Questions about Assessment in General
What are student learning outcomes (SLOs)?
- SLOs are the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes that a student should attain at the end of (or as a result of) his or her engagement in a particular course, program, or at the institution in general.
- SLOs include a measurable expectation; they define outcomes in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotive learning areas, as appropriate.
- SLOs are learner-centered, not instructor-centered.
- SLOs are results-oriented (i.e., they provide evidence that learning took place).
Why do we need to assess SLOs?
- Assessment informs faculty, administrators, and staff of student learning and helps guide us in making improvements to courses, programs, and students' general education. It is also a requirement of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and informs other outside agencies, such as the Chancellor's Office.
Who is involved in SLO assessment?
- The entire college is responsible for conducting SLO assessment: new full-time faculty, tenured full-time faculty, and part-time faculty members must all participate in the assessment process.
Who is directly responsible for conducting SLO assessment?
- At the course level, individual faculty members who teach sections of each course administer the assessment.
- At the program level, it is each department's responsibility to determine which courses will be assessed. The individual faculty members who teach those courses will then administer the program level assessment.
- At the institution level, the ASLO subcommittee maps courses to each general education outcome. The chosen courses are then contacted and faculty must assist in the data collection process and in some cases, the analysis.
Do contract education and distance learning courses need to participate in the assessment process?
- ACCJC accreditation standards expect all of an institution's educational endeavors to engage in efforts to improve educational quality and institutional effectiveness. As such, both contract and distance learning courses must participate in SLO assessment.
Contract Education and ASLO
Distance Learning and ASLO
Does each SLO need to be assessed every semester?
- In the event that a course that is due for review is not offered because of budget cuts, you will be unable to assess student learning outcomes. However, you still must complete the results and actions taken sections of the assessment plan to demonstrate that every active course is being addressed. A standard statement for this situation is provided here for faculty to use in such an event. Remember, this information must be captured in TracDat.
Budget Constraints Standard Statement
- No, but all course SLOs must be assessed and results recorded in TracDat by the time a course is up for course review and all program SLOs must be assessed and results recorded in TracDat by the time a program is up for program review. To find out when your course or program is up for review, please visit the conducting review web page.
Questions about SLO Statements
How often should I create new SLOs?
- SLOs are meant to reflect the skills and knowledge students should acquire in specific courses and programs, so they typically remain constant. However, if following the results of assessment faculty believe that the SLOs are not appropriate, not comprehensive, or need clarification, changes to the SLOs should be made. Changes to SLOs are also appropriate if the nature of a course has changed (i.e., course content has been dramatically revised), new technology has been developed that will change the nature of a course, or your department as a whole wants to revise and/or downsize the amount of SLOs for their courses.
How many SLOs should my course have?
- The ASLO subcommittee recommends that a course have between two and three SLOs. Since SLOs are broad statements that encompass multiple course objectives, it is unlikely that a course should have more than three SLOs. If your course currently has more than three SLOs, consider meeting with your department chair, other faculty members who teach the course, the appropriate SLO Coordinator (CTE SLO Coordinator or General SLO Coordinator) to revise and/or downsize the amount of SLOs for the course.
Should my course SLOs be on my syllabus?
- Yes. The course syllabus is the basis for a common understanding between the instructor and student. The LBCC Faculty Handbook cites that SLOs should be included on course syllabi. Below, you will find an overview about the purpose, expectations, and benefits of having SLOs on course syllabi and the various means by which this can be accomplished.
SLOs and the Syllabus
LBCC Syllabus Template
Questions about Results, Actions Taken, and TracDat
What will be done with the results of my course assessment?
- Each department should meet to discuss course and program level results and evaluate the degree to which students are reaching the intended outcomes. Based on the results, departments should decide to make changes at the course and program level to improve student learning.
- After a discussion among faculty occurs, results must be entered into TracDat, LBCC's SLO data management software, by either a faculty member who has access to the software or by the Educational Assessment Research Analyst.
- Results will also be utilized in aggregate annual course and program SLO reports that are posted on the outcomes assessment website for the public, students, faculty, and staff to view. To view these reports visit the Reports webpage.
Will assessment data be used to evaluate faculty or staff?
- Results of SLO assessment will never identify or target any individual staff or faculty members. Results will be used solely to evaluate the degree to which students are reaching the designated outcomes and to determine whether changes should be made at the course or program levels to improve student learning.
Is there an end to this process?
- In a word, no. Assessment is a continuous process of improvement.
What is TracDat?
- TracDat is our online SLO data management software. This software stores all information related to department planning, course SLOs, and program SLOs. In regards to SLOs, the software allows us to maintain a record of any changes to SLOs and/or methodologies, as well as keep a history of SLO results and actions that have been taken to improve student learning.
How do I get access to TracDat?
- There are two types of TracDat access a faculty member can obtain: read-only access or editing access.
- Read-only access can be obtained by a full or part-time faculty member at any time. This type of access gives faculty the ability to view all course and program SLO-related information that is stored in the system related to their own department. If you wish to obtain read-only access, contact the Educational Assessment Research Analyst and she will provide you with a username, password, and instructions on how to navigate the software.
- Editing access can be obtained by any full or part-time faculty member who has completed the TracDat Certification Program. This program consists of multiple training sessions where faculty will learn how to edit and add information to TracDat. This program will be provided at various times throughout the semester beginning in Fall 2014. Once you have been certified, you will be able to make your own edits and changes within your department's courses.