When Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, and Whitt (2005) wrote about high performing colleges and universities, they spoke of an ethos termed positive restlessness. In the fundamental work of learning, positive restlessness is at the heart of assessment. We want to know how the educational environment affects student learning and development. This desire to know is not driven by our governance context; rather, it is driven by a desire to improve, and, in turn, assessment enables us to showcase our stewardship of learning to a broad stakeholder audience.
Leaders and educators in student affairs have an abundance of resources on program-, service-, and activity-level assessments of student learning and resource stewardship. For example, the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Valid Assessment of Learning
in Undergraduate Education initiative, which began in 2007, has led to the development of 16 rubrics that enable direct observational methods of learning domains such as teamwork, problem solving, civic engagement, and global learning. In 2007, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, a regional accrediting body, released the second edition of its comprehensive Student Learning Assessment: Options and Resources to guide educators in the development of sound, sustainable cycles of program-, department-, and institution-level assessment in line with their institution’s mission and in compliance with accreditation standards. The Degree Qualifications Profile—developed in 2008 through a partnership between the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, the Institute for Evidence-Based Change, and Lumina Foundation—maps the knowledge, skills, and competencies of learners seeking associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. NASPA has also addressed the need for assessment in Sriram’s (2014) 5 Things issue brief on developing surveys for student affairs assessment. Further, NASPA Advisory Services has been launched to support the development of sound and effective student affairs practice, including assessments of student learning and resource stewardship (NASPA, 2019). The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (2015) has also created student learning and development outcomes for adoption and use within student affairs, and Schuh, Biddix, Dean, and Kinzie’s (2016) text offers best practices for assessment in student affairs. These resources help educators develop assessments that are tailored to their areas of focus.
Despite a broad literature base on activity- or program-level assessment, leaders in student affairs have few resources to support their efforts to build high-quality, sustainable, and divisionwide assessment structures that align with internal planning and external accountability expectations. Enter the Learning Outcomes and Organizational Planning (LOOP) Framework, introduced in this brief.
The LOOP Framework enables practitioners to strategically and systematically assess program-, service-, and activity-level learning experiences aligned with the division’s goals for student learning. Developed with input from assessment leaders at institutions of varying sectors, sizes, and accreditation regions, the LOOP Framework enables leaders and educators across the institutional spectrum to build on their assessment processes and practices. In turn, educators gather evidence to support internal planning needs and respond to external accountability expectations of accreditors, governing boards, and other key stakeholders.
We intend for the LOOP Framework to affirm a strong sense of positive restlessness on your campus, supporting the critical work of delivering educational experiences that make meaningful, lifelong contributions to the learning and success of students.