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Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)
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.

Committee on Teaching and Learning

The Committee on Teaching and Learning (CTL) oversees, coordinates, and reports on activities that promote continuous improvement in teaching and learning. The CTL is an independent subcommittee of the Academic Senate and reports to the Academic Senate. The CTL supports the Academic Senate's goals and the college's institutional priorities by collaborating on professional development activities, promoting practices for assessing student learning and success, and advancing the mission of the CSM library. Due to the extensive nature of assessment, CTL’s membership includes broad representation comprising faculty from various disciplines, classified staff, students, and the Dean of Academic Support and Learning Technologies (ASLT). The Committee meets monthly.

Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Coordinator

The SLOAC is a faculty member who serves as chair of the Committee on Teaching and Learning 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).

Research Inquiry and Institutional Effectiveness Manager

The Research Inquiry and Institutional Effectiveness Manager within the Office of PRIE coordinates institutional assessment and effectiveness activities including the development and maintenance of SLO plans, their documentation, reporting of results, and assurance of continuous improvement. In collaboration with Academic Senate, the Manager ensures that assessment processes are tied to program review and integrated planning processes.

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 and PRIE organize assessment activities at the institutional level
    The Committee on Teaching and Learning and the Research Inquiry and Institutional Effectiveness Manager offer regular flex workshops for discipline and service faculty and staff focusing on assessing institutional learning outcomes. In addition, interdisciplinary assessment activities with relevant faculty and staff may be organized (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 biennual Assessment Plans. 
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 Committee on Teaching and Learning 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.