Featured Publications

  • Special issue on learning improvement, Research & Practice in Assessment. K. Busby and K. Fulcher, Editors. Volume 13, Winter 2018

Scholarly Outlets

Presentations and Workshops

2020 - June, Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE) Conference (online)

  • How to Introduce Learning Improvement at Your Institution. In this interactive session attendees will learn how to differentiate among four types of assessment use: monitoring, assessment procedure change, learning environment change, and (ultimately) learning improvement. Understanding these basic distinctions is critical in how we frame assessment and improvement conversations with faculty, student affairs professionals, and administrators. The goal is for attendees to incorporate aspects of this presentation into conversations at their home institutions. Keston Fulcher

  • Assessment with the Improvement of Student Learning as the End Goal. In the typical cycle of assessment, demonstrating actual improvement of student learning gets short shrift. We invite you to join a dialogue about assessment with the improvement of student learning as the end goal. Assessment professionals and educators are increasingly interested in assessment that more explicitly connects outcome assessment, improvement action, and evidence of improvement in student learning. Participants in this session will engage in a structured conversation of an emerging set of tenets that outline the scope and mechanisms for enacting assessment to improve student learning: what learning improvement is, who needs to be involved, what it takes, etc. In addition, participants will consider approaches to disseminate the tenets and brainstorm ways to advance the assessment for learning improvement at our own institutions. Jillian Kinzie, Yao Hill, Natasha Jankowski, Kathleen Gorski, and Monica Stitt-Bergh

  • Designed with Improvement in Mind. This presentation will share a model for organizational culture that focuses on the alignment of strategy and cultural artifacts. Participants will be able to recommend cultural artifacts that align with a new assessment-for-improvement strategy on their campuses. Kelsey Kirland

2019 - December. SACSCOC Annual Meeting (Houston, TX). 

  • More Than Results: Integrating Assessment with Learning Improvement. "Use of results" and "seeking improvement" are key terms in the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation. Unfortunately, most institutions struggle to connect assessment results with efforts to improve student learning. This workshop is designed to unpack "improvement" and how to achieve it in a collaborative way. Attendees will work through the logistics of an example learning improvement initiative and then consider how to adapt the underlying framework (PLAIR) at their home institutions. This workshop is reflective of James Madison University's ongoing transformation from an assessment institution to a learning improvement institution. JMU's approach, which is being replicated at many other institutions, was recognized in 2015 with a national CHEA Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes. Chris Coleman, Kristen Smith, Keston Fulcher

2019 - October. Assessment Institute (Indianapolis, IN). 

  • Assessment for Learning Improvement. The purpose of learning assessment and the intended use of results guide the assessment process—from who is involved and the initial assessment question to actions taken on the assessment results. This session explores how the typical assessment cycle, the people involved, and the rules associated with assessment may change when faculty engage in an assessment process aimed at demonstrating learning improvement. Monica Stitt-Bergh

2019 - June. Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (St. Paul, MN)

  • Assessment that Supports Learning Improvement: Stories and Strategies. What’s the purpose of a learning assessment project? Monitor learning? Guide curriculum changes? Improve learning? In this session participants analyze vignettes that illustrate purposes of assessment: monitor, tune assessment processes, guide learning environment changes, support learning improvement. Because an often-stated purpose of assessment is to improve student learning, participants will discuss how to change the vignettes into learning improvement stories by applying appropriate strategies. Charles Blaich, Keston Fulcher, Yao Z. Hill, Monica Stitt-Bergh, Kathy Wise

2019 - spring webinar series. Co-sponsored by The Center for Assessment and Research Studies at James Madison University, Virginia Assessment Group, Research & Practice in Assessment, and WeaveOnline


Watch the webinars (requires free registration with WeaveOnline)

Learning Improvement Summit

The Learning Improvement Summit brings together some of the top assessment practitioners, educational developers, educators, and scholars to develop and expand the promotion of student learning improvement. We investigate ways to connect assessment, teaching, and learning. Why? Because high-quality learning and adaptable skills are needed for today's citizens and should be the goal of higher education.

Summit hosts:

  • 2020: cancelled

  • 2019: Assessment and Curriculum Support Center, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

  • 2018: Academic Assessment and the Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, Auburn University

  • 2017: Center for Research and Assessment Studies, James Madison University, and Center of Inquiry, Wabash College

2019 Participants

Scott Benson, Washington State University

Charles Blaich, Wabash College

Diane Boyd, Furman University [not pictured]

Chris Coleman, University of Alabama

Cynthia Crimmins, York College of Pennsylvania

Keston Fulcher, James Madison University

Megan Good, Auburn University

Kathleen Gorski, Waubonsee Community College

Yao Hill, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Mays Imad, Pima Community College

Cara Meixner, James Madison University

Michael Reder, Connecticut College

Monica Stitt-Bergh, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Kathy Wise, Wabash College