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Steps, Tips and Worksheets




Crafting SLOs      Crafting SLOs   
Designing Assessment Plans to Strengthen Student Learning      Designing Assessment Plans  
Analyzing and Acting on Assessment Results      Analyzing and Acting on Results  





All active courses should be assessed at regular intervals. Therefore, by the end of spring 2013, each instructional department should arrange all active courses on a three-year assessment cycle using the template. In essence, 1/6 of all your courses should be assessed each semester. Your dean will work with you to identify courses that aren’t offered every semester, as well as courses you may want to bank or delete. Your three-year calendar should be submitted to participating department faculty members, your Dean, and the Office of Instruction.

Please note that the template includes a schedule of ISLO assessment in the bottom row. If one of your courses maps up to a given ISLO, schedule its assessment the same semester as the ISLO assessment since you may be asked to participate in its assessment. Thus you may be able to fulfill a course level and ISLO assessment.



An assessment plan is a document that lists your SLOs and identifies your assessment methods, scoring methods, and minimum acceptable performance for each SLO.

Your assessment plan is created by entering information in an online platform called TracDat. Each department has a representative specially trained on TracDat who can help you create your assessment plan. You’ll also find a link to a TracDat user guide on the Skyline College SLOAC website.

Shown below are the six core elements of a course level assessment plan that you’ll be asked to complete on TracDat. Answering these core questions in advance will help you move through the process of creating an assessment plan:

A. SLO Name-- a short-hand title for the student learning outcome

B.SLO-- what the student is expected to do and/or know at the end of the course

An SLO contains three primary characteristics:

    • States what a learner will be able to do upon successful completion of a course, program, service, and/or degree or certificate;
    • Is expressed using active verbs  , and as such, incorporates any or all of the domains of learning (cognitive, psychomotor, or affective);
    • Is assessable and measurable.

See Appendixes G and H   for worksheets to generate SLOs for instruction.

See Appendixes I and J   for worksheets to generate SLOs for student services.

See Appendix F   for a checklist to evaluate the quality of your SLOs.

C. Assessment Method Category-- the major assignment or activity that will be used for assessment (e.g. exam, essay, presentation, performance, survey, project, etc.)

See the table   for a list of direct and indirect methods to assess on the course level.


D. Assessment Method-- a description of the assignment or activity as well as the scoring method that will be applied and used to gather data (e.g. a rubric, check list, Likert scale, etc.)

Only a brief description fits directly in TracDat, but any details, or a copy of the assignment as the students would see it, may be loaded into the document repository. Uploaded documents will be available as   hyperlinks on the assessment report.

If you are using an exam or survey, identify which questions apply to which SLOs. Similarly, if you are using a rubric, indicate which parts of the rubric apply to which SLOs.

 E. Success Criterion-- the benchmark level of student achievement that is desired

What are the performance standards that determine whether or not a student has achieved a given level of knowledge or skill proficiency? How do you know when a student has achieved the knowledge, skill, or ability the SLO seeks to impart?

    • Using a five point analytic rubric, at least 75% of students will earn a minimum of 20 points on the final essay. 
    • Using a four point analytic rubric, the class will average 2.5 or greater in each category.
    • Using a four level analytic rubric, 75% of students will score at least “adequate” on the thesis, organization, development, and grammar parts of the rubric.           
    • At least 70% of the class will correctly answer each of the three common multiple choice questions that are embedded in every section’s final exam.

F. Schedule-- which semester and year this course will be assessed


For good models of assessment, see SLOAC Examples.



Drafting SLOs and assessing are only the beginning; the substance in assessing lies primarily in analyzing the data and crafting an action plan, should students fall below the benchmark established in the success criteria.

 Thus, to complete the assessment cycle, first analyze the data with your colleagues, considering the following questions.

  • In which areas did students excel? 
  • What issues and needs were revealed?
  • How do the results compare to any baseline or benchmark data previously collected?
  • What insights can you gain from the results?
  • Did the assessment work, and if not, what needs to be revised?

See Appendix S   for tips on configuring and analyzing assessment data.

 Based on your analysis of the assessment results, craft an “action plan” with your colleagues: what changes to pedagogy or assessment are warranted, and/or what additional resources are needed to implement these changes and others. An effective action plan should:

  • Address assessment results;
    • specific actions plans are connected to specific SLOs and assessment results
    • Provide specifics so that it is clear what will take place;
      • a plan includes what, when, where, & how
    • Inform the next cycle of assessment;
      • your next assessment might measure the effectiveness of your action plan to impact student learning

See Appendix T   for action plan examples.

TracDat offers action plan options, though the list is hardly exhaustive. Among the possibilities are:

  • Conduct further assessment;
  • Use new or revised teaching methods;
  • Develop new evaluation methods;
  • Plan purchase of new equipment or supplies;
  • Make staffing changes;
  • Engage in professional development;
  • Revise course sequence or prerequisites;
  • Review course syllabus or outline.

Any proposed changes in assessment, pedagogy, or plans to request additional resources should be recorded on TracDat under “Action Plan,” and the annual program planning document or the comprehensive program review.