Staying up to speed on SLOs

SDCE has institutional, program and course level student learning outcomes (SLOs). Almost all courses have SLOs, and SDCE is in the process of establishing a fifth SLO that reflects SDCE’s commitment to diversity and social justice. An increase in new hires and new courses over the last few years has SDCE revisiting the history of SLOs in our institution as a means of moving forward and Building on Success.  

SLOs are familiar to SDCE. They are the verb-begun statements, often based on Bloom’s taxonomy, that define the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities that we expect our students to master in our classes.  

WASC and the State Academic Senate are committed to moving institutions to a learner-centered model that includes SLOs at the institutional, program, and course levels, and more importantly, to the cycle of assessment where data is reviewed, talked about, and acted upon at all levels of the institution.

SLO Examples from SDCE

In the Marketing For Small Business class, an SLO is to conduct market research to identify a market for a product or service.

In a VESL class, an SLO is for students to use a process approach to write a work-related composition of 2-5 paragraphs or an incident report or a business letter. Each paragraph in the composition or report will include a topic sentence and supporting details.

In the Healthcare Careers program, and SLO is to recognize and develop ways of dealing with categorizing, discrimination, and bias while working in the healthcare careers field. 

SLOs are identified by the instructional faculty involved with teaching the target class. Under the leadership of the program chair, faculty at the program level discuss SLOs for classes specific to the program and develop SLOs based on these discussions. Department meetings provide professional development and the opportunity to discuss assessment results for the improvement of individual courses and the overall program in meeting the needs of our students. 

History of SLOs at SDCE

On October 27, 2008, permission was obtained from the WASC Schools Division to replace Expected Student Learning Results (ESLRs) with Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). The rationale for transitioning from ESLRs to SLOs was based on the need for curricular consistency within the District and SDCE’s desire to develop SLOs at the program and course levels. The adoption of SLOs represents a significant change for Continuing Education and will serve as the foundation for the development of new assessment practices and the continuous improvement of the instructional program.

A taskforce of the Academic Senate was convened in the fall of 2008 and worked to modify the existing ESLRs and convert these statements into institutional level SLOs which were approved and adopted by the Academic Senate on January 20, 2009.

The SDCE Institutional SLOs focused and shaped the discussion at SDCE’s first SLO workshop, Getting Started with SLOs, held January 27, 2009. More than 150 faculty attend the workshop presented by Dr. Gary Williams, which focused on the development of student learning outcomes at the course and program levels.

All departments have program level SLOs, and continue to develop course level SLOs, rubrics, and assessments with students at the center. The overall goal is to complete assessments and use those results to inform and improve teaching and learning for SDCE students.

What’s Next?

Dr. Gary J. Williams, Instructional Assessment Specialist at Crafton Hills College, has agreed to return to SDCE as our motivational speaker on SLOs during Institutional FLEX Day, Monday, February 1, 2016. His presentation will “Demonstrate the use of SLOs, Assessment and Powerful Syllabi to achieve Student Connectedness and Student Success.” Dr. Williams’ lecture demonstration will be followed by a breakout session where faculty gather by program to revisit and reboot their SLO plans. The workshop products will inform the development and implementation of an overall SDCE SLO plan, with the goal of fostering continuous improvement, consistent documentation and a culture of evidence and dialogue.  Many programs have been reviewing their SLOs and Syllabi with the Marne Foster, SLO Coordinator, in preparation for Spring FLEX. A faculty-friendly, student centered syllabus template is being developed for SDCE. If you would like assistance please contact Marne Foster.

Resources

SLO’s Made Simple: Using the Nichols Model to Close the Assessment Loop

Dr. Gary J. Williams, Instructional Assessment Specialist, Crafton Hills College

Mission: San Diego Continuing Education commits to student success and community enrichment by providing accessible, equitable, and innovative quality education and support services to diverse adult learners in pursuit of lifelong learning, training, career advancement, and pathways to college.