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NILOA National Survey Finds Learning Outcomes the Norm, Assessment Activity Increasing

 

In 2013, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) conducted a national survey about institutions’ current assessment activities and how the institutions were using evidence of student learning outcomes. Provosts or their designees at 1,202 regionally accredited, undergraduate-degree-granting, two- and four-year, public, private, and for-profit institutions in the U.S. provided responses. Key findings include the following:

  • Stated learning outcomes are now the norm in American higher education. In 2013, about 84% of all colleges and universities had adopted stated learning outcomes for all their undergraduates, an increase of 10% from 2009.
  • The prime driver of assessment remains the same: expectations of regional and program or specialized accrediting agencies. At the same time, internal drivers including program review and process improvement have become increasingly important.
  • There is significantly more assessment activity now than a few years ago. The average number of assessment tools or approaches used by colleges and universities in 2013 was five, two more than the average number (three) in 2009.
  • The range of tools and measures to assess student learning has expanded significantly. National surveys remain popular (85% of all schools use them), but there has been a large increase in the use of rubrics, portfolios, and other classroom-based assessments as well.
  • Institutions more frequently report assessment results internally than to external audiences. Assessment results are reported most frequently on campus in faculty meetings or retreats. In 2013, only about a third (35%) of campuses made assessment results publically available on their websites or in publications.

For more findings and analysis, see the full 2014 report.

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