Frequently Asked Questions
When do I write SLOs?
You write SLOs for courses as you create or revise your course. The SLO should be a broad, overarching statement that describes what the student should be able to know or do when they complete your course. Often times, an SLO will actually be a statement that rolls several of the objectives from the course outline into the outcome that is expected once the student achieves those objectives. While you may be the instructor who writes the outcomes for a particular course, you need to make sure you get discipline approval as there may be several faculty who could teach the course.
You write Program Level SLOs when you are doing your discipline Program Planning and Assessment Cycle. Program level SLOs describe what the student should be able to do or know when they have completed your program, be it a certificate or degree. Developing and/or revising program level SLOs should be a joint effort with input from the entire discipline.
When do I assess SLOs?
Each discipline should map out a timeline for the assessment of courses for a given semester. Some instructors may be assessing one course, while another group of instructors assess a different course. It could be that the assessment for a course might be done by just a single faculty member. It depends on how many sections of the course are being offered during the given semester. The intent of assessment is to determine how well the students are learning. It is important that the process be meaningful to both you as an individual faculty member, and to your discipline as a whole. It's the means by which we determine if learning is taking place and if improvements need to be made.
Do I assess all SLOs for all courses every semester?
No! This process is about quality, not quantity. As mentioned earlier, each discipline has mapped out a timeline through the year 2010. The timeline indicates what courses are to be assessed for each semester. In addition, it is not necessary that you assess every outcome for the course in a given semester. What is important is that you close the loop when you do the assessment. This means, that after the assessment takes place, you take time to discuss the results with your colleagues, examine the data, and determine if changes need to be made. If they do (these changes are commonly referred to as interventions) then you should implement the changes and reassess the next time around. This will allow you to determine if the changes that were made helped to improve student learning.
What comes after writing the SLOs, doing the assessment and evaluating the assessment?
A key thing to remember is dialog. Did you share the information with your colleagues within the discipline? Did you all have a chance to discuss the data? This is a critical part of the process. If you look at the diagram below , you will notice that the cycle consists of a step during which results are shared. This is a key part of the feedback loop. It is the discussion that will help lead to defining improvements and changes. If there are changes to be made (these changes are commonly referred to as interventions) then you should implement the changes and reassess the next time around. This will allow you to determine if the changes that were made helped to improve student learning.
With what other Hartnell College processes do SLOs interact?
The SLOA process integrates with several important processes at Hartnell. SLOs are integrated with curriculum in that the outcome statements that we write are directly linked to the goals and objectives of the course. In fact, it is the objectives of the course outline that lead to the outcome. When you create or revise a course you must define the student learning outcomes for that class as part of the curriculum flow process. This takes place when you are entering the course into Curricunet.
Your course level assessment results and program level assesment results play an integral role in the Program Planning and Assessment (PPA) cycle. Every year each discipline should conduct a PPA cycle. This yearly cycle is an opportunity to look at the discipline's goals, examine course curriculum and assessment results, and identify resources that may be needed to reach the goals that have been defined. Notice the phrase "assessment results". That is where the SLOA process integrates itself with the PPA cycle. It is the assessments that we do for our courses and programs that allow us the opportunity to gather data that can be used to validate and substantiate our requests for resources. It is also the mechanism by which we can evaluate if student learning is taking place and how well it is occurring.