Excellence in Assessment

Excellence in Assessment

The VSA, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment Transparency Framework (NILOA) collectively support a national designation program for colleges and universities that demonstrate excellence in student learning outcomes assessment to drive internal improvement and further student success. The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) program – the first national initiative of its kind – recognizes institutions that successfully integrate assessment practices across campus, provide evidence of student learning outcomes, and use assessment results to guide institutional decision-making and improve student performance.

To achieve accountability and transparency through best practices in learning outcomes assessment, institutions use NILOA’s Transparency Framework to measure and report student learning outcomes.  The Transparency Framework is designed to help institutions communicate their evidence of student accomplishment to external audiences, making it an ideal support for institutional accountability and learning transparency. There are six components to the Transparency Framework that together tell a complete story about learning outcomes assessment on a campus.

  • Student learning outcomes statements
  • Assessment plans
  • Assessment resources
  • Current assessment activities
  • Evidence of student learning
  • Use of student learning evidence

Like the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, EIA provides a systematic and nationally recognized evaluation of colleges and universities intended to reveal best practices in campus-wide assessment. The EIA program views campus-level assessment as building up from the work of faculty assessment of student learning, as an integrated component designed to serve as a “tip of the iceberg” indicator for the depth and breadth of student learning happening on our campuses. As increased attention has been paid to campus-level assessment outcomes as an indicator for campus accountability, the pressure has increased on campuses to simply report results to meet external demands. The purpose of the EIA designations is to recognize the work of those campuses that are engaging in the full breadth and depth of vertically and horizontally integrated student learning outcomes assessment.

The EIA Designations provide a systematic and nationally recognized evaluation of colleges and universities based on best practices in campus-wide assessment.  Institutions working to implement and sustain the comprehensive use of assessment of student learning outcomes in at least written communication and critical thinking are eligible to receive the designations. The EIA designees thus far include:

To participate in the EIA Designation, see full details here.