AALHE 2020 Call for Proposals

In keeping with the Association for Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE) mission, the annual AALHE conference supports a diverse community of educators including assessment scholars, practitioners, faculty, and administrators. The event offers the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience with assessment to improve student learning and institutional quality. Attendees will have access to professional development at all levels, from novice to advanced, and they will have opportunities to network with colleagues from across the nation. We invite you to submit a proposal and join us at the 2020 AALHE conference June 8-11 in New Orleans! 

Intended Conference Outcomes Related to the Theme

This year’s conference theme is Diversity and Equity in Assessment. AALHE strongly encourages proposals emphasizing how assessment can support fairness, equitability, and inclusivity in a variety of teaching and learning environments.  In addition to the general outcomes intended for every AALHE conference, the following are specific to this year’s theme:

  1. Understand the role that assessment plays in ensuring fair and equitable teaching and learning environments.
  2. Explore strategies, tools, and technologies that can assist in creating an equitable assessment environment.
  3. Think critically about existing assessment practices and strategies and their relationship to equity and inclusivity.

Proposal submissions will OPEN on Monday, November 4, 2019.  The deadline to submit a session or poster proposal is Friday, January 17, 2020. Notifications for these proposals will be sent by Friday, February 14, 2020.

All session presenters are responsible for their own conference registration fees, travel, and hotel expenses. The conference will begin Monday, June 8th, 2020. Session presentations will take place from Tuesday, June 9, at 8:00 a.m. through Thursday June 11, at 12:00 noon. Presenters should plan to be present at the time their session is scheduled.

Developing and Submitting a Proposal

Proposals should address how assessment can be adapted and used in a wide range of institutional types, including but not limited to community colleges, regional and research intensive universities, large and small private colleges, and minority-serving institutions.

The completed proposal includes the following sections:

Facilitator Information: Name, title, discipline, institution name, and email address for each facilitator

Session theme and format:

  • Session title (75-character limit, including spaces)
  • Anticipated participant learning outcomes (100-word limit)
  • Background and evidence of effectiveness of work being presented (250-word limit)
  • Plan for participant engagement (150-word limit)
  • Brief description to be used in conference program if accepted (2–3 sentences for a total of 75–125 words. Descriptions should summarize the above fields and highlight what is distinctive and transferrable about the work you are presenting)
  • Intended participant level of experience: beginner, intermediate, or advanced

Proposal Submission

All proposals will be submitted via AALHE’s online platform 

Proposal Review Criteria

AALHE offers a balanced, informative, focus on assessment processes and how it describes and improves student learning. This conference seeks to empower and embolden all campus assessment practitioners and educators to consider diversity and equity in their assessment practices, regardless of institutional level or assessment experience.

The proposal selection committee will include experienced assessment professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds and areas of expertise. Proposals that align with the equity-focused theme of the conference will be given particular consideration. Priority will be given to proposals that reflect diverse perspectives, innovations, disciplines, and programmatic areas. We particularly welcome student perspectives.

The following elements serve as proposal selection criteria:

  • Equity-Focused Approach: Potential for the proposed session/presentation to advance equity-focused approaches to assessment of learning in higher education or to contribute to understanding the role that assessment plays in creating and sustaining equitable and inclusive teaching and learning environments.
  • Theory-to-Practice Model: Describes an evidence-based theory-to-practice model that connects research and scholarship in assessment with effective approaches to developing courses, curricula, pedagogies, practices, and campus cultures that engage students in high-quality and fair learning experiences. Proposal establishes a clear connection with existing scholarship.
  • Creative Approach: The session/presentation offers a creative, novel, or transformative mechanism for designing or using assessment
  • Evidence of Effectiveness: The proposed session/presentation provides evidence of effectiveness or discusses lessons learned and challenges overcome.  
  • Participant Engagement: Explicit plans for involving participants in reflection, discussion, exercises, and other activities that will help them understand and apply the material. Proposal is likely to achieve the stated learning outcomes. Session activities align with the intended outcomes.

Not Sure About What – or if – to Submit? Here are some questions to jog creative thinking!

  • How are design thinking principles guiding assessment of student learning outcomes and of whole-program assessment?
  • How are faculty using assessment models and processes to create a sense of coherence and shared expectations in the higher learning experience?
  • How are faculty assessing the quality of student outcomes in ways that are transparent and useful to students?
  • How are educators collecting and analyzing data and using it to improve student learning?
  • How are faculty communicating about the role of assessment in improving student learning and equity with each other, across disciplines, and with students?
  • How are educators connecting course-based assessment findings to overall campus assessments in meaningful ways?
  • How are faculty designing in-class assignments and assessments that connect student experiences and the assets they bring with them to learning outcomes across the curriculum?
  • How are teaching and learning centers connecting learning outcomes assessment with faculty development?
  • How is intentional design informing faculty workshops on assessment, calibration, and the practice of disconnecting assessment from grades?

Session Formats

Poster Session (90 minutes; 1–2 presenters)

Poster presenters share succinct and clear graphic presentation of emerging research, practices, and issues in assessment of learning. Poster sessions feature short but engaging question and feedback exchanges with the presenter and interested members of the audience. 

Single Paper or Focus (60 minutes, up to 4 presenters)

Traditional presentations present research on assessment that focuses on an aspect of the relationship between assessment and equity in student outcomes or a general topic related to either theory or practice, or the integration of theory into practice. Topics unrelated to the conference theme are also welcome.

Symposia (60 minutes, up to 3 presenters)

Symposia present two to three papers that focus on a single issue from multiple perspectives. The papers can present theory, research, and/or practice that center on the role of assessment in promoting an equitable environment for teaching and learning.  Topics unrelated to the conference theme are also welcome. Symposia take a critical look at assessment as it is, with recommendations for further research or action.

Dialogues (60 minutes; 1–4 facilitators)

Dialogues provide time for colleagues to engage known and emerging issues relevant to assessment of learning in higher education through iterative sharing of expertise and experiences. They provide an opportunity to work through issues, ideas, and challenges from multiple perspectives. Facilitators assist the group in examining new ways of thinking about the topic and strategies for moving forward given the professional reality and expertise of each individual in the room.

Panels (60 minutes, 1 moderator)

Panels provide members the opportunity to engage experts in assessment in a structured conversation about a specific issue or topic. Panels specify a current or emerging issue to be addressed, establish an initial set of questions to be addressed, and proceed to a moderated, interactive discussion with members to expand upon panelists responses.

Skill Development—Theory to Practice (75 minutes each)

Skill development sessions provide opportunities for participants to bridge theory with practice. These are working sessions that engage participants in developing skill in addressing specific opportunities and challenges in assessment of learning, and in working together to develop skill in specific models and strategies in assessment practice.

Roundtable Discussion

These roundtable discussions will take place during "unplugged" Thursday (final day of the conference). The roundtable discussion provides a space for informal conversation with colleagues around a proposed topic. The facilitator should have at least some experience on the topic that s/he is proposing to initiate a conversation with others.


The primary session presenter will receive notice via email of the decision regarding the proposal by February 14, 2020.

Expenses and Fees

All session presenters are responsible for conference registration fees, travel, and hotel expenses. Please ensure that all individuals listed in the proposal have this information and can be available at the appropriate time during the event. Presentation times range from the evening of Monday, June 8, through Thursday, June 11, at 12:00 noon.

Proposal Submission Portal

AALHE 2020 Call for proposals: Pre-Conference Workshops

AALHE’s pre-conference workshops are designed to engage assessment practitioners in higher education with interactive professional development that helps them, and the profession, better understand assessment as a field and practice. In keeping with the 2020 Conference Theme “The Impact of Assessment on Equity in Higher Education”, we call for and welcome proposals for pre-conference workshops that focus on models, practice, or research in the assessment of learning in higher education, within the following tracks:

Designing Quality Assessment: This track presents sessions that provide guidance and examples of quality assessment in academic programs, including interdisciplinary, competency-based, and certificate programs.

Assessment for Institutional Effectiveness. This track presents sessions that address how assessment professionals can link metrics gathered for Institutional Research and external audiences to inform efforts focused more directly on the improvement of student learning.

Engaging the Campus for Quality Assessment: This track presents sessions that provide practices and models of campus-wide organizational structures, systems and processes such as collaborative communities, culture creation, and institution-wide systems processes at the macro level.

Evaluating the Quality of Methodologies and Data Analyses. This track presents sessions on how we, as a profession, evaluate models, tools, processes, and information for quality. This includes quality evaluation methodologies, analytical approaches, data interpretation and use, and issues related to validity, reliability and fairness. Submissions that address the role of assessment for improving equity and inclusion in higher education are encouraged.

Each proposal should include:

1.      Abstract/description for program (150-200 words)

2.      Proposal narrative

a. Workshop Description (150-word maximum)Describe a substantive professional development experience (major take-away) that merits the extended time and added cost associated with a pre-conference workshop.


b. Workshop Contribution (150-word maximum)Provide evidence to support the relevance, timeliness, and contribution of the workshop to the scholarship and/or practice of assessment of learning at institutions of higher education.


c. Workshop Outcomes (100-word maximum)Clearly identify measurable learning outcomes for the workshop.


d. Engagement of Participants (150-word maximum): Demonstrate a viable strategy for engaging participants in learning activities aligned with session learning outcomes.


e. Alignment of Learning Activities (150-word maximum): Clearly articulate the alignment of learning outcomes, learning activities, and mechanism for assessing learning.


f. Assessment of Learning Outcomes (150-word maximum)Describe a well-defined strategy for assessing participants’ learning.


3.      Presenter Qualifications (150-200 words): Provide clear and succinct summaries of presenter qualifications.

4.      Handouts and Materials (150-word maximum): Clearly and succinctly describe proposed handouts, media, or learning materials or provide copies.

5.      Participant Preparation (150-word maximum): Identify any needed technological support to assure a successful learning experience for participants. Describe:

a. technology attendees should bring to the workshop.


b. preparation attendees should complete before the workshop: for example, readings attendees should complete


c. describe materials attendees should gather and bring to the workshop (examples of rubrics, assessment plans, assessment reports, curriculum maps, etc.).


Proposal Submission Portal


All proposals can be submitted via the Proposal Portal.
Deadline for PreConference Proposals is November 15th, 2019.