Background and Rationale for Assessment
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Assessment Tools and Data
Setting the Stage
Program Assessment Tools
Homegrown Program Assessment Tools
Program Review and Program Assessment
Sample Program Assessment Reports
Closing the Loop
Implementing Assessment Training on
References & Resources
Using Materials from
Setting the Stage - Discussion about the Shelter SLO
Program Outcome- Following the services and therapy provided by the
women's shelter, battered women will
make a choice to leave their violent relationships as the major strategy
to protect themselves and their children.
This outcome does focus on
what the woman can do following the program.
This outcome defines an
action - "make a choice to leave"
The outcome is
a measurable expectation. You could find out how many people from the
shelter have left their violent situations after a given time period.
There has been
dialogue, the shelter board and participants know this is an important answer to promote real health and safety.
However, the next
points provide a new perspective from the role of program outcomes.
outcome valid and appropriate for the shelter?
Is this outcome
understandable to the intended audience?
There is no doubt that this outcome is valuable and would
contribute to solving the problem and meeting their vision of reducing
domestic violence in our society. The outcome suggests an easily measured and valued
assessment method - Determine how many clients left their violent
relationships last year?
However, this is where a problem occurs - most victims of domestic
violence chose NOT to leave their relationships. In fact, many people in
the shelter come only to receive temporary refuge with no desire to
leave a relationship; their main desire is that the violent person will
change their behavior. Therapists struggle with this aspect of domestic
have succeeded in producing substantive behavioral changes in spite of
therapy. Basing income (grant funding) upon an outcome that is ideal, but difficult
or impossible to achieve is problematic; this may be an excellent goal or
vision, but it is an unpredictable and perhaps improbable outcome.
It is more realistic to base program outcomes upon things that the
program actually does, and outcomes that the participants care about.
Below is a sample year-end report from Women's Shelter Inc. Notice that
this shelter has accomplished some terrific results, worthy of
their effort and continued financial support.
Women's Shelter Inc. statistics for 2001. (This is real data from
an actual shelter).
Sheltered 412 women and 463
Provided community advocacy
and criminal justice intervention to 2,525 women. |
Helped 1,382 battered women
through crisis line support. |
Received 12,299 calls from
friends, family, and others concerned about a battered woman they know.
Provided legal advocacy to
2,259 battered women. |
Conducted 139 presentations
and 2,333 hours of professional training for a total of 4,757
Thirty-seven battered women
received assistance specific to immigration. |
Fifty-four individuals lived
in the Respite's transition housing. |
Thirty-five children attended
the Respite Children's School.
Two hundred fifty-three children participated in Children's Program
These statistics are very impressive and indicate excellent work. For our
scenario, which uses an outcomes approach, the strategy is to look at
the product in order to improve. Just sheltering more women or giving
more presentations may not get us to the program goal-to reduce
societal violence against women and children. Using these statistics
the shelter needs to reconsider what they are able to do, what they do
well, and what outcomes the funding does support. It is laudable to have
values of improving society, but these are not the direct outcomes of
this program. (In the same way, a local food bank program does not
reduce world hunger.)
When writing program outcomes:
|state the program purpose or mission|
|consider other areas or programs that feed into or interact with
|analyze community expectations for the program|
descriptors and accomplishments|
|review the components of the program and |
|determine participant expectations|
Good program assessment begins with a clearly stated Mission or Goal
that defines the program's reason for existence. Based upon this purpose,
assessable outcomes represent a mechanism to determine how well the
program is achieving its goal and provides feedback on how to improve.
Using the information reported for the shelter above, can you construct an
assessable and realistic outcome for this program that could be used as a
basis for a grant-funded outcomes report? The statistics above prove that help, refuge,
advocacy, and training are being provided (in the same way that course
content is delivered).
What observable outcomes will be the product of the participants encounter
with the shelter? Remember to consider
the three domains for Cognitive, Psychomotor, and Affective outcomes. (Use the SLO
checklist.) Can you suggest any assessment tools to gather evidence
concerning the outcome?
In assessing the outcomes, surveys concerning self-assessment from the
women would be helpful. Baseline information concerning their status
before using the services would help, as would evidence of change over
time in attitudes and skills. These same issues relate to academic
programs, so let's move our thinking to our own programs.
Proceed to Defining Programs
Resources and Links
Developing a Departmental Assessment Plan Moskal & Bath, 2000
Document for Printing SLO Checklist