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Outcomes Assessment Committee (OAC)

Background & History of SLOs at LAVC (2004 – 2014)

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Background

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) "refer to 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" (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges).

SLOs and Accreditation Standards

Accreditation standards were adopted in 2002 to make student learning and student learning outcomes a major part of the accreditation process. In addition, we believe that this process will both document the good work we already do and help us improve student learning.

Our current efforts regarding SLOs are based on the ACCJC 2014 Standards, which are excerpted below:

Standard I: B. Assuring Academic Quality and Institutional Effectiveness

1. The institution demonstrates a sustained, substantive and collegial dialog about student outcomes, student equity, academic quality, institutional effectiveness, and continuous improvement of student learning and achievement.

2. The institution defines and assesses student learning outcomes for all instructional programs and student and learning support services.

5. The institution assesses accomplishment of its mission through program review and evaluation of goals and objectives, student learning outcomes, and student achievement. Quantitative and qualitative data are disaggregated for analysis by program type and mode of delivery.

6. The institution disaggregates and analyzes learning outcomes and achievement for subpopulations of students. When the institution identifies performance gaps, it implements strategies, which may include allocation or reallocation of human, fiscal and other resources, to mitigate those gaps and evaluates the efficacy of those strategies.

Standard II: A. Instructional Programs

3. The institution identifies and regularly assesses learning outcomes for courses, programs, certificates and degrees using established institutional procedures. The institution has officially approved and current course outlines that include student learning outcomes. In every class section students receive a course syllabus that includes learning outcomes from the institution's officially approved course outline.

9. The institution awards course credit, degrees and certificates based on student attainment of learning outcomes. Units of credit awarded are consistent with institutional policies that reflect generally accepted norms or equivalencies in higher education. If the institution offers courses based on clock hours, it follows Federal standards for clock-to-credit-hour conversions.

11. The institution includes in all of its programs, student learning outcomes, appropriate to the program level, in communication competency, information competency, quantitative competency, analytic inquiry skills, ethical reasoning, the ability to engage diverse perspectives, and other program-specific learning outcomes.

Standard II: B. Library and Learning Support Services

3. The institution evaluates library and other learning support services to assure their adequacy in meeting identified student needs. Evaluation of these services includes evidence that they contribute to the attainment of student learning outcomes. The institution uses the results of these evaluations as the basis for improvement.

Standard II: C. Student Support Services

2. The institution identifies and assesses learning support outcomes for its student population and provides appropriate student support services and programs to achieve those outcomes. The institution uses assessment data to continuously improve student support programs and services.

Standard III: A. Human Resources

6. The evaluation of faculty, academic administrators, and other personnel directly responsible for student learning includes, as a component of that evaluation, consideration of how these employees use the results of the assessment of learning outcomes to improve teaching and learning.

Our Assessment Philosophy Regarding SLOs

"The mission, goals and core commitments of LA Valley College all focus on teaching, learning, and student success. In this, we recognize that successful learning means more than memorizing facts; it requires that students be able to apply this knowledge to solve problems, demonstrate skills and to think critically about what they have learned. In the same way, we recognize that measuring student learning is about more than course completion rates and grades; we need to think critically about how students learn and how each component of the college contributes to the learning process" (The LAVC Institutional Assessment Plan (IAP)).

History of SLOs at LAVC (2004 – 2014)

In spring 2004, the first Valley College SLO Committee was formed in response to accreditation standards in order to facilitate campus-wide assessment initiatives. Workshops were held through Opening Day, speakers, and the STARS program. The SLO Committee developed college-wide SLOs and a few academic departments developed course outcomes. Our progress on SLOs was, however, modest.

In June 2007, we learned that the ACCJC had reaffirmed our accreditation with the requirement that the college complete two Progress Reports to address certain recommendations, two of which involved SLOs. The District recommended involving SLOs in faculty evaluations. At the campus level, we needed to address the recommendation to "accelerate the continued development and assessment of student learning outcomes at the course, program, certificate and degree levels to ensure continuous improvement" (as articulated at the February 24, 2010 meeting of the LACCD Board of Trustees Planning and Student Success Committee).

From 2007–2014, methods for evaluating SLOs were established by the disciplines, departments, programs and service areas (Student Services, Administrative Services, and the President's Office), and a SLO Campus Coordinator was appointed to be responsible for overseeing all SLO-related activities on campus, including chairing SLO committees, coordinating SLO activities, and representing the SLO committees on important shared governance committees.

The SLO Coordinator was also responsible for conducting ongoing training sessions at various levels (e.g., committee, discipline, and individual) and for representing the campus at the District and State level with regard to SLO matters, including aiding the campus Accreditation Liaison Officer in preparing annual SLO reports and assisting with the self-study as needed in the accreditation cycle.