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Developing Program SLO Methodologies
Outcomes Assessment

   Assessment Loop

Program SLO Methodologies Defined

A program SLO methodology is defined as the means by which you assess your program SLOs. It includes the "who, what, when, and how" of the assessment, as well as the percent of students enrolled in a program's courses, sequence of courses, or capstone courses that you expect to reach a specified level of achievement.

Constructing a strong methodology to assess each program SLO is crucial in outcomes assessment. With a weak methodology, extracting meaningful results from the data to improve student learning in a program can be difficult, if not impossible. 

This web page is designed to assist you in creating a program level methodology that will bring about results which can accurately measure student learning.

Direct v. Indirect Assessment

For program level SLO assessment it is recommended that faculty use either direct assessment methods or a combination of direct and indirect assessment methods. Direct measures of assessment demonstrate that students have or have not learned expected knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes in a program. Direct assessment measures may include measures such as capstone course assignments, collective portfolios, or embedded questions on exams. Indirect measures include tools such as alumni surveys, employer surveys, student exit surveys or focus groups. Indirect tools measure perceptions of student learning and can provide valuable feedback on students' feelings about a program and perceptions of how much they have learned in their courses within a program. If indirect measures are used, they should be used as a supplement to direct measures. 

Each program should choose a combination of assessment measures that they believe will best assess their program SLOs. It is recommended that faculty who participate in the assessment of a program SLO agree upon a standardized assessment tool to use across the courses. This will provide faculty with a more reliable and valid data set. 

Recommended Types of Assessment Measures

It is recommended that faculty consider choosing a combination of the assessment tools described in the documents below when conducting their program level SLO assessment. These assessment tools are recommended because they allow reasonable dialogue to occur between faculty members to improve student learning in their programs. 

Direct Assessment Measures

Embedded Exam Questions
Standardized Tests
Portfolios and E-Portfolios
Capstone Course Project or Final Project

Indirect Assessment Measures

Other Indirect Measures