Capella University is proud to announce that it is one of the inaugural winners of the Excellence in Assessment (EIA) Award, recognizing outstanding efforts to track student learning and use results to improve classroom practices.

Several national groups came together to create the award, including the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, among others.

The EIA designation acknowledges academic institutions that excel at both assessing student performance and using the assessment data to review curricula and teaching methodologies to improve career outcomes. The award used six rubrics defined by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment to examine different universities across the country. The rubrics are:


  • Student learning outcome statements provided by the university that clearly state what knowledge and skills students should acquire in their school experience.
  • Assessment plans which demonstrate that the university has or is implementing significant methods of assessment.
  • Assessment resources which are used to train and assist educators in understanding, implementing, communicating, and using evidence of student learning.
  • Current assessment activities which provide evidence the university is currently committed to its assessment programs.
  • Evidence of student learning, or the results of the assessments.
  • Use of student learning evidence which demonstrates that the school studies its assessments and finds ways to improve the educational experience.


A panel of independent experts evaluated applications from 25 universities that applied for the award, and only 10 scored high enough on all six categories to receive the EIA designation. As one of the winners, Capella was recognized for assessment efforts that place an emphasis on continuous improvement by implementing a singular assessment approach across the university.

Capella uses a custom dashboard for students and faculty that shows course competency assessment in real time, and maintains the public website, which provides detailed documentation on learning outcomes and career outcomes. Both tools allow Capella to provide transparency about the effectiveness of its programs as well as its graduates’ professional accomplishments.

As the EIA board reports, “Capella is an advanced institution in terms of assessment. A number of outstanding practices are in play, particularly in the areas of alignment and transparency, e.g. the map showing alignment between institutional level, program level, and course level assessment.”

“Across the changing landscape of higher education, assessment practices increasingly define the quality of an institution’s credentials,” says Dick Senese, Interim University President for Capella University. “We’re proud of our competency-based, authentic assessments, because they can help adult learners transfer their academic success into career success. This prestigious award recognizes our staff and faculty’s continuous use of assessment results to improve our offerings.”



Learn more about Capella’s approach to education.