Student Learning Outcomes Office of the System Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs Michael Ralph, Ph.D. Interim Vice President, SUS Student Learning Outcomes To order our thinking about student learning outcomes and SLO planning, a good starting point is to develop a student learning outcomes assessment logic as illustrated in the logic step model Student Learning Outcomes Key Questions: Where do we start our thinking about student learning outcomes (SLO)? (Answer: at the beginning, we start by defining them) Okay, how do we define SLOs? (emphasize integrated learning) At what different levels can we organize SLOs? (at the inst/prog. mission, curriculum level, syllabus level, instructional level, quizzes, exams) How do we assess and evaluate SLOs? (use key principles) Now what? (feedback loop) Use the results of our evaluation and assessment to refine SLOs at various levels Student Learning Outcomes To order our thinking about student learning outcomes and SLO planning, a good starting point is to develop a student learning outcomes assessment logic as illustrated in the logic step model How do we order Our Thinking about Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)? Student Learning Outcomes Defining SLOs: Student “learning outcomes are essential and enduring knowledge, abilities (skills) and attitudes (values, dispositions) that constitute the integrated learning needed by a graduate of a course or a program.”1. This definition differs from more traditional academic approaches by focus on the integration and the development of more general abilities ____________________________ 1. Definition by Mark Battersby and the Learning Outcomes Network, Center for Curriculum, Transfer and Technology, February 1999 Student Learning Outcomes What recommends and makes this definition desirable is its focus on: A curriculum - what students need to know and be able to do as determined by student and societal needs not disciplinary tradition What students should be able to do (application) rather than merely what knowledge they possess as a result of the experience of a course or program Placing importance on the development and assessment of generic abilities Student Learning Outcomes Writing useful Outcomes Consistent with the logic step model illustrated earlier, after understanding and defining SLOs we may begin the process of identifying or writing SLOs for various levels The curriculum Program Course Course module Exam Student Learning Outcomes Checklist for writing useful outcomes: 1. Is your focus on outcomes and not processes? 2. Have you started each outcome with an action verb? 3. Have you used only one action verb per outcome? 4. 5. 6. Avoided vague verbs such as know and understand? Used verbs used reflect the level of learning required? Ensured that outcomes are observable and measurable? 7. Written the outcomes in terms of what the learner does, not what the instructor does? 8. Checked that the outcomes reflect knowledge, skills, or attitudes required in the workplace? 9. Included outcomes that are woven into the entire course (such as work effectively in teams) Yes No Student Learning Outcomes Checklist for writing useful outcomes (cont’d): 10. Checked that there are the appropriate number of outcomes (no more than three per major topic)? 11. Listed the sub-outcomes for each outcome? 12. Ensured that the outcomes fit within program and course goals Yes No Student Learning Outcomes Assessing and evaluating SLOs Key principles: Clarity – Prior to performance evaluation students should be clear about what they are expected to know and how they are expected to know it SLO assessment should comprise: Frequency – multiple measures of Variety - Writing, oral presentations, visual presentations, paper and student performance pencil tests, take home tests, independent work, group work Student Learning Outcomes Assessing and evaluating SLOs (cont’d) Key principles: Novelty – creative demonstrations and applications by students of knowledge they have gained in new situations Mastery – Using pre, intermediate and post assessment activities an instructor can have a realistic measure of the value added at each stage and determine to what extent students have mastered the content area Student Learning Outcomes Useful student learning outcomes assessment produces important results that can be critical in improving the teaching learning experience. Feedback can thus help to: Enhance institutional effectiveness Enhance accountability reporting Enhance curriculum effectiveness Enhance syllabi content Enhance instructional delivery Enhance SLO assessment Student Learning Outcomes A comprehensive way of developing, managing, and assessing and using the results of Student Learning Outcomes evaluation to refine and improve learning experiences is through a SLO Assessment Plan. 2. This plan organizes and provides useful guidance for application in a higher education institutional setting 2.The plan that follows was modified and refined by Michael Ralph, P.h.D. using a basic framework recommended by Peggy L. Maki, Senior Scholar at the American Association for Higher Education Student Learning Outcomes Developing an Effective SLO Plan A. State expected outcomes Examples: Stds will able to integrate Stds will demonstrate the ability to identify, evaluate and access Stds will apply models of ----to -------- B. Where are expected outcomes addressed Example in: Courses Programs Services Internships Community service projects Work experiences Independent studies C. Methods & Criteria to Assess outcomes D. Level of expected performance Examples: Tests & Quizzes Writing samples Collaborative problem-solving project Portfolio Performance Simulation Focus Group Examples: Numerical score on a national exam Numerical score on a licensure examination Holistic score on ability to solve problems Mastery level score on a final project E. Collect baseline information Using: Standardized tests Locally designed tests In-class writing In-class case study Portfolio Performance Student Learning Outcomes Identifying Targeted Students, Schedules and Responsibility A. Determine whom you will assess Examples: All students Student cohorts, such as: At risk students Students in academic developmental programs Students with low SAT/ ACT scores First-Time Full-Time freshmen Students entering their senior year Students completing developmental programs B. Establish a schedule for Assessment Examples: Prior to enrollment At the end of a specific Semester At the completion of a required set of courses Upon the completion of a certain number of credits At program completion At the completion of an internship At the completion of a course of studies E. Collect baseline information Examples: Internal Evaluators: Faculty on a program team Faculty on an interdisciplinary team Assessment committee Writing Center faculty Testing Center Staff External Evaluators: Faculty from partnering institutions Agency representatives Sponsors of various academic awards Student Learning Outcomes Using SLO Results and Feedback to Continuously Improve and Upgrade Teaching and Learning A. Determine how Teaching & Learning approaches and content will be revised Examples: All students Student cohorts, such as: At risk students Students in academic developmental programs Students with low SAT/ ACT scores First-Time Full-Time freshmen Students entering their senior year Students completing developmental programs B. Disseminating and discussing SLO assessment and evaluation Examples: Curriculum design committee Academic disciplinary areas Academic accountability and stewardship officials Institutional Effectiveness committees Program and institutional accreditation teams C. Continuation of SLO Assessment and Evaluation Example: After all revisions in curricula, programs, syllabi courses, delivery of instruction and assessment have been implemented … , Begin a new SLO Assessment Cycle Student Learning Outcomes Accountability and Reporting Indicators Graduation Rates (current, over ten years) Retention Rates Minority participation Programs accredited Percentage passing the PRAXIS Exams Percentage passing Nursing Board Exams Percentage passing other professional & certification exams Percentage enrolling into graduate schools Words to Ponder “Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations and standards; and using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance.” 3. _____________________________________________ 3.Dr. Tom Angelo, Reassessing (and Defining) Assessment. The AAHE Bulletin, 48(2), November 1995, pp.7-9. Words to Ponder “Assessment is like learning in that it will never be completed. We will just work to get better and smarter at it so that our students will demonstrate higher levels of competencies.” 4. _____________________ 4.Dr. Richard Drum, Vice President for Learning Services at AWC in his Focus on Assessment Report, April, 2001.