What is SLO?
SLO means Student Learning Outcome. The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has given the following definition: "Student Learning Outcomes refer to overarching specific observable characteristics developed by local faculty that allow them to determine or demonstrate evidence that learning has occurred as a result of a specific course, program, activity or process."
What levels of learning outcomes are there?
Course Outcome: Course outcomes express higher level thinking skills that integrate the content and activities. These are measurable or observable and demonstrate an overarching understanding and application of a subject beyond the specific course content. Outcomes can be measured or observed as a behavior, skill, or discrete useable knowledge and are supported by the content of a course. A typical course may have 1-2 course outcomes.
Program Outcome: Program outcomes represent skills and concepts students will learn related to a specific discipline upon completion of a degree or certificate. These outcomes cut across the different courses in the program. A typical program may have 2-4 program outcomes.
General Education Outcome: General Education outcomes represent skills and concepts students will learn upon completion of the general education requirements for a degree or transfer to a 4-year institution. These outcomes are broad based and cut across the curriculum bringing coherence and connection to the learning experience. Imbedded in these are the greater goals of critical thinking and life-long learning. The GE outcomes are 1) Reasoning Skills, 2) Communication Skills, 3) Global Awareness, and 4) Social Responsibility and Personal Development.
In addition there are service outcomes for nonacademic areas. A service outcome describes the primary service(s) provided by an area and how that service assists or aids the students in achieving their learning outcomes. In cases where the personnel in the area have direct contact with students, the service outcome describes how students directly benefit. In the case where personnel have no contact or only indirect contact with students, the service outcome may describe how what is done assists the faculty and staff in their contact with students.
For example, a maintenance department may enable the faculty and staff to serve students by making sure that classrooms and offices are kept in good condition. SSD may assist students in achieving their learning outcomes by providing any needed accommodations. Academic Affairs my enhance student success by making sure that information is accurate and available in a timely manner.
How is a course outcome different from a course objective?
A course objective addresses the skills, tools, or content that enable a student to engage in a particular subject. They are tied directly to specific course content. A typical course will have 5-7 course objectives and many more lesson objectives.
A course outcome refers to an overarching understanding and application that goes beyond specific course content. It refers to what students taek away from the course that they can use in other courses or in life. A typical course will have only one or two outcomes.
A good way to understand the difference is to think back to one of your favorite undergraduate classes (not in your major). Could you pass the final exam of that class today? Probably not - because you couldn't meet the course objectives. Did you get something out of that class that you used in other classes or that you still use today? If yes, then that is the outcome.
What is a SLOAC?
SLOAC is the Student Learning Outcome Assessment Cycle. It is how we know the student has met the outcome. SLOAC is the process of gathering assessment information and making adjustments based on that data.