Student Learning Outcomes Assessment at SRJC
Santa Rosa Junior College has always taken pride in teaching and learning. This is reflected in the college mission:
Sonoma County Junior College District’s Mission is to promote student learning throughout our diverse communities by increasing the knowledge, improving the skills and enhancing the lives of those who participate in our programs and enroll in our courses.
Over the years, formal attention to teaching and learning has moved to the forefront of institutional goals as the college aligns itself with the growing body of educational research, the expanding role of technology, and, most recently, the emphasis on the assessment of student learning outcomes, as reflected in accreditation standards.
In 2002 the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) announced new standards that shifted the emphasis from student achievement (such as completion, persistence, award of degrees and certificates, graduation rates, transfer, and job placement) to an emphasis on direct evidence of student learning through the assessment of student learning outcomes. All community colleges are required to demonstrate their effectiveness to produce and support student learning by developing and assessing student learning outcomes at the course, program, and degree levels.
Implementing the standards has required a major paradigm shift for SRJC. While instructors must still assign students grades in their courses, the new standards call for a formalized approach to assessing the student achievement of the student learning outcomes and using the results towards the improvement of learning. Institutional dialogue and reflection at all levels are an essential part of this process.
Over the years, SRJC has reached many milestones in implementing student learning outcomes assessment.
- The College starts Fall 2012 with Student Learning Outcomes identified for all courses, certificates, majors, and student services programs.
- A College Initiative established the goal of 100% identification of course and certificate/major SLOs, as well as assessment of one sixth (16.66%) of all courses and certificates/majors).
- The Academic Senate approved a resolution endorsing a plan requiring course, certificate, and major SLOs to be identified by March 1, 2012. If not, courses might be inactivated.
- A paperless SLO assessment tracking system was developed in SharePoint and launched in Spring 2012.
- A totally revised and updated SLO website launched in Fall 2011
- SLOs were identified for 79% of courses and 56% of certificates/majors.
- 100% of Student Services program were assessed per the established cycle.
- Course assessment jumped from 60 assessments completed over the previous five years to 260 assessments completed by 2010-11, about 13% of the total.
- An assessment of institutional SLOs was included for the second time in the Fall 2010 Student Survey.
- The Steering Committee simplified its structure by eliminating two subcommittees (program and course committees).
- The process for submitting course and certificate/major SLOs was simplified and aligned with the curriculum review process.
- In November 2010 the Academic Senate approved a new, departmentally-driven, assessment process that required involvement of all full-time faculty according to the departmental plan. Adjunct faculty members would be invited to participate in assessment as well.
- For the first time, “flex” credit was awarded for assessment of SLOs, recognizing assessment as a form of professional development leading to improvement of instruction.
- The Senate established a six-year cycle of assessment, during which all courses and all certificates/majors must be assessed.
- SLOs were identified for 47% of courses and 50% of majors
- A field for listing course SLOs was added to the homepage section of CATE, the SRJC course management system.
- A variety of workshops on the development and assessment of SLOs were offered during PDA days and as flex credit workshops throughout the academic year.
- SLOs identified for 30% of courses and 30% of certificates/majors
- A College Initiative established the goal of 60% identification of course and certificate/major SLOs.
- The Project LEARN oversight committee became an official standing committee entitled the Project LEARN Steering Committee, with equal representation of faculty and administrators, plus two students.
- 100% of Student Services program were assessed, and a systematic, ongoing cycle of assessment was established.
- SLOs identified for 16% of courses and 21% of majors
- Reassigned time for SLO Coordinators was increased to 60%, supporting two coordinators.
- Departmental SLO Workshops were approved for “flex” credit.
- The second edition of the Project LEARN Handbook was published.
- Writing, computation, and technology Institutional Learning Outcomes were assessed.
- The Program and Resource Planning Process (PRPP) was launched, including a section for reporting and reflecting on SLO assessment as well an inventory for programs/units to indicate key courses or services that supported ILOs.
- An assessment of institutional SLOs was included for the first time in the Fall 2007 Student Survey.
- SLOs identified for 2% of courses and 1% of certificates/majors
- Pilot assessment for 1% of courses
- Project LEARN subcommittees for courses and programs begin peer review and feedback process for Learning Assessment Projects (LAPs)
- The Academic Senate endorsed a decision that all course outlines of record must include SLOs.
- Course assessment was launched, with 32 assessment projects initiated.
- A major realignment of ESL and English pathways occurred as the result of assessment projects.
- Project LEARN established three committees (course, program, and institutional).
- Two Professional Development Activities (PDA) days devoted to professional development for identification and assessment of SLOs.
- The SLO website was launched.
- The first SLO Coordinator was appointed with 40% reassigned time.
- A year-long dialogue took place to identify institutional learning outcomes (ILOs), and ultimately seven outcomes were approved that would apply to all students.
- The Institutional Planning Council approved institutional goals for 2004-2006 that included student learning outcomes initiative intended to drive a cycle of continuous improvement of student learning.
- Project LEARN (Learning Enhancement through Assessment and Reflection), the name for the institutional effort to adopt and integrate student learning outcomes and assessment, was launched.