Assessment Forum

Organizations, Articles and Books of Note

(We welcome your suggestions for additions to this page.)

Using Assessment to Support Teaching

Enhancing your Teaching Through the Use of the SIR II report, ETS

How to Read a Student Evaluation, Chronicle, November 2011

Formative Assessment and Self-regulated Learning, Studies in Higher Education, April 2006


Liberal Arts Education
LEAP (Liberal Education and America's Promise)
Massachusetts Higher Education
Department of Higher Education

Vision Project

Federal Government and Higher Education 
Higher Education Opportunity Act  
Education Organization Sites 
Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) 
Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA)               
Complete College America (CCA)   


Foundations and Funding for Higher Education Initiatives

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Lumina Foundation

Davis Educational Foundation

Teagle Foundation

Recent Publications

The "Quality Agenda:" An Overview of Current Efforts to Examine Quality in Higher Education (A Discussion Paper Prepared for the American Council on Education), Peter T. Ewell, 2012

Ewell summarizes the multiple and varied responses to the "Completion Agenda" that he labels the "Quality Agenda."  These include efforts by the Lumina Foundation, AAC&U, state governments and international developments.  The paper concludes with implications for higher education. 


National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) Higher Education Act Reauthorization Accreditation Policy Recommendations, April 2012

NACIQI was charged by the Secretary of Education to review the current system of recognition, accreditation and student aid eligibility.  Its report recommended that accreditation be retained as a eligibility requirement for Title IV funding, that there needs to be a clarification of roles and expectations among the federal government, state government and accreditors, that accreditors should consider whether they should align with institutional purpose rather than geography, that more efficient, useful and timely systems of data collection are needed, and that accreditation reports about institutions should be made public.


Down and In: Program-level Assessment Practices. NILOA, June 2011.

This report details the findings of a survey given to program heads and compares their responses to those of Chief Academic Officers on a previous survey about assessment practices at their institutions.  This very readable document presents evidence that what really drives assessment at the program level is a desire to improve.


Raising the Bar: Employers' Views on College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn.  Hart Research Associates for AAC&U. January 2010.

Among the findings were that employers want their employees to use a broader set of skills and have higher levels of learning and knowledge than in the past to meet the increasingly complex demands of the workplace.  They also believe that colleges should place a greater emphasis on a variety of learning outcomes developed through a liberal education.


Recent Books

Zemsky, Robert (2013) Checklist for Change: Making American Higher Education a Sustainable Enterprise. Rutgers University Press.

Zemsky has written extensively about higher education reform.  Read a review of his newest book at


Arum, Richard and Josipa Roksa (2011). Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. University of Chicago Press.

Drawing largely on results of the Collegiate Learning Assessment of more than 2,300 undergraduates at twenty-four institutions, the authors found that "forty-five percent of these students demonstrate no significant improvement in a range of skills - including critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing - during their first two years of college....Academically Adrift holds sobering lessons for students, faculty, administrators, policy makers, and parents - all of whom are implicated in promoting or at least ignoring contemporary campus culture."    


Hacker, Andrew and Claudia Dreifus (2010) Higher Education?  How Colleges are wasting our Monday and Failing our Kids - and What We Can Do about it.

The authors argue that American higher education is failing to provide students with the education they need and deserve.  Private colleges are most often their targets for criticisms of faculty salary, tenure, tuition and bloated administrations. This book is one of the many that have been published in the last two decades that severally criticize higher education and call for radical reform.


Walwoord, B. E. F.(2010). Assessment Clear and Simple: A Practical Guide for Institutions, Departments, and General Education. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.  

Walvoord's book takes what can be a time-consuming and complex process and guides faculty through a common sense approach.


Bowen, William G. Matthew M. Chingos and Michael S. McPherson (2009). Crossing the Finish Line.  Princeton University Press.

The authors provide a detailed analysis of graduation rates at 21 flagship public universities and four state systems.  They examine the factors that contribute to the dismal fact that only about 60% of students that enter 4-year colleges actually graduate.