National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

Occasional Paper 36 - Assessment 2.0: An Organic Supplement to Standard Assessment Procedure



Metzler, E. T., & Kurz, L. (2018, November). Assessment 2.0: An organic supplement to standard assessment procedure. (Occasional Paper 36). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

Paper Abstract

The discipline of assessment has matured to the point where there is general agreement on best practices. However, the field has made little progress in developing a theoretical basis — whether for assessment in general or for more specific dimensions of assessment as they emerge. Without a generalizable theory to work from, assessment professionals remain focused on the details of practice — getting it done — instead of turning their attention to systems thinking in the service of improving, revising, growing, or otherwise developing a field that is still far from perfect. In this article, the authors bring sociological theory to bear on learning outcomes assessment in order to understand its strengths and challenges from a systems point of view. Then, using this theoretical understanding, we propose an alternative method of assessment (Assessment 2.0) designed to supplement the assessment work already being done while at the same time avoiding its most difficult challenges. Assessment 2.0 is organic because it grows naturally from the professional judgment and experience of instructors rather than from the highly structured, linear procedure commonly followed in standard assessment practice.


Biography of the Authors

Eric T. Metzler is the Instructional Support and Assessment Specialist at the Kelley School of Business, Bloomington and Indianapolis.  He oversees learning outcomes assessment for each of the Kelley School’s degree-granting programs and assists business faculty in achieving and maintaining a national reputation for teaching excellence.  He regularly teaches an interdisciplinary seminar, “Perspectives on American Consumerism,” to college seniors and has also taught graduate courses on outcomes assessment at the department or program level.

In his role as instructional consultant, Eric works confidentially with business faculty who wish to improve, refine, or otherwise perfect their teaching performance.  As assessment specialist, Eric helps instructors, departments, programs, centers and institutes to articulate specific and measurable learning goals and outcomes and to identify innovative and workable ways to measure them.  He also works with the programs’ decision-making bodies, guiding the interpretation of assessment data, always with the ultimate goal in mind of using the data to improve student learning or the student experience.

Eric has consulted and delivered workshops about active learning and other post-secondary pedagogical strategies, curriculum mapping, and assessment of student learning outcomes both in the U.S. and abroad in Iraq, South Africa and Jamaica.  He specializes in making the work of assessment meaningful and useful to all involved in it.


Lisa Kurz is a Principal Instructional Consultant at the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) at Indiana University Bloomington. She provides instructional support for faculty across the University as they work to incorporate best practices in their teaching, implement innovative teaching strategies, and document their teaching practices for promotion or tenure. She provides workshops in a variety of topics, including a multi-day Course Development Institute that has led hundreds of IUB faculty through a backward design process to create or revise a course to ensure that the course’s goals and learning outcomes are aligned with assessments and learning activities.

As the assessment specialist in CITL, Lisa also works with departments and programs from a wide range of schools and colleges within the University, including the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the School of Public Health, and the Maurer School of Law, to help them articulate measurable goals and student learning outcomes for their students’ learning. She has also led a series of workshops for 50 departments in the University’s College of Arts and Sciences to help them write goals and learning outcomes, map their curricula, and develop assessment plans for their undergraduate majors, minors, and certificate programs. Before joining the CITL, Lisa conducted institutional research at IUB, and served as the director of the university’s writing center, Writing Tutorial Services.






Additional Resources:


Jankowski, N. A., & Marshall, D. W. (2017). Degrees that matter: Moving higher education to a learning systems paradigm. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing



Hutchings, P. (2010, April). Opening doors to faculty involvement in assessment. (NILOA Occasional Paper No. 4). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment.


Cain, T. R. (2014, November). Assessment and academic freedom: In concert, not conflict. (Occasional Paper No. 22). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment.