National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

Occasional Paper 28 - Tracing Assessment Practice as Reflected in Assessment Update


DQP Cover


Banta, T. W., Ewell, P. T., & Cogswell, C. A. (2016, October). Tracing assessment practice as reflected in Assessment Update. (Occasional Paper No. 28). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).



In NILOA's twenty-eighth occasional paper, authors Trudy Banta, Peter Ewell, and Cynthia Cogswell examine fifteen years of Assessment Update to uncover the themes and trends that have evolved in the field of assessment.

Paper Abstract

At some future point, when a definitive history of the assessment movement is written, one of the most frequently cited, influential publications will be Assessment Update (AU). Since 1989, this bimonthly newsletter has been published by Jossey-Bass in partnership with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). It is no coincidence that the two most frequent contributors to AU, Trudy Banta—AU’s founding editor and intellectual muse—and Peter Ewell, are also among the most prolific thinkers and writers shaping the scholarship and practice of student learning outcomes assessment. In this featured NILOA occasional paper, Banta and Ewell with the assistance of Cynthia Cogswell mine the pages of AU between 2000 through 2015 to distill the major themes and advances that characterize the evolution of assessment as a field of professional practice.

Biography of the Authors

Trudy W. Banta is a professor and vice chancellor emerita at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Dr. Banta is the recipient of several national awards for her work in outcomes assessment and has consulted with faculty and administrators in 47 states as well as given several invited addresses in other countries and organized conferences for domestic and international audiences. Dr. Banta has written or edited 20 published volumes on assessment, contributed 30 chapters to other published works, and written more than 350 articles and reports. She is the founding editor of Assessment Update, which won a national award for overall excellence in 2003 and the APEX Award for Editorial Writing in 2012.



Peter T. Ewell is president emeritus of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) and NILOA Senior Scholar. Dr. Ewell’s work focuses on assessing institutional and higher education system effectiveness and the outcomes of college, involving both research and direct consulting with institutions and state systems on collecting and using assessment information in planning, evaluation, and budgeting. He has consulted with over 375 colleges and universities and twenty-four state systems of higher education on topics related to performance indicators and the assessment of student learning as well as written commissioned papers for many agencies including the Education Commission of the States, the National Governors’ Association, the National Conference of State Legislators, and the National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education.

Cynthia A. Cogswell is a postdoctoral fellow for Assessment and Evaluation at Dartmouth College. At Dartmouth, her work focuses on assessing and evaluating campus efforts to enhance learning and classroom pedagogy. Her PhD is from Indiana University in Higher Education and Student Affairs. Through her research, Cynthia aims to enrich the national dialogue about student learning in higher education and regional accreditation in the United States. She is interested in understanding how institutions use the process of assessment to improve student learning; the relationship between institutions and accreditors; and supporting institutional improvement through regional accreditation.



Click the image above to learn more about Assessment Update.