Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) at College of San Mateo - Assessment: An Institutional Overview
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Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Assessment: An Institutional Overview

The point of assessment is not to gather data and return ‘results;’ it is a process that starts with the questions of decision-makers, that involves them in the gathering and interpreting of data, and that informs and helps guide continuous improvement.

From the American Association of Higher Education’s Assessment Principle #7
Adopted by College of San Mateo Academic Senate Governing Council 4/23/2013

 The assessment mandate

The Accrediting Council of Community and Junior Colleges’ standards mandate that institutions adopt a process for systematically defining and assessing student learning outcomes at all levels (course, service, program, institution), integrating these assessments into institutional planning, and communicating assessment results.

Responsibility for assessment

The development, assessment process, and analysis of course, certificate, degree, general education and institutional learning outcomes are curricular matters and thus under the jurisdiction of the Academic Senate. While assessment and the analysis of results for SLOs are a responsibility of faculty, decisions based on analysis of assessment results for college planning are shared amongst all constituencies. Interpretation and implementation of SLO assessment shall remain within the purview of discipline faculty and the Academic Senate.

The development, assessment and analysis of SLOs for academic and student support services are under the jurisdiction of the faculty, staff, and administrators of each service area.

College Assessment Committee

The College Assessment Committee (CAC) is responsible for supporting faculty and staff assessment work. Working with the Center for Academic Excellence as well as the Curriculum Committee, the CAC organizes assessment workshops and trainings; reviews activities, policies, and other issues relating to assessment; and communicates the results of assessment activities through flex workshops, division visits and a biennial Assessment Report.

The CAC is an independent subcommittee of the Academic Senate and reports to the Academic Senate.

Due to the extensive nature of assessment, CAC’s membership includes broad representation comprising faculty from various disciplines, classified staff, students, and the Dean of Academic Support and Learning Technologies (ASLT). Ideally, one member of the CAC is also on the Academic Senate and another on the Curriculum Committee. Meets monthly.

Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Coordinator

The SLOAC is a faculty member who serves as chair of the College Assessment Committee and reports to the Academic Senate as needed. In addition, the SLOAC serves on the Curriculum Committee’s Technical Review committee, reviewing new course and program SLOs, and is a member of the Academic Support and Learning Technologies division (ASLT).

Where assessment happens at the institution

  • At the discipline or service level: Discipline, service and learning center faculty and staff organize assessment in their own areas. Assessment plannng is an annual process, and the overall results and planning are summarized and communicated in Program Review. Discipline or service-level planning may also involve interdisciplinary, institutional assessment activities.

  • Faculty senate committees organize assessment activities at the institutional level: The College Assessment Committee, working with the Center for Academic Excellence, offers regular flex workshops for discipline and service faculty and staff focusing on assessing institutional learning outcomes. (Both are subcommittees of the Academic Senate.) In addition, interdisciplinary assessment activities may be organized by the College Assessment Committee working with relevant faculty and staff (for example, embedded assessments in learning communities, student activities, etc.). Results of these are communicated to the campus through an Assessment Report.

 Institutional planning and reporting

Disciplines and services keep track of their assessment planning by completing annual Assessment Plans, updated in Spring.

Assessment activities and results are communicated to the college and community through a variety of ways.
  • Program Review: Discipline and service faculty summarize their assessment plans, activities and results in Program Review.

  • Assessment Reports: The College Assessment Committee produces a biennial Assessment Report, synthesizing themes and trends from Program Reviews, and summarizing other assessment activities across the college (surveys, embedded assessments, student activities etc.)
Both Program Reviews and the Assessment Report are presented to the Institutional Planning Committee, and to Academic Senate. IPC completes an analysis of themes and trends in Program Review, while Academic Senate's analysis of faculty and staff experiences with assessment informs planning, especially for flex activities.