Student Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) are outcomes that describe what knowledge, competencies, and skills a student is expected to learn as a result of participating in academic activities or through academic experiences.
Student Learning Outcomes Assessment
Student Learning Outcomes Assessment is the process of collecting information that will tell an institution whether the services, activities, or experiences it offers are having the desired impact on those who partake in them. In other words, is the institution making a difference in the lives of the individuals it serves?
Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Mission
At Clinton Community College, the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Mission is to improve and support student learning by systematically evaluating student performance using agreed upon program-specific student learning outcomes. Student Learning Outcomes Assessment is cyclical with three phases: 1) Planning, 2) Implementing, and 3) Reflecting on Assessment Results and Making Improvements.
Characteristics that Guide Student Learning Outcomes Assessment
- Faculty are best suited to determine the program goals and learning outcomes, how to assess them, and how to use the results.
- Results will be used to improve academic programs and experiences, not to assess individual faculty members.
- Assessment plans will be manageable in size with a plan in place to assess all student learning outcomes within a 3-year cycle.
- Assessment Results will be used to inform the Strategic Planning Committee of academic needs.
- Assessment Plans are living documents that are able to be revised at any phase of the assessment process in order to provide more meaningful assessment.
- Student Learning Outcomes fit within the campus-wide culture of assessment carried out at the course, programmatic, and institutional-levels.
The Student Learning Outcomes Assessment is on a 3-year cycle with the following three phases:
- Reflecting on Assessment Results and Making Improvements
Phase 1: Planning
Each program is to have a completed Assessment Matrix that includes 1) the program goals, 2) learning outcomes, 3) assessment method, and 4) cycle. Completed Program Assessment Matrices can be found in Public Folders in the "Student Learning Outcomes" folder.
Prior to assessing a goal and its corresponding SLOs, a Planning Grid should be completed that outlines 1) the specific objectives to be measured, 2) the assessment tool, 3) the definitions of the 4 achievement levels, and 4) who is responsible for conducting the assessment.
Phase 2: Implementing
Not all SLOs have to be assessed at once nor do they all have to be assessed each semester. The idea is to have approximately one third of the program's SLOs assessed in the first year. Then, another one third is assessed the second year with the remaining outcomes assessed the third year. This way each outcome will have been assessed at least once in every three years. Of course, some outcomes might be assessed more often, but the frequency is up to the faculty within the program.
Results are suggested to be categorized into four achievement levels: failing, approaching, meeting, and exceeding the standard. How these categories are defined is up to the faculty within the program.
Phase 3: Reflecting on Assessment Results and Making Improvements
Assessment results are to be reported using the Assessment Results Grid.
At the end of the 3-year cycle, the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Survey is to be completed for each program goal.
When student learning outcomes assessment is done in a meaningful and systematic way, it benefits all facets of the institution from the students, to the faculty, to the administration. SLO Assessment also impacts the community.
For students, SLO Assessment will:
- communicate clear expectations about what is important in a degree program or certificate
- inform them that they will be evaluated in a consistent and transparent way
- reassure them that there is common core content across all sections of a course
- allow them to make better decisions about programs based on outcomes results
For faculty, participating in SLO Assessment will:
- help them determine what is working and what is not working in their courses or programs
- facilitate valuable interdisciplinary and intercampus discussions
- provide powerful evidence to justify needed resources to maintain or improve programs
- provide reassurance that all faculty teaching a particular degree required course agree to address certain core content
- allow them to make improvements based on data and not just anecdotal evidence
For administrators, implementing college-wide SLO Assessment will:
- demonstrate an institutional commitment to continually improving the academic programs and services offered by the College
- provide valuable data to support requests for funds from state and local government and private donors
- demonstrate accountability to funding sources
- provide valuable data for academic planning and decision-making
- enable them to inform elected officials, local businesses, and potential donors about the College’s impact on our students and our community in a very compelling and convincing way