings were outcomes in student retention, persistence, GPA, and engagement.

Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success
A new study done by Hart Research Associates reveals that new college graduates often over-estimate their preparation for the work-force compared to the views of their employers. In addition, the study reveals key findings on the type of learning/skills acquisition that employers prefer and the areas they prioritize when evaluating new hires. Articles on this report can also be found in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.

Researching Students: What Research Says About Effective Instruction in Undergraduate Science and Engineering
"Research about how students learn shows that teaching strategies that motivate and engage students will improve their learning. So how do students best learn science and engineering? Which teaching strategies are most effective in developing their knowledge and skills? And how can practitioners apply these strategies to their own courses or suggest new approaches within their departments or institutions? Reaching Students strives to answer these questions."

To Help Low-Income College Students Graduate, Show Them the Value of What They're Learning
Mildred Garcia, President of California State University at Fullerton, believes that the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) can help narrow the achievement gap. The DQP can serve as a roadmap for students allowing them to clearly see what is expected of them, realize the skills they have acquired, and communicate to employers what they are able to do.


Upcoming Conferences and Programs

Here are conferences and workshops on learning outcomes assessment coming up in the next month:

February 18: Accepting Applications for ACRL’s Third Year of “Assessment in Action"
Due by March 4, 2015.  The Association of College and Research Libraries
 
February 19-21: AAC&U 2015 General Education and Assessment Network for Academic Renewal Conference
Kansa City, MO.  Association of American Colleges and Universities
*February 19, 2:00-5:00pm. Mel Wininger, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and Susan Albertine, AAC&U, will hold a pre-conference workshop Using the Degree Qualifications Profile and Dynamic Criteria Mapping to Help Build a Community of Practice for Assessment and Learning
 
February 22-24: 15th Annual Texas A&M Assessment Conference
College Station, TX.  Texas A&M University
*February 22, 9:30am-12:30pm. David Marshall, California State University, and Paul Gaston, Kent State University, will hold a pre-conference workshop DQP/Tuning and Assessment: Best of Kin
 
February 22-24: Community College Conference on Learning Assessment
Orlando, FL.  Valencia College

*February 23, 10:30am-11:45am. Erika Hackman, Parkland College, and Natasha Jankowski, NILOA, will present Reimaging Faculty Engagement with Assessment: An Emergent Framework
*February 23, 3:15pm-4:30pm. Natasha Jankowski and Laura Giffin from NILOA will present Landscape of Assessment in Community Colleges: National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) Survey Results

February 25-28: 2015 EERA Annual Conference
Sarasota, FL.  Eastern Educational Research Association
*February 26, 4:15-5:15pm. Sharon Valente will partake in a Symposia, Practical Tools on How to Use the DQP/Tuning Process   

March 7-8: 2015 ACPA Annual Convention
Tampa, FL.  American College Personnel Association
*March 6, 9:30am-10:30am. Jillian Kinzie, University of Indiana Bloomington, will present Student Engagement and the Updated NSSE: Exploring Leadership, Learning Support, and Persistence
*March 7, 3:30-4:30pm. George Kuh and Jillian Kinzie will present a HED type talk, Degree Qualifications Profile: Impact on Higher Education Assessment
 

 

January 2015 Newsletter

This month, NILOA is pleased to present a Viewpoint from Stan Ikenberry and George Kuh about Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education, a new book from NILOA staff and senior scholars. 

In addition, we feature an Assessment in Practice by Keri Nunn-Ellison, Larraine Kapka, Jackie Myers, Heidi McGrew, Janeil Bernheisel, and Jared Cutler about the Curriculum & Assessment (C&A) Track at Sinclair Community College.

 


Viewpoint

Using Evidence to Make a Difference

     

Stanley O. Ikenberry and George D. Kuh
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

Gathering performance data is certainly a worthwhile activity, but what ultimately matters most is using the evidence. The capacity of American colleges and universities to assess student learning outcomes has expanded significantly over the last two decades. During the same period, however, the actual use of assessment results to improve student success and institutional performance lagged. External demands for accountability stimulated more assessment activity, but they also inadvertently nurtured a culture of compliance. The process of assessment became a prime marker of “compliance.” Simply doing assessment was seen as sufficient. If assessment is to be consequential to the future of American higher education, assessment practice must be driven by genuine needs and challenges faced by campuses and the students they serve. Read more…


 Assessment in Practice

Practice What You Preach!

     

Keri Nunn-Ellison, Larraine Kapka, Jackie Myers, Heidi McGrew, Janeil Bernheisel, and Jared Cutler
Sinclair Community College 

The Curriculum & Assessment (C&A) Track at Sinclair Community College is a six-session track collaborative effort between the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and the Divisional Assessment Coordinators (DAC) led by the Assistant Provost for Accreditation and Assessment. The DACs, who are faculty representing each college division, provide cross-discipline expertise in best practices in curriculum and assessment. The result was a professional development offering created for faculty, by faculty assessment experts in the college. Read more…

NILOA Updates

NILOA's Featured Website

 
University of Connecticut’s Assessment website provides various assessment resources that encourage and support meaningful assessment efforts. Visitors to the site are provided links regarding why assessment is important, what assessments are, and the relationship between assessments and accreditation. The website also provides information about the components of conducting assessments, the steps for conducting assessments, and how to actually do assessments. Read more…
 

 


 

News

We collect news items from a variety of sources related to learning outcomes assessment for our website. Listed below are some from the past month:

Quality Collaborative to Assess Quantitative Reasoning: Adapting the LEAP VALUE Rubric and the DQP 
Quantitative literacy has been incrementally regarded as a necessary requirement for college graduates, and the DQP and LEAP have included measurements for this, as well. Fitchburg State University (FSU) and Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) worked together to evaluate their rubrics of quantitative reasoning- and three other areas- and compare it with those of the DQP and LEAP. The aim is to develop common rubrics to measure what students know and should do, which in turn should work towards setting common expectations for transfer students.

To Help Low-Income College Students Graduate, Show Them the Value of What They’re Learning
Mildred Garcia, President of California State University at Fullerton, believes that the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) can help narrow the achievement gap. The DQP can serve as a roadmap for students allowing them to clearly see what is expected of them, realize the skills they have acquired, and communicate to employers what they are able to do.

Interested in Third Year of “Assessment in Action"?
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is seeking applications for teams from all types of higher education institutions to participate in the third year of the ACRL program “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success” (AiA). The 14-month program examines the impact of the library on student success and contributes to assessment activities on campus.

What About Learning?
The authors argue that higher education must do a better job at assessing and improving learning, and AAC&U’s VALUE approach can be an essential tool. VALUE utilizes rubrics, developed by faculty members, to measure student learning. The VALUE rubrics are regarded as a “high-impact practice” and could reduce the achievement gap in higher education.

Educating Minds Online
James Lang writes about his interview with Michelle Miller, Co-Director of Northern Arizona University's first-year learning program, and her new book, Minds Online: Teaching Effectively With Technology. The various ways that technology can help in pedagogy and learning to increase student motivation and engagement, as well as issues with online programs, are discussed.

The Role of Assessment Instruments in a Competency-Based System 
Fundamental beliefs about assessment must change in order for assessment to be effectively and efficiently conducted. A part of this change has to do with assessment instruments, such as rubrics, which are often misused to measure and communicate superficial aspects of student learning. Instead, instruments must be used to explicitly state what the instructor values and expects students to learn; which in the end will be the basis for a final grade.

Available Faculty Position in Assessment and Measurement at James Madison University
The full-time position at the Center for Assessment and Research Studies (CARS) and the Department of Graduate Psychology at James Madison University seeks someone to contribute to campus assessment activities and the Assessment and Measurement PhD program. Candidates can apply using the post number 0406394.


Upcoming Conferences and Programs

Here are conferences and workshops on learning outcomes assessment coming up in the next month:

January 16: Call for Proposals- 2015 AALHE Annual Conference
Lexington, KY. Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education.


January 20-22: 2015 HETL Utah Conference
Orem, UT.  International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association. 

January 21-24: AAC&U 2015 Annual Meeting: 100th Anniversary
Washington, DC.  Association of American Colleges and Universities.
*Degree Qualifications Profile and Tuning USA: Partners in Advancing Student Learning, Natasha Jankowski, George Kuh, David Marshall, and Pat Hutchings; 10:30-11:45
m.

January 24: Global Digital Positioning Systems: E-Portfolios in a Digital Age
Washington, DC.  Association of American Colleges and Universities.


January 29: Webinar: Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education
1:00-2:00pm CST.  Jillian Kinzie and Natasha Jankowski from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment.   

February 13: Call for Applications: 2015 AAC&U's Institute on General Education and Assessment
Edmond, OK.  University of Central Oklahoma.  

February 19-21: AAC&U 2015 General Education and Assessment Network for Academic Renewal Conference
Kansas City, MO.  Association of American Colleges and Universities.   

  


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NILOA can be the connective tissue that links together and advances the work of various groups and organizations interested in using student learning outcomes to improve higher education.

George Mehaffy

George L. Mehaffy
Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)