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HomeStudent Learning Outcomes

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

Learning outcomes assess “the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and habits of mind that students have and take with them when they successfully complete a course or program” (Suskie, p. 2009).
“The assessment of student learning outcomes (SLOs) is a curricular activity that can be both beneficial and productive. Faculty who engage in SLO development and assessment can acquire concrete evidence upon which to base the collegial review of their programs and the improvement and enhancement of student learning both in individual classes and across a program. If SLO processes are integrated into the culture of the college, the use of assessment data as a basis for decision making can empower the faculty voice in planning and budgeting discussions.”   Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC), 2010

There are two types of academic outcomes:
  • Course-level student learning outcomes (CSLOs) are tied to specific courses, workshops, and tutoring sessions.
  • Program-level student learning outcomes (PSLOs) are tied to a specific program or major. PSLOs should be measured after the completion of a series of courses required to earn a degree or certificate in a specific program.
It is common for people to use the abbreviated “SLO” to mean either CSLO or PSLO.

Not all disciplines provide students with certificates or degrees. In disciplines that do not grant a certificate or degree, only CSLOs are measured.
This is a picture link to view an Adobe .pdf file called

In the collection of SLO data, it is imperative that student privacy is respected. When collecting, analyzing then reporting data, use aggregate data (a collection of scores), and avoid the tracking of individual students.

The assessment of outcomes falls under the category of “action research.” Its specific purpose is to inform and to improve practices. While the collection of data should be systematic and disciplined, its aim is not to collect empirical and generalizable data for controlled scientific inquiry. The data collected should be reliable enough so that your discipline at SWC can make informed decisions, but does not need to be generalizable beyond your department or our campus.

The purpose of assessing outcomes is to provide information for making decisions for improving learning, not to track students or evaluate faculty.

This is a picture of students sitting in a computer lab.

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) states that it is imperative that student privacy rights are respected. Since outcomes assessment serves the purpose of improving teaching practices and methods, only general data regarding student progress is necessary for indicating areas in need of improvement; recording data for individual student performance is not necessary (2010, p. 6).
“Indeed, compiling data for individual students might even prove detrimental to assessment processes, as it could shift attention to the performance of specific students, each with their own needs and personal obstacles, rather than the overall effectiveness of the teaching and learning in the course.”  ASCCC, 2010


The collection of aggregated data (all scores grouped together) protects individual student and instructor privacy, and is used as evidence of institutional effectiveness.

Please visit the ASCCC website for a complete explanation of the principles and student privacy rights.


Steps to Assessing Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)   This is a picture hyperlink to download the SLO steps.

Steps To Do
Write
Outcomes
  • Write (or revise) all outcomes
  • Use the Outcomes Assessment Timeline to select which outcomes will be measured
Communicate
Outcomes
  • Communicate selected outcome to students and SWC community
  • Provide instruction and/or support to help students achieve selected outcomes
Measure Outcomes
and Collect Data
  • Create rubrics for measuring levels of student achievement of outcomes
  • Design tools that align with rubrics that will accurately measure student achievement of outcomes
  • Implement measurement tools and collect aggregate data (collections of scores, not individual student scores)
Store Data
  • Store data in eLumen
Meet to Discuss
and Analyze Data
  • In a meeting with colleagues, analyze aggregated data (collections of scores across course sections, not individual student or course section scores)
  • Describe results of analysis in eLumen
  • Describe results of analysis in Program Review
Create Plan(s) for Improvement
  • In a meeting with colleagues, use analysis of results to design a plan or plans for improvement in student achievement of outcomes
  • Review and revise rubric(s) and measurement tool(s) as necessary
  • Describe plan(s) and reasoning for changes in eLumen
  • Describe plan(s) and reasoning for changes in Program Review
Implement
New Plan(s)
  • Restart the Assessment Process
  • Describe results of new plan in eLumen
  • Describe results of new plan in Program Review
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