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Projects & Initiatives

Excellence in Assessment Designations

Key Highlights

  • Recognizes institutions successfully undertaking comprehensive student learning outcomes assessments and using results to inform institutional decision-making. 
  • Elevating the importance and value of measuring student learning outcomes across the higher education sector. 

The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) designation – the first national initiative of its kind – recognizes exemplary colleges and universities that integrate assessment practices throughout the institution, provide evidence of student learning outcomes to stakeholders, and use assessment results to guide institutional decision-making and improve student performance.

The EIA Designations provide a systematic and nationally recognized evaluation of colleges and universities based on best practices in institution-wide assessment. Institutions implementing and/or sustaining comprehensive use of assessment of student learning outcomes institution-wide are eligible to receive the designation.

The EIA Designation Program is an effort supported by APLU, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), and the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The designations are built directly from NILOA’s Transparency Framework. It’s the first national program designed to recognize institutions engaging in intentional campus-wide assessment. Evaluation for the designations includes a rigorous and systematic self-study and peer review by assessment experts, enabling institutions to improve their effectiveness and share best practices.

There designation has two tracks, depending on institutional assessment development: 1) Excellence, for institutions demonstrating strong leadership and commitment to a culture of evidence-based decision-making centered on institution-level assessment results; and 2) Sustained Excellence, for those institutions that have maintained and/or evolved their integrated institution-level student learning outcomes assessment over a period of five or more years.

To date, 27 universities have received the Excellence in Assessment Designation or the Sustained Designation. The application period for the EIA program opens in January. Visit NILOA’s website to get an application packet or to learn more about the designation.


2019 EIA Designees

  • Bucknell University - Excellence Award Designee

  • Lindenwood University - Excellence Award Designee

  • Missouri State University - Excellence Award Designee

  • Sam Houston State University - Excellence Award Designee

  • University of Northern Iowa - Excellence Award Designee

  • Finger Lakes Community College – Sustained Excellence Award Designee

  • 2018 EIA Designees
    • Bowie State University
    • Harper College
    • Mississippi State University
    • Northern Arizona University
    • The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • 2017 EIA Designees
    • Bowling Green State University
    • James Madison University - Sustained Excellence
    • Middlesex Community College
    • Rio Salado College
    • Southern Conneticut State University
  • 2016 EIA Designees
    • Cameron University
    • Capella University
    • Community College of Baltimore County - Sustained Excellence
    • Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis - Sustained Excellence
    • Kansas State University - Sustained Excellence
    • Mills College
    • Mount St. Joseph University
    • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology - Sustained Excellence
    • University of Wisconsin - Madison
    • Zayed University

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