Fall 2018 Flex Day Powerpoint, "Assuring Academic Quality Through SLO Assessment"  







All active courses should be assessed at regular intervals. Each instructional department should arrange all active courses on a three-year assessment cycle using the template on the SLOAC website. In essence, 1/3 of all your courses should be assessed each year. 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 Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness office.

Please note that the template includes a schedule of ISLO assessment in the bottom row. Degree-bearing programs are expected to assess at least one of their courses to concurrently assess the ISLO that is featured that year. Easiest is to do so through Canvas, where you can integrate the relevant ISLO descriptor and rubric. 



An assessment plan is a document that lists your SLOs and identifies your assessment methods, scoring methods, and minimum acceptable performance for each SLO. Ideally the student work that is assessed counts toward the final grade and aligns with one of more of the SLOs. For more efficient assessment, you may want to identify, revise or create a major assignment that enables you to assess all of the SLOs; this approach is recommended but not required.

Your assessment plan is created by entering information in an online platform called the Platform (formerly Tracdat). Each department has a representative specially trained on the Platform who can help you create your assessment plan. You also can download Platform user guides from that site.  

Shown below are the six core elements of a course level assessment plan that you’ll be asked to complete in the Platform. 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 the instructional SLOs checklist   or student service program SLOs checklist   to evaluate their quality.

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 assessment methods.


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 the Platform (formerly 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.

If sampling, determine procedures in advance to ensure a sufficient random sample. 

 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 level analytic rubric, 75% of students will score at least “adequate” on the thesis, organization, development, and grammar parts of the rubric.  
    • Using a four point analytic rubric, the class will average 2.5 or greater in each category.
    • 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

The semester before the scheduled assessment, you may want to run a report that compiles all this information into a single assessment plan to distribute to colleagues teaching different sections of the course.  Your colleagues will be able to plan their courses accordingly, embedding assessment assignments into their courses so that they also can be used for grading purposes.  


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 the following appendix for tips on configuring and analyzing assessment data  . This data should be distributed to faculty for discussions during departmental meetings. The analysis should be entered in to Improve (formerly Tracdat).

 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 the following appendix for action plan examples  .

The Platform (formerly Tracdat) offers action plan options, though the list is hardly exhaustive. Among the possibilities are:

Use new or revised teaching methods;

    • Engage in professional development/ consult with the CTTL;
    • Reconfigure student support service;
    • Conduct further assessment;
    • Develop new evaluation/ assessment methods;
    • Request purchase of new equipment or supplies;
    • Make staffing changes;
    • Revise course sequence or prerequisites;
    • Review course outline of record or syllabus.

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


After completing an assessment, you may want to evaluate it using the rubric