National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

NILOA Reports

June 2016

Jankowski, N.A., & Giffin, L. (2016, June). Degree Qualifications Profile impact study: Framing and connecting initiatives to strengthen student learning. Urbana, IL: National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

Following the release of the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) in 2011, many institutions of various types tried out different ways to use the DQP. Although over 680 institutions have used the DQP to date, until now the impact of the DQP on institutions and students has not been documented in a systematic manner. To determine the effects of DQP use on institutional policies and practices, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) conducted a study of the more than 400 (n=425) institutions that used the DQP between the 2011 release and the October 2014 revision. The study explored how institutions engaged with the DQP and how working with DQP was associated with changes in curriculum, instructional practices, and assessment activities.

June 2016

Jankowski, N.A., & Giffin, L. (2016, June). Using the Degree Qualifications Profile to foster meaningful change. Urbana, IL: National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

Examples from the field indicates that effectively using the DQP can benefit both students and institutions (Jankowski & Giffin, 2016). But what does "effective use” entail and how does it unfold? That is, what is the nature of the process that makes it possible for institutions to use the DQP to achieve desired ends? In a post-convening survey of participants following the October 2014 launch of the revised DQP, 91% of participants agreed or strongly agreedwith Lumina’s call for widespread implementation of DQP, but only 5% agreed that they understood the next steps in order to implement it. With this in mind, NILOA has been tracking campus engagement with the DQP, identifying approaches that institutions have used to implement the framework in meaningful ways. In this report, we describe those approaches and how they have been used within and across institutions. 

May 2016

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. (2016, May). Higher education quality: Why documenting learning matters. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, Author.

The NILOA policy statement outlines the warrant for multiple, systematic approaches to obtain evidence of authentic student achievement and addresses some well-reasoned concerns that poorly designed assessment efforts can distract from rather than enhance the quality of teaching and learning.  George Kuh, NILOA director, observed that, “Many of the reservations about the value of student learning outcomes assessment are because the findings do not speak to issues that faculty and staff find relevant for their work with students or yield information that they or others can use to be more effective.” 

Recognizing that much remains to be done, a succinct summary is offered of what the assessment movement has achieved thus far, drawing on NILOA’s work in the field over the past decade along with that of other organizations.  The statement concludes with five principles that when adapted appropriately to an institution’s educational purposes and programs can spread and accelerate assessment work worthy of the promises colleges and universities make to their students, policy makers, and the public. 

April 2015

Montenegro, E., & Jankowski, N. A. (2015, April). Focused on What Matters: Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes at Minority-Serving Institutions. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

This report features the assessment work being done at Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). Comparisons are made between assessment activities at MSIs and those underway at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) as well as those at different types of MSIs such as Tribal Colleges, Historically Black, Hispanic Serving, and others. Four main findings are discussed including the internal use of assessment data at MSIs, using assessment data for improvement, different assessment approaches at different types of MSIs, and subcategories of MSIs use of assessment to address different institutional needs and interests. Implications are presented for understanding assessment activities in MSIs, and how such understandings can help advance assessment efforts at all postsecondary institutions.

November 2014

Hutchings, P., Jankowski, N. A., & Ewell, P. T. (2014). Catalyzing assignment design activity on your campus: Lessons from NILOA’s assignment library initiative. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) set out in the fall of 2013, with Lumina funding, to create an online “Assignment Library” of faculty-designed and peer-reviewed assignments linked to DQP proficiencies. NILOA has received numerous requests to share what is being learned through the Assignment Library initiative as campuses are eager to have models they can use to foster and support serious work on assignment design by faculty and others—for instance student affairs staff and librarians—who create, monitor, and evaluate the tasks and activities that shape student learning. Meeting that demand is our purpose in this report.

January 2014

Kuh, G. D., Jankowski, N., Ikenberry, S. O., & Kinzie, J. (2014). Knowing What Students Know and Can Do: The Current State of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment in US Colleges and Universities. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

In a follow-up to the 2009 survey of chief academic officers, NILOA again asked institutions about practices and activities related to assessing student learning. This report showcases findings regarding institutional activities, uses, drivers, and areas of continued need to advance the assessment of student learning. In addition, the report examines changes and shifts over time in institutional assessment related activities.

July 2012
Cross Example

Baker, G. R., Jankowski, N., Provezis, S., & Kinzie, J. (2012). Using assessment results: Promising practices of institutions that do it well. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

To learn more about what colleges and universities are doing to use assessment data productively to inform and strengthen undergraduate education, NILOA conducted nine case studies. This report synthesizes the insights from these individual studies to discern promising practices in using information about student learning. The report concludes with lessons learned and reflective questions to help institutions advance their own assessment efforts within their specific institutional contexts.

May 2012VSA

Jankowski, N. A., Ikenberry, S. O., Kinzie, J., Kuh, G. D., Shenoy, G. F., & Baker, G. R. (2012). Transparency & accountability: An evaluation of the VSA college portrait pilot. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) was asked by the VSA to evaluate the effectiveness of the student learning outcomes pilot project within the College Portrait. The evaluation was conducted over a five-month period, October 2011 through February 2012, drawing on a variety of data sources. These included focus groups, interviews with leaders from the policy arena and regional accreditation agencies, institutional surveys, and analyses of results from the VSA-conducted survey of participating institutions, and College Portrait database statistics and Google Analytics.

November 2011
Transparency of Evidence

Jankowski, N., & Provezis, S. (2011). Making Student Learning Evidence Transparent: The State of the Art. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA)

In November 2011, NILOA researchers released this report composed of four sections: 1) the impact of national transparency initiatives; 2) the changing landscape of transparency; 3) the display of assessment results and their subsequent use; and 4) a synthesis of the previous three sections.

June 2011
Down and In

Ewell, P., Paulson, K., & Kinzie, J. (2011). Down and in: assessment practices at the program level. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA)

In March 2010, NILOA asked selected department or program chairs at every accredited two- and four-year college and university in the U.S. about their assessment practices. The findings from the data collected can be found in this report.

October 2010
Perspectives

Kinzie, J. (2010). Perspectives from Campus Leaders on the Current State of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment: NILOA Focus Group Summary 2009-2010. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA)

In October 2010, a NILOA researcher highlighted lessons from four focus group sessions with campus leaders--presidents, provosts, academic deans and directors of institutional research from a variety of two- and four-year institutions-- regarding their perspectives on the state of learning assessment practices on their campuses.

September 2010
Connecting State Policies

Ewell, P., Jankowski, N., & Provezis, S. (2010). Connecting State Policies on Assessment with Institutional Assessment Activity. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

In September 2010, the NILOA researchers compared the survey and webscan data with the NCHEMS study on state policies on student learning outcomes assessment. The findings from that study can be found in this report.

June 2010
Exploring the Landscape

Jankowski, N., & Makela, J. P. (2010). Exploring the landscape: What institutional websites reveal about student learning outcomes activities. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

In the Spring and Summer of 2009, NILOA examined the content of institution-wide websites (n=725) to determine the extent to which colleges and universities made available information about student learning outcomes assessment. This analysis in conjunction with the national survey given in 2009 to chief academic officers gives us a broader picture of the state of learning outcomes. The findings for this research can be found in this report.

October 2009

Kuh, G., & Ikenberry, S. (2009). More than you think, less than we need: learning outcomes assessment in American Higher Education. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

Contrary to what obervers think, findings from a national study released in 2009 of chief academic officers, show that gathering information about what undergraduates learn during their studies is commonplace in most US colleges and universities. However, the results are not always used and reported in ways that could improve student accomplishment and inform the public about insitutional performance. Most institutions use multiple approaches to measure what happens to students during college in addition to assigning grades, with accreditation being the primary driver of such assessments. Read the full or abridged report for additional findings and context.

 


While the results show that institutions
of higher education are taking assessment seriously, schools also must use the information effectively to strengthen their academic offerings and improve student performance.”

Belle Wheelan

Belle Wheelan
President Commission on Colleges
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools