Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
SLO statements describe the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes students learn as a result of taking a class AND what students can DO with what they have learned. SLOs focus on the Big Picture to describe the broadest "over-arching" goals for the course.
The main focus is on the student, not the activity. To be measurable, (identifiable vs. countable), outcomes use action verbs. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a useful tool for choosing action verbs that accurately describe a desired level of student learning.
Action Verb List
Bloom's Taxonomy Cheat Sheet
Keep in mind three types of outcomes:
- Cognitive - knowledge related to a discipline Example: Students will be able to identify major muscles groups.
- Skills and abilities - physical and intellectual skills related to a discipline Example: Students will be able to solve calculation problems involving integers without a calculator.
- Affective - attitudes, behaviors and values related to a discipline Example: Students will apply effective language learning strategies.
As of Spring 2015, a minimum of two SLOs should be on each college course outline. Minimizing the number of SLOs on course outlines is also highly recommended due to the three year assessment cycle. Courses are required to conduct ongoing cyclical assessments, leading to purposeful innovations to improve teaching, learning, and student success. Assessing more than one SLO at a time is highly recommended.
If you have recently developed a NEW course an assessment will need to be conducted after 3 terms in which it was offered (Approved Spring 2015 LO Committee).
As mentioned above assessing courses every three years is a minimum. There could be various reasons to assess more often:
prior assessment did not met a satisfactory level;
after analyzing data SLOs need to be revised or updated:
looking to revise course outlines or expand course offerings;
potentially seeking funding.
Below are the Nine Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning developed by the American Association for Higher Learning:
- The assessment of student learning begins with educational values.
- Assessment is most effective when it reflects an understanding of learning as multidimensional, integrated, and revealed in performance over time.
- Assessment works best when the programs it seeks to improve have clear, explicitly stated purposes.
- Assessment requires attention to outcomes but also and equally to the experiences that lead to those outcomes.
- Assessment works best when it is ongoing not episodic.
- Assessment fosters wider improvement when representatives from across the educational community are involved.
- Assessment makes a difference when it begins with issues of use and illuminates questions that people really care about.
- Assessment is most likely to lead to improvement when it is part of a larger set of conditions that promote change.
- Through assessment, educators meet responsibilities to students and to the public.
Click the following link for detailed version of 9 Principles of Good Assessment Practice
Investing in assessment helps us solve problems in our perspective areas and across campus. When reviewing data the focus is not on what "I" do but more on what "we" do. We are all responsible for contributing to how our students learn and assessments create conversation regarding philosophies, curricular design, and theories of leaning.
Click the following link for Possible Methods of Assessment
If you are looking to re-develop or come up with innovated ways to assess SLOs the link provided below to the National Institute for Leaning Outcomes Assessments is an excellent resource for explanations and examples regarding SLOs:
Complete the following form (Word) to write your assessment and submit completed assessment through Learning Outcomes Database.