National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

Providing Evidence of Student Learning:
A Transparency Framework


How to use the Transparency Framework
The Framework is not a checklist to be followed but rather a guide to suggest priorities and possibilities with an eye toward communicating meaningful information about student learning that will be useful to various audiences. Our review of institutional website transparency suggests that the degree of transparency can be viewed as a continuum from not transparent to transparent.

At this point in time, few institutions have fully addressed the transparency challenge. For example, an institutional website may be transparent with specific components such as student learning outcomes statements and current assessment activities, but not transparent in others such as references to evidence of student learning and/or the uses of evidence. For these reasons, each component of the Framework should be considered individually when reviewing the entire institutional website to ensure that information related to student learning is prominently posted, clearly worded, and updated regularly.

Note: Should you want to use the image of the NILOA Transparency Framework, please contact the NILOA Team at We can provide the image to you and tell you how to cite it.

Click on any of the components below for more details and examples from institutional websites.

Student learning outcomes statements clearly state the expected knowledge, skills, attitudes, competencies, and habits of mind that students are expected to acquire at an institution of higher education.

Campus plans for gathering evidence of student learning might include institution-wide or program specific approaches that convey how student learning will be assessed, the data collection tools and approaches that will be used, and the timeline for implementation.

Assessment resources encompass information or training provided to faculty and staff to help them understand, develop, implement, communicate, and use evidence of student learning.

Current assessment activities include information on a full range of projects and activities recently completed or currently underway to gauge student learning, make improvements or respond to accountability interests.

Evidence of student learning includes results of assessment activities. This may include evidence of indirect (e.g. surveys) and direct (e.g. portfolio) student learning as well as institutional performance indicators (e.g. licensure pass rate).

This component represents the extent to which evidence of student learning is used to identify areas where changes in policies and practices may lead to improvement, inform institutional decision-making, problem identification, planning, goal setting, faculty development, course revision, program review, and accountability or accreditation self-study.



Additional Information on Use:

Effective Website Communication Strategies

Institutional Assessment Models