Over the past six months, we've all been working together to respond to some of the most complex challenges faced by higher education in the U.S. We realize that these circumstances have impacted your teaching plans on every level, including assessment of student learning. As we approach the October 1st submission date for assessment documents, I wanted to encourage you to be transparent and honest about how the emergency transition to remote learning affected you, your students, and your assessment process.

In the first weeks of remote instruction, Natasha Jankowski, Executive Director of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), shared some perspective with assessment professionals across the country: "There will be an asterisk by the data." Our office has embraced that phrase as we consider that no one has been working under expected or predictable circumstances for the past two semesters, and we face uncertainty ahead as we transition to face-to-face classes with social distancing.

As you prepare your assessment documents for submission, we want to encourage you to make use of the asterisk to offer explanations about changes to course curriculum and instruction, issues with student access, academic integrity concerns, adaptations of assessment methods, and gaps in data collected. Below, I'd like to offer some suggestions for what those asterisks might say:

*Due to the rapid transition to remote instruction resulting from COVID-19, we were not able to collect data from all sections of the course as we had planned. Moving forward, we have developed (x plan) to ensure that assessment processes are in place to accommodate emergency transitions in instruction. (See appendix for details.)

*Due to the rapid transition to remote instruction resulting from COVID-19, we found it necessary to adjust our assessment method to ______________. We found this was a [very effective, equally effective, less effective] method of assessing student learning.

*Due to the rapid transition to remote instruction resulting from COVID-19, the department does not have full confidence that this data is an accurate reflection of student learning. Concerns were raised about academic integrity, consistency in instruction and student access to course materials, and the effects of additional stress on faculty and student performance.

Please remember that the assessment team at IAA is here to answer questions and provide feedback as you compile your assessment documents. We appreciate the time, effort, and care that you contribute to equipping our students for success, and we are honored to partner with you towards this goal.

With sincere appreciation,