What is the difference between evaluation and SLOA? Isn’t grading considered SLOA?

Student Learning Outcomes Assessment (SLOA) is analysis and use of data to make improvements in performance. Feedback is a form of assessment since it often provides suggestions for students to improve. This type of assessment is called formative assessment, and it also provides feedback to the teacher for the purpose of improving instruction or other aspects of the teaching process. Evaluation is analysis and use of data to make judgments about performance. It is a culminating (summative) assessment which provides information about the students mastery of content, knowledge or skills. An example of summative assessment is grades.

What if my discipline assesses student work and my students don’t do well?

One barrier to assessment is the fear that the discovery that students are not performing well will reflect poorly on the instructor. It is important to note that the goal is to assess student learning, not teachers. The important thing is to measure how well students do and make improvements, not judgments. To help reassure instructors that they are not being assessed as instructors, faculty can elect to keep information about students and instructors anonymous and design their data collection to keep information as private as possible.

Does student learning outcomes assessment (SLOA) affect my academic freedom?

Assessment is about faculty asking the question “Are my students learning what I want them to learn?” and collecting information to determine what changes will help improve student learning in the future. This process does not dictate how faculty choose to deliver course content or determine grades for students. To gather information about how students are doing across multiple sections, the use of common assessment instruments are encouraged. Such an instrument should be designed by the faculty teams who wish to use them, and should be a consensus to using a particular instrument.

Do we have to use rubrics? Do we have to collect quantitative data?

Rubrics were suggested as an instrument to provide consistent scoring of student work, especially when multiple sections or multiple instructors are involved. It is not mandatory to use rubrics or provide quantitative data. The assessment designed by disciplines should collect data (whether quantitative or qualitative) and the data should be analyzed to make claims about student learning. This can be done in many ways. The Assessment Coordinating Team may be able to help with designing assessments, collecting data and analyzing data that is qualitative or quantitative.

Do we have to assess course outcomes or can we just assess gen ed outcomes?

Some course outcomes address specific gen ed outcomes so it is helpful to address both simultaneously. Suppose you have an assignment on the scientific method. Not only does it address the course content on scientific method, but it could also address the gen ed requirement for creative and critical thinking.