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Course-Level SLO Assessment Process

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Course-Level SLOs (CSLOs) are the outcomes that students enrolled in a course should take away from that course regardless of which section of the course they are in.  For example, even though there are 11 sections of a course like Accounting 001, or 17 sections of Mathematics 110, the CSLOs for each section of those respective courses should be the same.  In addition, CSLOs depend on which Program Pathway a course is in. (See Subjects and their related Program Pathway for a list of courses and their corresponding Program Pathway.)

The CSLO assessment process has three steps (see below), and it is important to know each step in the process:

  • Step 1: Select an assessment tool.
  • Step 2: Score the assessment and prepare a Reflection.
  • Step 3: Input assessment data and Reflection into eLumen.

CSLO Assessment process graph

Select an Assessment Tool

An assessment tool (also called assessment activity) is an assignment, exam, term paper, performance, demonstration, etc. that instructors choose for this purpose.  It could be one for which students will receive a grade, or one that is specifically designated for a SLO assessment.  In either case, the assessment tool should already be completed as part of the course: it is not necessary for instructors to create an assessment tool just to do an SLO assessment.

The assessment tool should be appropriate for a SLO assessment.  In other words, it should be one that allows students to demonstrate all the components of the SLO.  You can "grade" the assessment tool while you are doing a SLO assessment, if your rubric (see below) allows you to do both at the same time.  For more information about assessment tools, please see the "Writing Course-Level SLOs" section of this manual.

Identifying Assessment Tools

For single-section courses (e.g., English 208), the instructor can determine the appropriate assessment tool for the course. 

For multi-section courses (e.g., English 101), it is essential that all sections use the same assessment tool in order to have reliable data about the course.  It is recommended that all the instructors who teach a section of a course hold a faculty meeting to arrive at a consensus about the appropriate assessment tool for the course.

If it isn't possible for all faculty members to gather on campus for this meeting, the Professional Development Center can assist in arranging a web conference which would enable faculty members, regardless of their location, to hold a virtual meeting.

However, regardless of the approach used to gather faculty input into the selection of the assessment tool, a consensus concerning which tool to use must be the objective of the department.

Relationship between SLOs and Assessment Tools

The main goal of selecting an assessment tool is to make sure that it has a clear relationship to the outcome being assessed.  In some cases, the SLO statement itself includes the assessment activity or identifies the assessment tool.  For example, "Write an essay demonstrating academic rhetorical strategies and documentation," clearly indicates that an essay will be used as the assessment tool.

However, in other cases, you must select an appropriate activity that allows students to demonstrate that they have mastered the SLO. For example, the SLO statement for Music 111 is:

"Identify different elements of Western art music styles and place the music within historical and cultural contexts."

To show how students will demonstrate this skill, the following assessment tool (assessment activity) could be used:

The final exam in which students listen to several excerpts of representative pieces to identify different elements of Western art music styles and place the music within historical and cultural contexts

Please see the "Writing Course-Level SLOs" section of this manual for more information about the different types of assessment tools and their relationship with course-level SLOs.

Score the Assessment

Before you can score the assessment, your department must decide on a standard rubric for the course, and the designated rubric should be used for each section of the course.

For single-section courses, the instructor can determine the appropriate rubric for the assessment.

For multi-section courses, it is essential that all sections use the same rubric in order to have reliable data about the course.  It is recommended that all the instructors who teach a section of a course hold a faculty meeting to arrive at a consensus about the appropriate rubric for the assessment and how it should be interpreted.

There are numerous types of rubrics that could be used; however, a department should choose rubrics consistent with the types available in eLumen, which are as follows:

  1. Rubric for one SLO, one assessment tool (activity) and three or more simple performance description levels
     
  2. Rubric for one SLO, two assessment tools (activities) and three or more simple performance description levels
     
  3. Rubric for two or more SLOs, one assessment tool (activity) and three or more well-articulated performance description levels

See the "Creating or Modifying Rubrics to Assess CSLOs" section of this manual for more information.  Departments should maintain soft (electronic) or hard copies of the rubrics for all their courses, which can be printed in order to have a separate record of each student's individual scores.

Preparing a Reflection

The Reflection provides information from faculty about assessment tools, results and recommendations, which become part of the collective input from all faculty teaching the assessed course.  This information allows the department to "close the loop" by addressing the appropriateness of the assessment tool and the necessity of revising curriculum, modifying pedagogy, or obtaining additional resources.

Instructors should prepare a Reflection (one for each course or section), which addresses the following:

  1. Describe the assessment (e.g., student essay, performance) used to evaluate the SLO(s).
     
  2. Describe the results of the assessment and your analysis of what these results mean.
     
  3. List recommendations for improvement. Is student performance satisfactory? If not, how might student performance be improved? If there are multiple recommendations for improvement, what are the priorities? Some areas to consider for improvement include:
     
    1. Curriculum: adding/removing course content, changing pre-requisites, etc.
       
    2. Pedagogy: change course instructional methods, assignments, etc.
       
    3. Student support: tutoring services, academic advising, library, etc.
       
    4. Faculty support: professional development
       
    5. Revision of SLOs

 

It is advisable to first fill out answers to these prompts in a Word document and then copy and paste them into eLumen to avoid timing out and losing your work.

Inputting Assessment Data and Reflections into eLumen

Assessment data and Reflections should be input into eLumen. For more information, see the guide entitled "How to Enter Assessment Data and Complete a Reflection Report Notes" on the OAC eLumen webpage.