The Nuts and Bolts of Assessment. LAVC SLO Training Spring 2010 Partially adapted from a presentation by Arend Flick, Assessment Coordinator, Riverside Community College District . An Introduction to Student Learning Outcomes.
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The Nuts and Bolts of Assessment
LAVC SLO Training
Partially adapted from a presentation by Arend Flick,
Assessment Coordinator, Riverside Community College District
As opposed to “objectives,” SLOs emphasize application of knowledge (what a student can do at the end of a course of instruction).
They are not discrete or highly specific skills but “complexes of knowledge, ability, and attitudes.”
What is it and how do we do it?
Something you’re already doing, even though you probably don’t call it that.
Not an end in itself, but a tool for educational and institutional improvement.
1. Articulate goals for student learning
2. Gather evidence about how well students are meeting the goals (and discuss/interpret this evidence)
3. Use this information to improve and to make learning visible
To document learning.
To assist in planning and resource allocation processes.
Holistic - performance traits are aggregated and a single score is given to each product
Analytic - each primary trait has a separate score (more useful for assessment)
Identify what learning outcome(s) you’re assessing (e.g., critical thinking).
Identify an assignment that could enable students to demonstrate they’ve achieved that outcome.
Describe the best student product you could expect and the criteria you associate with that exemplary product.
Do the same with clearly inferior work, and then with marginally acceptable and marginally unacceptable work.
Categorize the criteria—a table is useful for that purpose.
Test the rubric, ideally asking colleagues who were not involved in its creation to use it, revising as needed to eliminate ambiguities.
Basic Assessment Rubric Structure
4StrongClear evidence that the student has achieved the SLO.
3MarginalAcceptable evidence that the student has generally achieved the SLO.
2InadequateInsufficient evidence that the student has achieved the SLO.
1WeakLittle or no evidence that the student has achieved the SLO.
Involve everyone in the discipline (including adjuncts)
You don’t have to assess products from every student in every section—a random sampling is fine.
Decide how samples will be collected and who will apply the rubric.
Hold norming sessions with everyone who will be involved in the assessment.
Aggregate the data and DISCUSS THEIR IMPLICATIONS: you aren’t completing the assessment cycle unless you use results to improve teaching and learning.
Sample SLO Assessment
Riverside Community College
Effective use of quotation
Effective use of MLA conventions in citing sources
Effective control over conventions of written English (including grammar, punctuation, etc.)
Suitable choice and conception of topic
Sufficient cognitive engagement with topic
As a model for doing course-based assessment, this approach has been modified to assess learning in other English courses.
English 1A assessment report sent to all English 1A instructors, underscoring evidence that we need to teach and assess quotation and MLA usage.
Workshops on these SLOs in our writing labs.
Discussion and professional development activities on how to teach to these SLOs in discipline meetings.
Development of course handbooks to make expectations clearer and provide pedagogical advice to all instructors.
Consider alternate teaching methods.
Brainstorm with colleagues about their methods.
Reconsider the curriculum itself.
Reconsider the assessment method—maybe it gave you bad data.
Thomas Angelo and Patricia Cross, Classroom Assessment Techniques (Jossey-Bass, 1993)
C. A. Palomba and Trudy W. Banta, Assessment Essentials (Jossey-Bass, 1999)
Barbara Walvoord, Assessment Clear and Simple (Jossey-Bass, 2004)