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Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

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SLO Writing Guide | SLO Criteria | SLO Examples | Assessment Criteria | Assessment Methods | Assessment Examples
Templates: SLO Assessment Form | PLO Assessment Form
Verbs Requiring Outcomes: Cognitive | Affective | Psychomotor
Article: "The Case For Authentic Assessment"

Writing SLOs Workshop - Flex Day, September 9, 2011pdf icon (Note: this is a large .PDF file, if you have a problem opening the file, make sure you are running the current version of Acrobat Reader freely available for downloading from Adobe.com)

VVC Assessment Manual - Updated Summer 2012 pdf icon 

Student Learning Outcomes have come upon us full force. They need not be as difficult as they sound. Some descriptions seem to heighten mysteriousness about them and create more complications than necessary. Described below is the assessment process for individual classes, but the process must also be done for programs, departments, student services, administration, and other divisions of the college.

Student Learning Outcomes are simply an answer to the question, What do you want your students to be able to do at the end of your course? The question is phrased that way because SLOs require assessment, which is meant to provide accountability. Two, three, or four SLOs per course should be sufficient; the more of them you write, the more will have to be assessed. As a result, simplicity is the goal. SLOs are written into the Course Outline and then samples of assessments for the SLOs are written as well.

Assessment gives verification of the achievement of the SLOs by the students. It can be done by testing, exercises, or performance. Assessment is expected to be done for SLOs on a regular basis and is meant to be recorded in some way for research and record keeping. Accreditation agencies may ask for verification of SLOs and assessment at any time. In any given semester, it is possible to assess SLOs one at a time or several at a time. As long as all SLOs are tested within a given time period, perhaps every five or six years, assessment of SLOs is acceptable.

An Assessment Report describing the process, essentially an assessment of the assessment, is also expected. Once assessment for SLOs is done, the instructor(s) evaluates the effectiveness of the SLOs and the assessment of them. From the information taken by the assessment, the instructor can revise the SLOs or can revise the assessment tools to better accurately measure student accomplishment in the future. When finished with assessment, the instructor writes an Assessment Report detailing the assessment of the students' accomplishments, evaluating the SLOs and assessments, and providing suggestions for improving effectiveness. The process is ongoing,continually reviewing assessment and the SLOs, all in the hopes of improving instruction and learning.

Several documents are included here with the idea of helping to write SLOs and Assessment Reports. The documents have been written by Marc Skuster and/or revised from various models other colleges have developed and freely offered at Academic Senate conferences.

 Other Useful Documents pdf icon :

Course SLO: Writing Guide

Student Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes that a student has attained at the end (or as a result) of his or her engagement in a particular set of collegiate experiences. (ACCJC Standards Glossary) Student Learning Outcomes, Learning Objectives, and associated Methods of Assessment must be defined for each course and are required components of each Course Outline of Record.

 
Learning Outcomes (SLOs) Learning Objectives

Outcomes are limited in number, comprehensive, and combine numerous discrete skills and concepts 

Objectives are numerous, narrow in scope, and descriptive of discrete skills and concepts. 

Outcomes are attained through synthesizing a sequence of learning experiences and activities and are measured by integrative assessments. 

Objectives are attained and assessed through individual assignments and learning activities that are restricted in focus or scope. 

Outcomes describe the highest levels of cognitive, psychomotor, and/or affective learning.

Objectives may be limited to the pre-critical levels of cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning.

 

Learning Objectives state knowledge and skills that are required in order to achieve the identified Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for a course. Individual Learning Objectives should be directly related in content to a specific Learning Outcome and should contribute to the attainment of that Learning Outcome.

 

Criteria for Course- level SLOs:

  1. Limited in number (3-6 per course).
  2. Incorporate action verbs appropriate to the discipline (see Taxonomy).Avoid the following:"understand," "learn," "know."
  3. Call for critical thinking.
  4. Refer to required topic areas or themes from the "course content."
  5. Integrate essential concepts and skills.
  6. Summarize all knowledge and skills intended to be achieved in the course.
  7. Useful for creating assignments and/or activities by which intended learning is achieved.
  8. Measurable by means of identified course-embedded methods of assessment.
  9. Match GE SLOs (GE courses) or Certificate SLOs (Vocational courses).
 

Examples: Course SLOs and Objectives


Chemistry 113:

SLO #1: Design experiments and interpret data according to the scientific method.

Objectives:
  1. Define and follow the general scientific method;
  2. formulate questions in order to evaluate a hypothesis;
  3. design and conduct experiments to answer their questions;
  4. record, manipulate and evaluate the experimental data to reach conclusions; and
  5. correlate experimental results with the appropriate theory.

English 106:

SLO #1:Prepare an extended research paper.

Objectives:
  1. develop a thesis;
  2. present coherent and logical claims;
  3. organize material with clear links between claims and support;
  4. use standard American English correctly;
  5. make stylistic choices in persona, syntax, and diction;
  6. gauge the needs of and addresses a specific audience;
  7. evaluate sources for reliability, credibility, and authority;
  8. credit sources appropriately and correctly.

Music 90:

SLO #1:Compose a short diatonic piece adhering to the grammar of tonal music.

Objectives:
  1. demonstrate four-part voice leading;
  2. use cadences to articulate the phrase structure;
  3. incorporate non-chord tones to enliven the texture;
  4. use harmonic progression consistent with common practice period music.

Philosophy 101:

SLO #1:Analyze and evaluate philosophical solutions to the major problems of epistemology.

Objectives:
  1. define and discuss "rationalism" and "empiricism;"
  2. summarize and evaluate Kant's epistemology and its significance for both modern and post-modern philosophical thought;
  3. define and illustrate three contrasting philosophical conceptions of truth;
  4. evaluate modern scientific forms of inquiry as sources of knowledge.

Respiratory Therapy 99:

SLO #1:Interview and assess patients for the purposes of respiratory therapy.

Objectives:
  1. perform the basic principles of interviewing;
  2. assess general appearance and level of consciousness
  3. identify parts of the stethoscope;
  4. identify the four major classifications of normal breath sounds;
  5. assess basic vital signs;
  6. identify common adventitious sounds and their possible indications;
  7. perform auscultation.

Restaurant Management 50:

SLO #1:Select and apply proper preparation methods for standard classes of recipes.

Objectives:
  1. apply the basic preparation principles of stocks, sauces, and soups;
  2. identify the components of and prepare salads and salad dressings;
  3. select and apply appropriate garnishing techniques for a variety of recipes;
  4. select from a range of appropriate ingredients and prepare a variety of types of sandwiches.

Automotive 75:

SLO #1:Apply safety standards when working in an automotive shop.

Objectives:
  1. identify the different types of fires and the appropriate response to each type;
  2. store hazardous material and waste safely;
  3. inspect and use a Class B fire extinguisher;
  4. demonstrate proper methods for lifting and carrying of heavy objects;
  5. identify and use procedures and devices for face, eye, hearing, and hand protection.

Golf 120:

SLO #1:Approach a green successfully using a wedge or short iron.

Objectives:
  1. read the slope and green speed and the wind conditions;
  2. accurately estimate yardage;
  3. select the appropriate club and proper shot;
  4. execute the shot with sound technique.

Assessment: Methods that an institution employs to gather evidence and evaluate quality.(ACCJC Standards Glossary) Student learning outcomes and their systematic assessment are mandatory components of all curricula, certificate and degree programs, and the general education program as described under Board Policy and Administrative Procedure 4025. As mandatory components, assessment methods must be embedded within the course—that is, aligned with course objectives and integrated with instructional strategies and learning activities.(Victor Valley College AP 4000)


Criteria for Selecting Methods of Assessment:

  1. Direct observation of student performance is preferable.
  2. Target complex tasks that authentically demonstrate attainment of the SLO being measured.See "The Case for Authentic Assessment."
  3. Embed assessment in methods used to evaluate regular graded coursework.
  4. Select methods that are sufficient to measure all intended learning.
  5. Select methods that will produce detailed data for use in improvement planning.


Methods of Assessment: CurricUNET

 

Examples:Course SLOs, Assessments, Objectives**


Chemistry 113:

SLO #1: Design experiments and interpret data according to the scientific method. 

Assessments for SLO #1:2, 4

Objectives:
  1. define and follow the general scientific method;
  2. formulate questions in order to evaluate a hypothesis;
  3. design and conduct experiments to answer their questions;
  4. record, manipulate and evaluate the experimental data to reach conclusions; and
  5. correlate experimental results with the appropriate theory.

Methods of Assessment used in Chemistry 113:

  1. Exams/Tests
  2. Quizzes
  3. Class Participation
  4. Lab Work
  5. Home Work

Automotive 75:

SLO #1: Apply safety standards when working in an automotive shop.

Assessments for SLO #1:2, 3, 5

Objectives:
  1. identify the different types of fires and the appropriate response to each type;
  2. store hazardous material and waste safely;
  3. inspect and use a Class B fire extinguisher;
  4. demonstrate proper methods for lifting and carrying of heavy objects;
  5. identify and use procedures and devices for face, eye, hearing, and hand protection.

Methods of Assessment used in Automotive 75:

  1. Exams/Tests
  2. Quizzes
  3. Lab Work
  4. Home Work
  5. Competency Test

Philosophy 101:

SLO: Analyze and evaluate philosophical solutions to the major problems of epistemology.

Assessments for SLO #1:1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Objectives:
  1. define and discuss "rationalism" and "empiricism;"
  2. summarize and evaluate Kant's epistemology and its significance for both modern and post-modern philosophical thought;
  3. define and illustrate three contrasting philosophical conceptions of truth;
  4. evaluate modern scientific forms of inquiry as sources of knowledge.

Methods of Assessment used in Philosophy 101:

  1. Exams/Tests
  2. Quizzes
  3. Papers
  4. Class Participation
  5. Home Work

**The above examples illustrate a recommended format for SLOs/Assessments//Objectives.These examples are not intended to reflect the approved curriculum of current Victor Valley College courses.

 

Verbs Requiring Cognitive Outcomes

Knowledge

Comprehension

Application

Analysis

Synthesis

Evaluation

     
Critical Thinking

define

repeat

record

list

name

relate

underline

recall

inquire

record

recognize

match

memorize

select

distinguish

identify

label

translate

restate

discuss

describe

recognize

explain

express

identify

locate

report

review

tell

change

rearrange

give example

illustrate

comment

transform

demonstrate

infer

generalize

interpret

summarize

interpret

apply

employ

use

demonstrate

dramatize

practice

illustrate

operate

schedule

shop

sketch

organize

reconstruct

solve

transfer

generalize

choose

classify

calculate

distinguish

analyze

differentiate

appraise

calculate

experiment

test

compare

contrast

criticize

diagram

inspect

debate

inventory

question

relate

solve

examine

categorize

discriminate

deduce

put into list

describe

classify

categorize

compose

plan +

propose

design +

formulate

arrange

assemble

collect

construct

create

set up

organize

prepare

solve +

produce +

judge

appraise

evaluate

rate

compare

value

revise

score

select

choose

assess

estimate

measure

consider

conclude

weigh

criticize

assess

 

 

Verbs Requiring Affective Outcomes

Receiving

Responding

Valuing

Organizing

Characterization

accept

attend

develops

realize

receive

recognize

behave

complete

comply

cooperate

enjoy

examine

obey

observe

respond

tolerate

balance

believe

defends

devote

examine

prefer

pursue

seek

value

codify

discriminate

display

favor

judge

order

organize

relate

systematize

weigh

internalize

 

(Formal instruction does not address)

 

 

Verbs Requiring Psychomotor Outcomes

Perception Set Guided
response
Mechanism

Complex
overt
response

Adaptation Origination

distinguish

hear

recognize

relate

see

sense

smell

taste

touch

physical-

adjust

locate

place

position

prepare

copy

demonstrate

determine

discover

duplicate

imitate

inject

repeat

adjust

build

illustrate

indicate

manipulate

mix

set up

calibrate

coordinate

maintain

operate

operate

adapt

build

change

develop

supply

construct

create

design

produce

 

 

The Case for Authentic Assessment

Grant Wiggins - This article is based on materials that he prepared for the California Assessment Program. 

WHAT IS AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT?

Assessment is authentic when we directly examine student performance on worthy intellectual tasks.Traditional assessment, by contract, relies on indirect or proxy 'items '-- efficient, simplistic substitutes from which we think valid inferences can be made about the student's performance at those valued challenges. Do we want to evaluate student problem-posing and problem-solving in mathematics?experimental research in science?speaking, listening, and facilitating a discussion?doing document-based historical inquiry?thoroughly revising a piece of imaginative writing until it "works" for the reader?Then let our assessment be built out of such exemplary intellectual challenges. Further comparisons with traditional standardized tests will help to clarify what "authenticity" means when considering assessment design and use: * Authentic assessments require students to be effective performers with acquired knowledge.Traditional tests tend to reveal only whether the student can recognize, recall or "plug in" what was learned out of context.This may be as problematic as inferring driving or teaching ability from written tests alone.(Note, therefore, that the debate is not "either-or": there may well be virtue in an array of local and state assessment instruments as befits the purpose of the measurement.) * Authentic assessments present the student with the full array of tasks that mirror the priorities and challenges found in the best instructional activities: conducting research; writing, revising and discussing papers; providing an engaging oral analysis of a recent political event; collaborating with others on a debate, etc.Conventional tests are usually limited to paper-and-pencil, one- answer questions. * Authentic assessments attend to whether the student can craft polished, thorough and justifiable answers, performances or products.Conventional tests typically only ask the student to select or write correct responses--irrespective of reasons.(There is rarely an adequate opportunity to plan, revise and substantiate responses on typical tests, even when there are open-ended questions).As a result, * Authentic assessment achieves validity and reliability by emphasizing and standardizing the appropriate criteria for scoring such (varied) products; traditional testing standardizes objective "items" and, hence, the (one) right answer for each. * "Test validity" should depend in part upon whether the test simulates real-world "tests" of ability.Validity on most multiple-choice tests is determined merely by matching items to the curriculum content (or through sophisticated correlations with other test results). * Authentic tasks involve "ill-structured" challenges and roles that help students rehearse for the complex ambiguities of the "game" of adult and professional life.Traditional tests are more like drills, assessing static and too-often arbitrarily discrete or simplistic elements of those activities.

Wiggins, Grant (1990).The case for authentic assessment. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 2(2).Retrieved February 16, 2004 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=2&n=2 .Copyright 1990, PAREonline.net. Permission is granted to distribute this article for nonprofit, educational purposes if it is copied in its entirety and the journal is credited.Please notify the editor if an article is to be used in a newsletter.
 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated: 9/26/12