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
Training Materials and Methods
Campus Training
 Closing the Loop
Sustaining Assessment

Section 9
References & Resources



Using Materials from this Website


Step 6: Train the campus

Introduce assessment - use an all-campus meeting as well as other communications to disseminate the rationale behind assessment, and communicate the change in accreditation standards

*Keep training groups small 10-20 or less.

*Do not force participation, voluntary participation is important. Those that won’t cooperate - never will; those that are on the fence will be encouraged to participate when the results validate the effort. Trust that improvement will occur and the effects of the process will be contagious.

Incorporate the institutional research department resources and the institutional researcher wherever possible. This expertise is invaluable to faculty.

*Emphasize the benefits for students and faculty and provide some background concerning external requirements.

*Group training time must be used in a valued way – craft the training to include hands-on activities, collaboration and creation of a product. (For example: Session one – create a draft SLO, Session 2 - Modify and improve a set of course SLOs, Session 3 - Create an assessment instrument).

To the greatest extent possible modify the training to the specific needs and interests of the group (vocational board requirements, math standards, related professional standards).

*MODEL good classroom embedded assessment techniques in the training.

Tell participants what the outcomes of the training will be, evaluate every training session and improve, create a method to help participants verbalize what they have learned.

Identify leaders and build the pool of trained mentors during the training.

Encourage dialogue, sharing of results, ideas, and concerns

Remunerate faculty that produce a product (e.g. stipend or recognition after creating a product course SLOs,  assessment plans, first assessment reports.)

*Provide opportunities for collaborative teaching (with appropriate workload) where the focus is creating, implementing and reporting assessment – e.g. capstone classes, honors classes, majors courses, basic skills

Incorporate Student services units with appropriate academic areas.

Emphasize the learning paradigm and use assessment to create processes that value, support, and improve learning

Proceed to Closing the Loop


Resources and Links

IUPUI Assessment Conference


AAHE Assessment Conference

Want Campus Buy-In For Your Assessment Efforts?
Find Out What's Important to Your Faculty Members and Involve Them Throughout the Process


Moving From Paperwork to Pedagogy
Channeling Intellectual Curiosity into a Commitment to Assessment


*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.



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