Assessing Student Learning in Higher Education

 Section 1

Section 2
Background and Rationale for Assessment

Section 3
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Section 4
Assessment Tools and Data

Section 5
Course Assessment

Section 6
Program Assessment


Section 7
Closing the Loop

Section 8
Implementing Assessment Training
Vehicle for Implementation
The Core Committee
Assessment Audit
Campus-wide Logistics

Training Leaders
 Campus Training
Closing the Loop
Sustaining Assessment

Section 9
References & Resources



Using Materials from this Website


Step 5: Select and Train Core leaders

(These should be from the steering team and may include other volunteer leaders. This training process will take from 6 months to a year and go through all sections of the training materials.)

Select and train the steering team these people will serve as mentors and  consultants. Invest in this process, emphasize one-on-one feedback and dialogue amongst the team. Take them to other campuses to observe and to share what they are doing.

      Use appropriate assessment training materials and methods that:

      Use and modify the training material provided at the website            

      *MODEL everything you want the participants to do

      *Make numerous resources and samples available from a wide variety of disciplines.

      *Make it fun, be candid and share your own failures and successes. When possible work with student artifacts.

      Emphasize dialogue at every meeting and in every aspect of the training. Encourage them to share both positive and negative feedback with each other - ingrain the need for dialogue

      If possible take these trainees to other campuses to observe and to share what they are doing.

Have this core of faculty write and revise SLOs and begin assessment practices in their courses. The steering team must have experience with classroom and program assessment to be effective. Allow time to implement and reflect on assessment.





 Closing the Loop

Communicate the importance of closing the loop on a single project or SLO versus trying to do everything, and closing the loop on nothing.

Provide fair and reasonable remuneration to faculty and staff members that are implementing this process the learning curve is steep and time consuming. If assessment is important, value it; dont treat it as another add on. Do it right. Later as assessment practices become a normal part of professional life and new faculty are trained when hired, this remuneration may be unnecessary. Invest in this cultural shift of perspective, this indicates it is not just another fad. Investing in assessment implementation, it will set a precedent for budgetary decisions based on evidence of improved learning.

Remuneration or Incentive Possibilities

Adjust the number of office hours required for a year instead of 5 office hours per week, require only 4 for student conferences and make one hour for assessment preparation, implementation, & analysis.

Provide meals for workshops and retreats.

Send faculty and staff to assessment conferences, such as IUPUI, AAHE, AACU.

Purchase and provide assessment texts for individual faculty that request them.

Update personal computers or provide laptops to facilitate assessment procedures.

Recognize and officially appoint assessment mentors.

Provide reassigned time for mentoring or assessment projects.

Create assessment grants have faculty and staff apply for specifically funded assessment projects.

Count training as FLEX time and pay hourly wages for training beyond required FLEX time.

Provide stipends for faculty involved in guiding the projects, as you would for faculty involved in accreditation.

Create incentives for first time completed products (for instance $50 for each set of complete class SLOs, $100 for assessment plans, $150 for the first assessment report). Subsequent courses will be easy once the inertia required to write SLOs and begin assessment in one course is completed.

Encourage team teaching (and pay both faculty members adequately) that targets assessment practices in key courses.

Refer to the AAHE 9 Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning (1992)and Tom Angelos Guiding Principles for Assessing as if Learning Mattered Most.Use the criteria for good assessment training.

Proceed to Campus Training

Resources and Links

Suggested criteria for assessment  training


Suggestions for Incentives and remuneration for faculty and staff

IUPUI Conference link

AAHE Assessment Conference

RP Assessment Training

*Several key features in this plan are a result of analyzing data and feedback from over 300 faculty and administrators attending SLO and Assessment workshop training. These essential features are marked with an asterisk and represent recurring concerns or statements from community faculty and administrators throughout California.
















AAHE Nine Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning

 Doing Assessment As If Learning Matters Most


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