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Two university associations plan to recognize institutions that engage in campuswide activity aimed at assessing and improving student learning, for the sake of internal improvement rather than accountability. The Excellence in Assessment designation is a joint program of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, working in conjunction with the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment.

To earn the designation, regionally accredited institutions must show that they have integrated assessment approaches across their campuses, provide evidence of learning outcomes and used the results to guide their decisions and improve student performance; the focus is not on student performance itself. One designation will reward institutions that have recently adopted excellent practices, while another, for "sustained excellence," will identify those that have focused on assessment for years but continued to seek improvements.

Campuses will engage in a self-study and then be reviewed by outside faculty experts.