NOTESN TESO Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges Western Association of Schools and Colleges
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Abstractsis on the assessment of student learning as a means of evaluating and improving the educational effectiveness of institutions. A few examples of standards that deal with learning outcomes are below: Standard IB: Improving Institutional Effectiveness The institution demonstrates a conscious effort to produce and support student learning, measures that learning, assesses how well learning is occurring, and makes changes to improve student learning. Standard II A.1.c: The institution identifies student learning outcomes for courses, programs, certificates, and degrees; as-sesses student achievement of those outcomes; and uses assessment results to make improvements. Standard II.A.6: In every class section students receive a course syllabus that specifies learning objectives consistent with those in the institution’s officially approved course outline. This article seeks to add some clarity to the dialogue between and among member institutions, particularly the faculty members, about what the Standards require. The interpretation and application of SLOs at the course level has generated four common questions: • How do course SLOs relate to learning objectives? • Must SLOs be consistent across all sections/classes of a course? • Must SLOs appear in official institutional documents such as the official course outline or cata-logue? • Must SLOs appear in the faculty members ’ course syllabi? In an ideal situation, intended student learning outcomes should be the foundation upon which a course is devel-oped. Faculty first define the learning outcomes they expect successful students to achieve and demonstrate, and then from those intended outcomes, design the course. Pedagogy, learning environment, and learning support materials all follow from intended SLOs. Where Do Course SLO’s Live? Continued on page 2...