Assessing Student Learning in Higher Education

  Faculty Responses to the Introductory SLO and Assessment Survey

Why Assessment?

Most faculty are NOT motivated to do assessment as a result of external requirements such as legislated accountability or internal peer review through accreditation.

The major reason faculty are motivated to do assessment is the ability to improve student learning, because assessment equips faculty to measure outcomes and adjust the input for those outcomes through calculated improvements. Assessment allows faculty to figure out what works in their classroom and what does not work.

This survey is an example of an embedded Angelo and Cross Classroom Assessment Technique (CAT). It probes your background knowledge and experience with assessment, asks you to evaluate your own motivation, and initiates learning. While assessing your own motivations you are also learning about numerous factors reported by other faculty as being motivational for assessment. The respondent is engaged in the topic without a lecture. In addition, we have been able to collect valuable self-reported data from faculty. The survey choices were developed from over 200 community college faculty responses this question.

Survey Results (n=112):

The majority of faculty responded that measurable improvement was an important motivator to improve student learning (93%)

The next most important motivator (82%) was discovering what works and what does not in the classroom.

Consistency and fairness in grading was an important motivator for 69% of those surveyed.

The opportunity to collaborate within their departments was motivational for about 49% of the respondents.

Department collaboration was an important motivator for 49% of those taking the survey.

The two least motivational factors to improve learning were multidisciplinary collaboration and accreditation. About 27% of the faculty reported that the external requirements were an unimportant motivator for improving learning in their classrooms.

The vast majority of faculty taking this survey classify themselves as totally unfamiliar, novices or beginners with regards to SLOs. Amongst vocational education faculty the majority classify themselves slightly higher as beginners and intermediate. More faculty attending the senate curriculum institute classified themselves as intermediates and beginners.

An interesting fact is that faculty classify themselves as more experienced in program assessment, but as less experienced in course assessment or Student Learning Outcomes. This survey indicates that many faculty are unfamiliar with the role of SLOs in course and program assessment.

Go to Background and History of Assessment


Janet Fulks ( & Kate Pluta (
Assessing Student Learning in Community Colleges (2004), Bakersfield College