National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

NILOA In the Field

Select NILOA news reports listed below. For additional NILOA Newsletters, please see the NILOA Newsletters.


May 2017

In May, NILOA held its annual National Advisory Panel Meeting, and NILOA staff participated in a Pathways for Adult Success (PAS) planning meeting, the 2017 Assessment, Teaching & Learning Conference, the Annual Teaching Excellence Conference in Toronto, the Learning System Network Convening, and the Association for Institutional Research 2017 Forum.

“Pathways for Adult Success (PAS): A Next Generation of Indicator and Response Systems” planning meeting in Baltimore hosted by Johns Hopkins University and sponsored by Gates Foundation took place on May 2-3 and was attended by NILOA Senior Scholar Dr. George Kuh. PAS is a multi-year initiative intended to assist schools, their systems and communities to enable all youth, regardless of their needs, circumstances, place of residence and prior experiences, to obtain the competencies needed to persist and complete secondary schooling and a post-secondary pathway that leads to a family-supporting wage and adult success. Dr. Kuh’s presentation, “Student Engagement: A Key to Student Success,” was one of two framing perspectives to guide action-oriented discussion by the participants from K-12 schools, community agencies, and postsecondary institutions.

The 2017 Assessment, Teaching & Learning Conference, May 3-5, brought together teams from campuses across the state and beyond. The event was sponsored by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Participants explored a wide range of issues as they shared their efforts (and challenges) in support of students. NILOA Senior Scholar, Dr. Pat Hutchings, presented a plenary session entitled “Building a Culture of Teaching and Learning”, looking at a variety of strategies for doing so, including, and especially, the assessment of student learning outcomes. “My aim was to position assessment not as a compliance or reporting activity but as an essential ingredient in the teaching and learning process”, said Dr. Hutchings. “I was able to attend the full conference, and I came away impressed by the many promising efforts and initiatives underway on campuses here in the state where I live,” she concluded.

NILOA’s National Advisory Panel Meeting, May 7-8, was held at the Association of American Colleges & Universities headquarters in Washington, D.C. We welcomed seven new members to the panel. The day’s activities consisted of an update of NILOA’s work, engaged members in a lively discussion of the current field of assessment and where it is heading, and ended with a discussion on re-envisioning and integrating assessment of student learning on college campuses. Dr. Ikenberry stated, “I think that challenges faced by institutions are more obvious and more difficult today than they were when NILOA was created. That makes the assessment of student learning outcomes all the more crucial.” First time member of the panel and AAC&U President, Dr. Lynn Pasquerella particularly appreciated the role that NILOA plays in assessment. “NILOA plays a central role in transforming the world of higher education and looking for a better way to resonate its success,” she said. See a list of our current (and past) National Advisory Panel members here.

Lumina Foundation’s Learning System Network Convening, May 10-11, took place in Indianapolis, IN, and drew on work from at the February 16 Convening titled, It’s All About the Learning. Participants from major postsecondary education organizations were invited to “strengthen the equity, efficiency, and effectiveness for all students of existing and emerging pathways to credentials; identify opportunities to connect and integrate frameworks/strategies/tools across the organizations; and advance new approaches to fostering, demonstrating and recognizing learning wherever it occurs.” Dr. Natasha Jankowski presented a conceptual framework of a learning system and pushed the group to develop priorities for collaboration.

The Annual Teaching Excellence Conference in Toronto, Canada, May 18, was hosted by Ryerson University and keynoted by NILOA Senior Scholar Dr. George Kuh. His talk, “Creating Conditions That Matter: The Promise of High-Impact Practices,” focused on the benefits of student participation in High Impact Practices (HIPs) and approaches for scaling and assessing the impact of HIPs. Dr. Kuh also met with senior university staff to discuss quality assurance issues.

The Association for Institutional Researcher Forum, May 30-June 2, was held in Washington, D.C. NILOA Senior Scholars, George Kuh and Jillian Kinzie, along with Natasha Jankowski, NILOA director, presented “Why Documenting Student Learning Matters: A Policy Statement from NILOA.” The presentation expounded on NILOA’s policy statement, written in 2016, and focused on five principles of good assessment practice drawing on NILOA’s work in the field over the past decade. Dr. Jankowski and Dr. Gianina Baker then presented “Building a Narrative Via Evidence-based Storytelling.” The session resulted in a discussion on how participants are currently telling their institution’s improvement story using evidence and sharing of resources among each other to assist in this work. Please find the PowerPoint presentation here: Why Documenting Student Learning Matters: A Policy Statement from NILOA.

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"The complex, diverse learning goals, of postsecondary education do not justify a passive approach to student achievement. It is heartening to see state policy and institutional leaders working together to collect evidence of student learning and pursue continuous improvement."

Paul Lingenfelter

Paul E. Lingenfelter
President Emeritus
State Higher Education Executive Officers