The Difference Between Student Learning Outcomes and Service Learning Outcomes
As mentioned on other pages of this website, student learning outcomes (SLOs) are statements of the overall knowledge, skills, abilities, and/or values that students are expected to acquire at the course, program or institution levels. SLOs are measurable and provide evidence that learning has occurred.
On the other hand, service unit outcomes (SUOs) are statements that describe the desired quality (timeliness, accuracy, responsiveness, etc.) of key functions and services within support and administrative units. SUOs are expressed as statements of what users of the service experience, receive or understand as a result of a given service interaction. SUOs are measurable and address both process and satisfaction indicators. SUOs are similar to SLOs in the sense that they examine the result of an experience. However, SUOs deal exclusively with non-instructional services provided to students or other members of the campus community.
In order to create SUOs, units must first create a mission statement and unit goals. The mission statement identifies a unit’s purpose and reflects how the unit supports a student learning environment. Unit goals state what a unit plans to do to improve its services. However, unit goals are too vague and broad to be utilized in assessment and are instead utilized to create SUOs that can be assessed. If your unit needs to create or revise either of these, please utilize the document below to guide you through this creation process.
Creating a Mission Statement and Unit Goals
Once a consensus has been reached on a unit’s mission and goals, the unit should utilize the goals to create SUOs. SUO statements should identify central service activities, processes and functions expected of the service unit and the desired quality of each. Some SUO statements may be similar to SLO statements. LBCC has decided that when a unit supports the learning of a client other than a student, the outcome will be considered an SUO. As you create your SUOs, utilize the following documents to ensure that you are on the right track.
Examples of SUOs Compared to Unit Mission and Goals
Creating Methods of Assessment
Methods of assessment are used to collect evidence of success for each service unit outcome. They produce useful data that can be used to improve some or all aspects of a service. The documents below explain the common assessment methods utilized in SUO assessment.
Focus Group Information
External Review Information
Counts and Averages Information
Once a methodology has been chosen and created, an expected level of achievement must be selected. An expected level of achievement is a benchmark of success. Explain in your method what percent of clients you expect will be satisfied with a service, what percent of forms will be processed without errors, what percent of applications will be received by a deadline, what percent of clients will perceive a service to be fair, etc…. It is recommended that the members of a service unit meet to discuss and decide on an expected level of achievement.
After data has been collected, service unit members will need to analyze the results. Typically this involves aggregating the data and calculating percentages. For focus groups, analysis may include coding group members responses by themes that emerged from the discussions. If your service has conducted a survey and you would like advanced analyses done on your data, contact the Educational Assessment Research Analyst to assist you with this process.
Once a service’s data has been analyzed, service unit members should meet to discuss the results. At the meeting, consider utilizing the questions in the following document to guide the discussion and assist you as you find solutions to improve your services.
Guiding Questions for SUO Results
All services that conduct SUO assessments must document their SUOs, methodologies, results, and actions taken. Utilize the following templates when documenting all aspects of your SUO assessment. These templates contain prompts that should guide you through the process of recording your SUO assessment information accurately.
SUO Methods Template
SUO Results and Actions Taken Template
SUO assessment information also needs to be input in the college’s data management program, TracDat. If you have editorial access to TracDat you can input this information yourself. If you do not have editorial access, send the completed templates to the individual in your department who maintains these records in the TracDat program.