What is SLO Assessment?
At BCC, for each course and program, we conduct original research relating to student learning outcomes (SLO’s) in order to gain insight into how effectively we are teaching and students are learning. We apply the results of that research in order to improve instruction and student services. The details of these research initiatives, findings, and related plans for improvement are stored in Taskstream (see the Taskstream link and instructions for accessing Taskstream, both to the right).
Each SLO assessment uses a specific tool to measure how well students are achieving SLO’s. This tool can be an essay, test, student performance, survey, or other indicator of student achievement. The faculty or other parties (in the case of student services, for example) choose the most appropriate tool and, if necessary (when the measure is an essay or student performance, for example), develop a rubric or other measurement instrument which can be consistently applied, as well as a system for applying the measure with a high level of accuracy; for example, if they use a rubric, multiple raters might score the different criteria, in which case these scores would be compared to ensure their reliability. The sample rubrics and rubric generator available on taskstream (see “Resource Tools” in Taskstream; then click on “Rubric Wizard”) are very helpful in this regard.
After the assessment is complete, those faculty and/or other parties most involved in the specific SLO’s analyze the results and determine how to use them to improve students’ success in achieving SLO’s. For example, they might decide to change or augment instruction in a particular way, change curriculum, or improve future SLO assessments in a specific way. This ends the first cycle of assessment and leads to revisiting the student learning outcomes and starting a new cycle.