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Overcoming the Teacher’s Dilemma (Breadth vs. Depth). The American River College Model of College-Wide Course-Level SLO Assessment ***********. Mr. John Aubert SLO Assessment Coordinator, Geography Dr. Yuj Shimizu Faculty Researcher, Psychology. Our Goals Today. Provide background

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overcoming the teacher s dilemma breadth vs depth

Overcoming the Teacher’s Dilemma(Breadth vs. Depth)

The American River College Model of College-Wide Course-Level SLO Assessment***********

Mr. John AubertSLO Assessment Coordinator, Geography

Dr. Yuj ShimizuFaculty Researcher, Psychology

our goals today
Our Goals Today
  • Provide background
    • Our college
    • Our transition to new standards
  • Share our course-level assessment program
    • Development and implementation
    • Integration with institutional planning
    • Breadth vs Depth approach
  • Discuss preliminary results
american river college background and context
American River College Background and Context

5 days…

Located in Sacramento, CA (one of four colleges in the Los Rios CCD)

36,646 unduplicated students

65 academic departments

2,197 individual courses

3,473 sections taught (Fall 2009)

13,318 course level SLOs defined

Accreditation site team arrives in

the slo assessment index
31The SLO/Assessment Index…


The number of times that the word “outcome” appears in the accreditation standards*…

The number of times that the words “assess” and “assessment” appear in the accreditation standards*…

*2006, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges


Accreditation Workshop Today!


Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges


American River College Transition to New Standards



broad, overarching

specific, discrete

Late 1990s: Blooms taxonomy utilized in writing course objectives

2004: SLO creation/revision embedded in curriculum process

The Outcomes vs Objectives distinction treated as a continuum…


American River College Transition to New Standardscontinued…

2004-2006: SLO creation/revision continues

2006-2007: Focus shifts toward assessment

Spring 2007: Reassigned time allocated to develop assessment program

Fall 2007: SLO Assessment Coordinator appointed (20-40%)

our task
Our Task…
  • To develop an SLO Assessment program which would:
    • Improve teaching and learning
    • Address the needs of a large college
    • Be consistent with our campus culture
    • Meet accreditation standards
  • To survive the process…
our guiding principles

Our Guiding Principles…

Respect faculty workload

Rely on faculty expertise

Be flexible

Integrate with existing processes

Practice shared governance

Meet or exceed accreditation standards

what do they want from us

What do they want from us?

Pervasive, widespread dialogue

Assessment which is:

institutionalized and integrated

systematic and continuous (not episodic)

Data analysis which leads to change

Change which improves student learning


our solution

Our solution…

Comprehensive assessment program adopted September 2007

New standing committee formed

Program review streamlined

65 departments divided into 3 cohorts

Cohort 1 entered 1st year (three year cycle)

Substantial outreach and training !


American River CollegeTwo-Part SLO Assessment for Courses<<< Three-Year Cycle for Departments >>>




Part I

Student Self Assessment(every course assessed)

Action Plandevelopandimplement

Action Plancontinue implementation


Part II

Faculty Designed Assessment(one course assessed)


Assessment Cycle Version 1.0







SLOs and Assessment

  • The Problem: Are students learning what we expect them to?
  • The Challenge: How we can measure this in a sensible way?
our solution proposed model of assessment
Our solution: Proposed Model of Assessment
  • To develop a process that would:
    • minimize workload
    • gather data broadly
    • gather data systematically
    • be specific to each course’s SLOs
    • be transparent
    • improve teaching and learning

Course Outline

of Record

Course SLO’s


Course SLO’s

Student Self Assessment-Survey Pilot

student self assessment survey
Student Self Assessment Survey
  • Survey piloted Spring 2007.
    • Fast and Simple
    • Results matched teacher predictions
  • 2007-2008 (1st Cohort): Full term, face to face courses (43% Return Rate)
  • 2008-2009(2nd Cohort): All courses (63% Return Rate)
  • 2009-2010 (3rd Cohort): Now in progress (Return Rate ???)
student self assessment survey1
Student Self Assessment Survey
  • Adopted Class Climate Software by Scantron to administer surveys, store survey data, and to report results (centralized approach)
  • Our approach can be easily modified for a decentralized / departmental approach
survey results
Survey Results

Self assessments/Student ratings can be both reliable (Ross, Rolheiser, & Hogaboam-Gray, 2002) and valid (Cohen, 1981; Fox & Dinur, 2006; Ross, 2006)

criticisms of student self report data
Criticisms of Student Self Report Data

Known biases in self, course and instructor ratings (Dunning, Heath, & Suls, in press; Frye, 2005)

  • Self presentation concerns, overconfidence
  • Class size
  • Class format (Lecture vs. Seminar)
  • Class purpose (elective, major, GE requirement)
  • Class level (intro vs. 2nd year course)
  • Subject matter (Behavioral Science, Humanities, Sciences)
  • Difficulty of instructor grading
  • Liking for instructor
  • “Hotness” and “Ease” (Coladarci & Kornfield, 2007)
interpreting results correctly
Interpreting Results Correctly

SLO 1 →

SLO 2 →

SLO 3 →

SLO 4 →

SLO 5 →

SLO 6 →

SLO 7 →

Look at Relative Ratings, Not Absolute Ratings

typical instructor reaction to student self assessment results
Typical Instructor Reaction to Student Self Assessment Results
  • Instructors typically agree and can make quick sense of the data:
    • Aligns with time spent on each SLO,
    • Realize that they do not teach that SLO anymore,
    • The SLO is at the end and they never get to it,
    • Realize that the SLO is the most difficult part of the course,
    • Written in a way that students would not understand
yeah but

Thus, survey provided

Yeah but…
  • Quick
  • Broad and systematic
  • Sensitive to outliers (produced actionable data)
  • Indirect
  • Lacks flexibility
  • Does not utilize faculty expertise
  • Lacks depth

Airport Security

Screening Device

part 2 faculty designed assessment direct assessment
Part 2: Faculty Designed Assessment (Direct Assessment)

Customized assessment documented on a common template

  • What course and why?
  • What SLO(s)?
  • When?
  • How broadly?
  • How will you assess? (describe tool or rubric)
  • What is the criteria for successful SLO achievement?
  • Who will be administering / scoring?
  • Submitted to the SLO Assessment Committee

American River CollegeTwo-Part SLO Assessment for CoursesThree-Year Cycle for Departments




Part I

Student Self Assessment(every course assessed)

Action Plandevelopandimplement

Action Plancontinue implementation


Part II

Faculty Designed Assessment(one course assessed)

year 2 slo action plan
Year 2: SLO Action Plan

Departments respond to both parts of assessment

  • Part 1: Respond to the Student Self-Assessment
  • Part 2: Respond to the Faculty Designed Assessment
year 2 slo action plan1
Year 2: SLO Action Plan

Detailed Instructions

Action Plan and Instructions approved through an 8 month process

where we are now
Where we are now

Of the 65 Academic departments…

  • 2/3’s have participated in the college wide SLO Assessment process
  • 1/ 3 have completed Action Plans
    • 63 Separate Actions taken/planned as a result of SLO assessment

“The college may be said to have completed the awareness and development levels and one-third of the proficiency level.”

thank you
Thank you!

John Aubert, SLO Coordinator, Geography or 916-484-8637

Yuj Shimizu, Faculty Researcher, Psychology or 916-484-8149