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Current Status of Assessment

Institutional Learning Outcomes
Program-Learning Outcomes (PLOs) and Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) by Division
Helpful Links Assessment Progress and Plans

Committee Chair
Julie Coan
Dental Hygiene

The development of this website is supported by the Title III Grant.

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Student Learning Outcomes & Assessment Cycle (SLOAC)

Program-level Outcomes (PLOs)

PLO Assessment Plan

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    Program-level outcomes represent the goals you have for your students, upon completion of the set of courses that lead them through your program.  At Chabot, we started our assessment of outcomes at the course-level, and we are now reflecting on how well our students are achieving the outcomes for our programs through these SLOs. This is currently being done by alignment, which is where the SLO to PLO curriculum alignment matrix comes in. This preliminary mapping is done in CurricUNET, which will allow faculty to aggregate data at the course-level for the purposes of evaluating Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). 

    The PLO Closing the Loop form was revised for Program Review in Spring 2013.  The PLO Closing the Loop form now documents the evaluation and assessment of program level outcomes, which also follow a three-year assessment cycle.  In some programs mapping CLOs to PLOs in eLumen may not be useful or perhaps there is not a suitable capstone course in your program where you can aggregate results from CLOs.  In these cases faculty might consider a qualitative approach, such as a focus group or survey asking the students what they are getting out of your program, would triangulate with the data from the matrix to give you good actionable information.  All of this is consistent with evidence of assessment and evaluation that would appropriately be documented on the PLO Closing the Loop form.

    When reflecting on PLOs, it might help to look at it from the student's perspective.  Do your students get many or all of the outcomes of your program in all or some of the courses they might take within the program.  Then ask yourself, how are they learning that information?  Which of my SLOs support the goals of the program? In this discussion, the program goals and outcomes have been envisioned as the same, however one might want to make the distinction that outcomes are measurable, and a subset of the entire program's goals.  For example, you could have the goal to fundraise for your program, but that would not be a program-level outcome.  Being able to function in the appropriate workplace would, however.



I. About Your Program-level Learning Outcomes:

Discuss your student learning outcomes 

Writing department or program student learning outcomes brings the faculty together to talk about the values and the forms of knowledge and thought that are essential to the program's discipline or interdisciplinary territory. It can be an eye-opener to discover the similarities and differences in the ways that members of a program faculty define what is at the heart of the program and define their educational goals for their students. The richness of this discussion is the first benefit of doing student learning assessment.

This discussion should not be skipped or rushed through. Given time, almost any program faculty will discover shared beliefs about the value of following their curriculum, and shared hopes about how that curriculum will benefit students who move through it. From these shared beliefs and hopes come a set of program-level student learning outcomes --that is, a set of statements about what a student who has moved through this sequence of courses will have learned and be able to do.  The discussion may be organized by one person, but the whole program faculty should participate.

It might help to think of this as an envisioning exercise

Close your eyes for a few moments and imagine what your student is able to do after completing your sequence of courses.  Are they at a 4-year university, or in the workforce?  What knowledge do they have, what skills and abilities?  What can they do?  These are your program-level outcomes!  Now ask yourself, in which courses are the students given an opportunity to develop this knowledge?  At what levels are they able to practice it?  Hopefully then, your course-level outcomes for those courses reflect this.  The course-level outcomes may be in language that is a bit more specific.

Today, we are setting out to name two program-level outcomes (PLOs).  They should be important values for your program, but do not have to encompass all the goals of your program (of course, that would speak to eventually writing more).   They should be aligned to some of your SLOs, but not all of your course material and SLOs need to be aligned to these PLOs to be valid. 

We are not setting out to develop rubrics for these PLOs today.  We believe that assessment takes place at the course-level, and that these PLOs will not be measured directly.  Therefore the PLOs will be measured indirectly, through the CLOs that support, and are aligned to them.  That is why we are locating those SLOs and courses.  This is a way to look at your curriculum, and see if it is supporting the goals of your program, and at what levels are you giving the students an opportunity to practice them: introduced, demonstrated, and mastered.  The definition of these terms will vary by program.

Look at alignment to our Institutional Learning Outcomes

Each department's faculty is the final judge of what students in that department should learn and be able to do when they complete the sequence of courses. It is often a fruitful exercise, however, to look at how your draft program-level student learning outcomes align to the college's vision, values, and college-wide learning goals for students. Different programs will relate in different ways, and each program faculty is autonomous in writing its student learning outcomes. It is likely, however, that comparing program and institutional-level goals for student learning will generate new ideas about your program outcomes and clarify for you the relationship between your program focus and wider curricular concerns. You will want to pay particular attention to goals that are so inherent to your discipline or program that you take them for granted. Articulating these goals will help illuminate the goals of the curriculum, making the task of conducting student learning assessment all the more relevant.

Pause, consider, and refine

Time is always a scarce commodity, but faculty should take the time to get their student learning objectives right. You will base the rest of your assessment activities on the objectives you write. Make sure that your outcomes state what really matters, so that your assessment work will investigate learning issues that really matter.

Lessons from the field

After you have written your Program Learning Outcomes, go around the table at a faculty meeting and have each person identify outcomes about which he or she feels most confident and least confident that students completing the program can meet. This may give you ideas as to which outcome to focus on in your next assessment project. You may, for instance, identify one outcome that most of the faculty doubts that your students can meet. In that case, you might decide to collect some student work samples and look at them to see if a problem really does exist, and, if it does, design and pilot curricular changes to correct the problem.

II. Mapping SLOs to Program-level Learning Outcomes in eLumen:

  • Information on mapping CLO to PLOs in eLumen to come Fall 2013

III. Assessing and Evaluating PLOs:

  • Instructions on running reports in eLumen to come Fall 2013

IV.  Reflections and Reporting 



This page was last updated 04.03.17/p>

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