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Background and Rationale for Assessment
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Assessment Tools and Data
What do you assess?
Course SLO Matrix
Assessing Prior Knowledge
Sample Course Assessment Reports
Closing the Loop
Implementing Assessment Training on
References & Resources
Using Materials from
The materials in this course are designed to equip
faculty to begin doing assessment where they have the most expertise, in
their favorite course, and then develop skills for
assessment at the program and institutional level. This section
addresses assessment in courses; however the initial focus is on your
own classes and sections - not the course as described in the curriculum
document which may be taught by numerous faculty. The strategy is to
develop SLOs and assessment practices in your sections and through
dialogue, determine shared SLOs and assessment strategies for the course
of record. The core SLOs for courses can then be examined to determine
program SLOs. Of
course program outcomes may suggest curriculum
modifications, which means going back to courses and sections and
modifying those SLOs and assessments; the end result is an iterative
cycle of improvement.
curriculum reform in the world is ultimately useless if students do
not learn what faculty teach. Assessment is a response to the
realization thatócurricular reform, new teaching technologies, testing
and grading, and ever-higher tuition notwithstandingócollege graduates
do not seem to be learning at a level that matches the expectations of
employers, parents, or the general public. If assessment is to improve
undergraduate education, it must be a faculty-defined,
faculty-controlled activity." Wright, 1999
|Of course there is concern that in writing
individual SLOs, a course or program may become fragmented. However,
my colleagues and I have found that individual SLOs overlapped more
than we initially assumed between sections. In fact, many faculty
wanted to borrow and use other faculty member's SLO statements and
assessment strategies. We also found that within programs, course
outcomes logically overlapped between courses (e.g. chemistry and
biology outcomes). This makes intuitive sense if a program is really
going to work. We had anticipated great debates and struggles;
instead the dialogue was rich and beneficial.
Most faculty have experience with
curriculum and program review; outcomes assessment simply builds on
these review processes, while incorporating the shift from what we
will do as teachers - to what the students can do as a
result of the course. The challenge is to
articulate the desired outcomes and document how well the
outcomes were achieved. The primary purpose is improving teaching and
learning. At this point take out the course SLOs developed in Section
3 and think about the potential assessment tools discussed
in section 4.
The goal is to focus on, and assess,
one or two SLOs per year. At this rate, by the time you reach the six
year cycle of accreditation, or your program review cycle, you should
have assessed your entire set of SLOs. DO NOT plan to assess every
SLO, every semester, or even every year!
What do you assess?
Resources and Links
Evaluating learning in individual courses. Wright, B. D.
(1999). Linked to California Assessment Institute
Benefits of SLOs and Assessment
trait analysis: Anchoring assessment in the classroom.
Benander, Denton, Page, & Skinner, 2000.
assessment; Options and resources.
assessment: Promise and perils. Banta
Section 5 Program Assessment as a Workbook