Effective Practices in Program-Level Learning Outcomes Assessment

We use this list to guide us when we provide feedback to program’s learning assessment reports.

1. Program Student Learning Objectives or Outcomes (SLOs)

  • SLOs specify what students should know, do, and/or value upon successful program completion.
  • SLOs are meaningful and feasible to assess.
  • SLOs use verbs that express an action and the grammatical subject is students.
  • SLOs make the knowledge/skill/value to be assessed evident and demonstrable.
  • SLOs are publicly available and known to students and faculty.
  • Some (or all) program SLOs align with the institutional learning objectives (ILOs).

2. Curriculum Alignment via a Map/Matrix

  • Each SLO is addressed in a set of required courses and/or activities.
  • Each required course/activity addresses at least one SLO (but typically a course does not address all the program SLOs).
  • Students have enough learning opportunities so they can meet exit-level standards of performance.

3. Evidence

  • The type of evidence collected is appropriate given the assessment question/goal/SLO.
  • Pieces of evidence were reliably and fairly evaluated.
  • Multiple types of evidence are collected over time.

4. Results and Use of Results

  • Results are summarized in a clear, concise manner using counts and percentages, if appropriate.
  • Standards of performance are available, e.g., samples of unacceptable, acceptable, and exemplary student work are available.
  • Criteria for success are established, e.g., the percent of survey responses needed to declare an outcome/goal has been achieved.
  • The (planned) actions and/or changes are congruent with the results.
  • A specific improvement plan (who, what, when) is given if action has not yet been taken.
  • There is a plan to monitor the implementation of the improvement plan and the impact of the actions/changes.