Frequently asked questions
- What are student learning outcomes (SLOs)?
- Who writes SLOs?
- Why are SLOs important?
- How do SLOs affect me?
- What are the SLOs for AHC?
- Will my outcomes be used in my evaluation?
- Isn’t this just a fad that will pass?
- Who is going to collect these data from instructors?
- Who do I contact for help?
- Why should I participate in this if I am not an instructor?
What are student learning outcomes (SLOs)?
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) defines outcomes as:
The anticipated or achieved results of programs or the accomplishment of institutional objectives, as demonstrated by such indicators as student attitudes, knowledge, and/or performance. (WASC Handbook of Accreditation/2001)
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) defines SLOs as:
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. (p.49, Accreditation Standards—ACCJC Standards Glossary)
The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges defines SLOs as:
Overarching specific observable characteristics developed by local faculty that allow them to determine or demonstrate evidence that learning has occurred as a result of a specific course, program, activity, or process.
Outcomes are broader statements of intent or vision that are not necessarily measurable,
but observable. Objectives are small steps that lead toward an outcome or goal. Measurability
refers to both quantitative and qualitative means of measuring. (p.9, Standards and
Practices Committee: Faculty Role in Accreditation.)
Who writes slos?
- Student Services staff
- During retreats and workshops, department meetings, and as part of the program review annual update process. SLOs may be modified during the assessment cycle.
why are slos important?
- They represent a shift in focus for the college from teaching-centered instruction to student-centered learning and provision of service.
- They tell us whether students are learning what we want them to learn.
- They affect classroom instruction methods, assessments, and outcomes/service delivery.
- They are used as a basis for determining budget allocations to departments, and for supplying staff needs.
- Accreditation will use them to measure what our students gain from instruction and services and as a measure of institutional effectiveness.
How do SLOs affect me?
- Instructional and student services SLOs have been developed by your department. You are expected to design your instruction/service so that your students can achieve and demonstrate the identified outcomes.
- Certain measures for assessing student performance in courses are expected to be administered by each faculty member teaching a course.
- Certain measures from your student performance assessments will be culled to help measure program success.
What are the SLOs for AHC?
- Institutional Learning Outcomes are available on the outcomes page of this website.
- Degree and certificate outcomes are listed in the college catalog.
- Course SLOs are available on eLumen and will be listed in the course outline of record. Locate eLumen via myHancock/Faculty Tab/Assessment & Institutional Effectiveness Channel Course SLOs should be listed in each course syllabus so that students are aware of them.
Will my outcomes be used in my evaluation?
You will use the feedback you obtain from your student learning outcomes to improve your teaching. In evaluation, AHC is looking for you to work toward becoming the best instructor you can be. If you are responding to the feedback about your students’ performance with changes to promote learning you are excelling as an instructor. You are not going to be required to report individual instructor data.
Isn’t this just a fad that will pass?
Definitely not. This is a global paradigm shift in education that is asking us to put student learning at the center of everything that we do. To ensure that we are quickly responding to the needs of learners. To do this, we must shift from viewing our activities from what the instructor does to what the student learns. Scholarship and practice is showing that this model is much more effective and efficient in improving learning.
Who is going to collect these data from instructors?
Instructors can input their own data directly into eLumen software, which can be found on myHancock/Work Tools or Faculty Tab/Assessment & IRP/eLumen. This software will then aggregate the data for AHC's annual report to ACCJC.
Who do I contact for help?
The Learning Outcomes & Assessment Committee (LOAC) is an on-going committee that meets monthly, each semester. All members of this committee are available for support of the implementation of the SLO process. In addition, the campus provides a SLO coordinator for both instruction and student services and there are identified departmental SLO liaisons to assist you. SLO and assessment related professional development is offered frequently through each semester. Trainings and conferences opportunities arise frequently so contact the Learning Outcomes Analyst for more information or to schedule individual training.
Why should I participate in this if I am not an instructor?
Student learning experiences don’t just occur in the classroom. Support for learning is required across the college community. For example, students need to be able to readily utilize the available resources in the library. Every one of us is here to improve student learning. The challenge is knowing how to directly improve our work and our processes to have that impact.
Feel free to submit any question not addressed here to the Learning Outcomes Analyst.