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Center for Teaching and Learning

Focused Inquiry Groups (FIGs) - Title III

Student Learning Outcomes in Art

Area of Inquiry

This, our initial Course-level SLO FIG, had the goal to move 10 Art adjunct faculty in the disciplines of Fine Art, Film, Interior Design, Architecture, and Photography through the outcomes assessment cycle. The stages were the writing of SLOs and rubrics, the assessment of those outcomes, the recording of those assessments in eLumen, and the reflection upon the process. The participants gained new insights on their students, their course outlines, their outcomes, their assessment techniques, and finally, themselves. In addition to this, each participant developed three new assessment approaches, particular to assignments in their classes, to adopt and evaluate, and share the results of which to each other and to the School of the Arts Division as a whole.

Discoveries to Date

The faculty reviewed their course outlines of record, and wrote up to four Student Learning Outcomes, with accompanying rubrics, for each course. The outcomes and rubrics were input into eLumen, Chabot's assessment score analysis software. Participants chose appropriate assignments, exams, or activities upon which to assess students in each of these outcomes in one of their sections. Most chose activities that occurred later in the semester, so as to show a more accurate level of student comprehension and demonstration. The activities were assessed, and the participants entered the data in eLumen. They reflected upon the scores they saw for their particular outcomes, and discussed which new approaches they might try in the future to address whatever areas they saw, where their criteria had not been met.

Before the scoring and review of course-level outcomes however, each faculty member investigated the value of outcomes assessment in project-based experiences. They each chose three projects that they would evaluate after the application of new outcomes assessment practices, and later discussed the results.

For example, one could choose an existing project to introduce in a new way, such as to provide a handout for students that delineates the project’s outcomes and scoring rubric. A student survey could be administered after the project, to obtain student opinions on the usefulness of the original handout in student understanding and achievement of that project. One could choose to score class participation in a more studied, accurate way; based not upon gut feelings but rather upon individual discussions where the student participation was scored. Or one could provide an outcomes and rubric chart for a particular project where students broke into small groups and evaluated themselves on their own understanding and achievement of a project.

SLO/rubric Completion results:

There were a total of 22 active courses in these 5 disciplines taught by adjuncts, in the Spring of 2009, for which there were no SLOs or rubrics developed. After writing the SLOs and rubrics for all the courses they taught, two participants were compensated additionally for writing SLOs and rubrics for the six remaining active courses being offered that semester in their disciplines that were missing these documents.

courses targeted
Total active
courses targeted
Courses completed  
Architechture 6 9 9 100%
Photography 4 7 7 100%
Film 2 2 2 100%
Interior Design 2 2 2 100%
Art 1 1 1 100%
Art (Quest) 2 2 2 100%
Total 17 22 22 100%


This study showed that the Faculty Inquiry Group model worked well as a pilot study to bring faculty from different disciplines in the same division together to discuss teaching and learning. Being adjunct, all of the participants were new to SLOs and assessment as a formal process. However, being teachers who were naturally reflective upon the learning that occurs in their classrooms, as most teachers are, they were able to have very meaningful discussions on the nature of that learning and how assessment is a useful tool in enhancing and articulating it. Being in related artistic fields, which focus on critical thinking, communication, creativity, and exploration, helped to foster commonality and understanding while faculty were grappling with new techniques and ideology. Participants, being adjunct, were particularity grateful for the opportunity to discuss teaching and learning with colleagues. Although the SLO and rubric writing and assessment was necessary and meaningful work, it was the project-based experiments that validated the outcomes assessment cycle’s usefulness as to the enhancement of student learning both immediately and personally to each of the participants. It was these examples that the faculty was able to describe the most passionately and persuasively to the other faculty in the SOTA division, many of whom could be skeptical about the purpose and usefulness of SLOs.

The five discussion sessions helped to bring focus to the group and it’s work, and provided the incentive for the continued participation. It ensured the uniform quality of the outcomes written. It kept the momentum going through the project-based work. Therefore, it was the format and work beyond the introductory session on SLO writing that provided the framework for the excellence of all the work that was accomplished.


  • Carole Splendore - Art, FIG leader
  • Barbara Daher - Interior Design
  • Len Cook - Photography
  • David Hertz - Photography
  • Linda Rhodes - Film
  • Adrian Huang - Architecture
  • Paul Chu - Architecture
  • Keary Kensinger - Architecture (PACE)
  • Peter Wolfe - Architecture
  • Lisa Kokin - Art (Quest)


FIG Proposal

SOTA Assessment Results, Spring 2009

SOTA FIG Student Learning Outcomes Written

Art Class Survey Results

Architecture Grading Rubric

Self-Assessment of "Critical View" Assignment

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