Program Student Learning Outcomes

Overview

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Program SLOs (PSLOs) are statements of the overarching knowledge, skills, abilities, and/or values that students should acquire in a program of study. Essentially, they represent the learning expectations for a specific program. Every program must have its PSLOs listed in the College Catalog, and assessment is conducted regularly to determine how well students are meeting the PSLOs. 

Whether creating, modifying, or assessing a PSLO, whether analyzing or acting on PSLO results, and whether a Facilitator or Department Head, information about personnel, deadlines, appropriate forms, and necessary committee approvals is below.

Create, Modify, & Inactivate PSLOs

Creating A New PSLO

Program SLO statements should describe what students must know, do, and value at the conclusion of a program. In addition, program outcomes tend to emphasize integrating skills into an interrelated set and often put more stress on a real-world application that provides a bridge to the student’s next experience on the job or in upper division study at a four-year university.

Every award at the College consists of a unique set of classes, and as such, leads to unique program learning outcomes. PSLOs also help students understand how program completion will lead to real-world applications such as gainful employment and/or significant preparation for upper division coursework. The Chancellor’s Office and ACCJC define a ‘program’ as “any certificate or degree that the college awards.” For the above reasons, each program at LBCC has an outcome and assessment method. Facilitators are tasked with collaborating with discipline faculty to create PSLOs that close the assessment loop on LBCC’s programs. With the exception of licensure, certification, or other capstone exams, the College uses a streamlined method of course-to-program mapping for program SLO assessment. In this way, course outcomes (CSLOs) build toward overarching program-level outcomes (PSLOs) that students should master upon completion of the program. Like CSLOs, PSLOs should begin with a Bloom’s Taxonomy verb at the appropriate level of critical thinking.

For new programs, reference the Chancellor’s Office narrative goals and objectives and catalog description when creating a new PSLO. For existing programs, reference the catalog description when writing a new PSLO. Without these references, faculty may have different ideas of the purpose of an instructional program, and therefore, may be unable to reach a consensus on the learning outcome(s) for that program.


What is the Process? 

To submit a new PSLO, faculty authors must consider the evaluation criteria set forth in the Program SLO Checklist. Faculty authors will then submit the newly created PSLO to the department SLO Facilitator, who will submit the necessary online form. After the online form is submitted, members of the ASLO Subcommittee will carry out a Technical Review of the new PSLO. New PSLOs and Assessment Methods must receive approval from the ASLO subcommittee. In certain circumstances, the SLO Coordinator may conduct the technical review. For new programs, the PSLOs will be reflected in the College Catalog (or Catalog Addendum) once the program has been approved by the Curriculum Committee, Board of Trustees, Chancellor’s Office, ACCJC, and is active. For existing programs with new PSLOs, the updates will appear in the next iteration of the College Catalog or Catalog Addendum. 


Recommended Number of Program SLOs

In keeping with the Principles of Assessment, which encourage a focused and meaningful approach to the assessment of Student Learning Outcomes, the ASLO Subcommittee recommends that faculty create the following number of SLOs per program:

  • Certificate of Completion: 1 PSLO
  • Certificate of Competency: 1 PSLO
  • Certificate of Accomplishment: 1 PSLO
  • Certificate of Achievement: 1-2 or more PSLOs
  • Associate Degree of Arts/Science: 2 or more PSLOs
  • Associate Degree for Transfer: 2 or more PSLOs

New Program SLO Creation Considerations

When developing a new program SLO:

  1. Complete the Program SLO Checklist and submit the completed form to the SLO Facilitator.
  2. Reference the Program Assessment Methods webpage to inform the development of program SLO methods of assessment.

Modifying/Inactivating a PSLO 

Modifying or inactivating a course or program SLO is a legitimate action to take if it is based on assessment data, if the modification/inactivation will result in a more meaningful and focused approach to gathering and analyzing assessment data, or if the course or program content is significantly modified through the curriculum process. However, departments should avoid employing gratuitous modifications in lieu of taking action based on meaningful assessment data.


What is the Process? 

To submit a modification/inactivation for an SLO, faculty authors must consider the evaluation criteria set forth by the CSLO Checklist and the PSLO Checklist. Faculty authors will then submit the newly modified/inactivated CSLO or PSLO to the department SLO Facilitator, who will submit the necessary online form.  After the online form is submitted, members of the ASLO Subcommittee will carry out a Technical Review of the modification/inactivation. In certain circumstances, the SLO Coordinator will carry out the technical review. Upon approval, the SLO Coordinator will modify or inactivate the CSLO or PSLO and/or assessment methods in Nuventive Improve. For existing courses with modified/inactivated SLOs, the updates will appear on the existing public Course Outline of Record during the Winter and Summer Intercessions and will begin to be in effect the semester after their approval. For existing programs with modified/inactivated PSLOs, the updates will appear in the next iteration of the College Catalog or Catalog Addendum. 


Recommended Number of Program SLOs

In keeping with the Principles of Assessment, which encourage a focused and meaningful approach to the assessment of Student Learning Outcomes, the ASLO Subcommittee recommends that faculty create the following number of SLOs per program:

  • Certificate of Competency: 1 PSLO
  • Certificate of Accomplishment: 1 PSLO
  • Certificate of Achievement: 1-2 or more PSLOs
  • Associate Degree of Arts/Science: 2 or more PSLOs
  • Associate Degree for Transfer: 2 or more PSLOs

PSLO Assessment Methods

The Chancellor’s Office and ACCJC define a ‘program’ as “any certificate or degree that the college awards.” Every award at the College consists of a unique set of classes, and as such, leads to unique program learning outcomes. PSLOs also help students understand how program completion will lead to real-world applications such as gainful employment and/or significant preparation for upper division coursework. For these reasons, each award at LBCC must have at least one outcome and assessment method. The assessment methods are a critical component of the Assessment Cycle, as the SLO assessment will be used to determine how well each student is mastering each student learning outcome.

The creation of a viable assessment method is complementary to the creation of its outcome. Departments are encouraged to utilize program assessment data to inform program planning and review, as well as hiring priorities. Furthermore, without viable assessment methods faculty will not be capable of assessing students’ mastery of an outcome nor will faculty be able to call on robust data sets that inform integrated planning decisions, including resource allocation, and improvements across campus.

A program SLO methodology is defined as the means by which faculty assess program SLOs. In certain circumstances, outside agency exam or other methodologies are viable PSLO assessment methods. However, the ASLO Subcommittee recommends using CSLO to PSLO mapping as the primary program SLO assessment methodology, as the alignment of specific CSLO assessment results with each PSLO enables faculty to determine how course curriculum is contributing to student learning throughout each program. Specific results of assessment are made available to faculty via Tableau dashboards, which present results visually and provide the ability to disaggregate the data by student race/ethnicity, gender, and modality.


Criteria/Expected Level of Achievement

The aggregate results for each program SLO should meet or exceed an expected level of achievement of 70%. That is, 70% of the CSLOs in the program should have met the CSLO expected level of achievement of 70% or higher. This expected level of achievement was approved for all programs by the ASLO Subcommittee.

Program 1: Sample PSLO Assessment

CSLO to PSLO Mapping: Course-to-program SLO mapping highlights how student learning at the course-level informs student learning in programs. This method of assessment involved aggregating all course-level results of assessment from selected CSLOs, which align with a program’s PSLOs. The ASLO subcommittee recommends using this method of assessment for all Program SLOs. 

Program 2: Sample SLO Assessment

OUTSIDE AGENCY EXAM: What: Web based ATI-RN Comprehensive Predictor Examination version 2010. How: All students enrolled in ADN 22B each semester will successfully complete the ATI comprehensive Predictor Examination at the end of the semester.

PSLO Results of Assessment, Analysis, and Actions

Results of assessment consist of the combined data from sections of a course (for course SLO analysis) or courses (for program SLO analysis) and are compared to the college-wide expected level of achievement of 70%.

To derive meaning from course or program assessment results, faculty have to dig deeper into their results than merely focusing on the overall percentage of students who have or have not met an expected level of achievement. Examining data for patterns should help faculty to discover the story behind the data.

Determining and taking appropriate action(s), based on the results of assessment and the analysis of those results, is the final step to closing the loop on SLO assessment. 


Analyzing Results of Assessment

Course and program level SLO results, as well as the entire assessment process, should be discussed among department faculty to determine the meaning behind the results of assessment and to decide upon actions to take in response. Faculty should view Tableau dashboards and share copies of the assessment instrument (e.g., rubric, quiz questions) and the assessment plan with those involved in the discussion.

Facilitators will share previously submitted Results of Assessment and keep a record of departmental discussions in the SLO Workbooks. All faculty can draw on information in the resources provided, which should assist in creating and sustaining a lively and thought-provoking discussion regarding every aspect of the assessment process for a course or program.


Taking Action(s)

Taking action(s) based on the results of assessment is the final and most critical step to closing the loop on assessment in a meaningful way. They inform the refinement and improvement of instructional courses and programs (both curricular and pedagogical), and directly impact student learning.

Regardless of whether or not the expected level of achievement was met, faculty should be taking action to improve student learning in their classrooms, and/or to improve the assessment process itself. Course and program-level SLO actions should be discussed among discipline faculty to determine further strategies, activities, and resources needed to carry out actions. SLO Facilitators will share previously suggested actions and keep a record of departmental or discipline discussions in the SLO Workbook as part of the analysis of the SLO results.

Expectations for PSLO Analysis and Actions

The PSLO Analysis and Actions Guide Worksheet is a tool that is similar to that used for courses, but is integrated into the Supplemental Program Review Process that occurs every two years for CTE programs and every three years for non-CTE programs. It is helpful tool for guiding faculty through the analysis of Program SLO results and determining actions to be taken to improve student learning. Finally, the guide links to the PSLO List of Meaningful Actions, which includes examples of specific actions that faculty can take to improve student learning in their program, such as implementing equity-minded teaching practices or identifying resources needed to implement changes.  

The Program SLO Analysis and Actions Guide Worksheet should be completed for every program SLO with results during the year that the program is up for supplemental program review.  


Sample Overall Program-Level Results of Assessment, Analysis, and Actions
  • Results: The average assessment score is 77%.
  • Analysis: The PSLO exceeded the expected level of achievement at 77%, which is seven percent higher than the expected level of 70%. Several course SLO results were well below the expected level of achievement at 68%, 60%, and one at only 53%. These courses where students struggled to meet the expected level of achievement are at the “introduced” level and at the “mastered” level. Because the two lowest average scores came at the introduced level, the most needed improvement is here. The remaining courses, on average, exceeded the expected 70% level of achievement.  
  • Actions: For specific courses where PSLO content is introduced, more emphasis on course curriculum that addresses the essential content will be implemented. Low stakes quiz questions and discussion questions will be created and assigned to give students an opportunity to review those concepts again. 

Sample Equity Program-Level Results of Assessment, Analysis, and Actions
  • Results: The average assessment score is 73%.
  • Analysis: When disaggregated by gender, success rates were 81% for female, and 65% for male. When disaggregated for ethnic groups the success rates are 51% for Black students, 72% for LatinX students, 83% for Asian students, and 79% for white students. There are a few possible reasons for these results. The move online in Spring 2020 was hard on all of our students, especially economically disadvantaged students. Many students found it a challenge to be successful in an online environment that is known for functioning well in person. We have two full time instructors who are both females. There have been changes in the male adjunct instructors in this program. Two moved on to full time positions and two new male instructors have been hired.  This could have affected the success rates for men in certain courses. Faculty will monitor the success rates in future semesters as more data is collected after the hiring of the two new male instructors. As for ethnic equity, the curricular repertoire selected continues to be increasingly more diverse.
  • Actions: First, we intend to hire full time faculty for positions lost in 2017. The requests to replace those positions have not yet been approved. The two positions were previously held by instructors that better represent the student population. Second, we are encouraging all faculty to take part in the Cultural Curricular Audit and participate in Student Equity related events for flex credit. Two Full time faculty have already completed this audit and the other three full time faculty will be completing this task in the future.  Finally, faculty will continue to invite professionals in the field that represent students in our equity gaps to address students and help with motivating student success.