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Learning Outcomes & Assessment Home

Learning Outcomes & Assessment
Student Learning Outcomes & Assessment Committee – SLOAC

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Learning Assessment Status – April 2016, week 4
(Fall 2013-Spring 2016 Cycle)

— = no change since last update  circle_arrow_up_green_small = increased since last update

Course Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):
SLOs assessed: 44% circle_arrow_up_green_small
Courses with at least one SLO assessed: 60% 

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):

PLOs assessed: currently calculating
State-approved programs with at least one PLO assessed: 20%circle_arrow_up_green_small
Certificates of Proficiency with at least one PLO assessed: 14%circle_arrow_up_green_small

Service Area Outcomes (SAOs):
SAOs assessed: 50% circle_arrow_up_green_small
Service areas/admin units with at least one SAO assessed: 77% circle_arrow_up_green_small

Course SLO Assessment Completion by Discipline:*


32% CHDEV 58% ESL 0% LANHT 39% PHIL 50%
ART** 22% COSER 71% FISCI 0% MATH 78% PSYCH 42%
ASAME 10% CIS 11% GEOG 17% MEDAS 9% RADSC 34%
ASTR 25% COPED 0% GEOL 60% M/LAT 18% RLEST 73%
ATHL 73% COUN 69% HLTED 33% MUSIC 72% SOC **
BIOSC 20% EDT 46% HIST 67% NURS 58%
BUS 39% EMT 100% HUMAN 33% NUTR 79%
CHEM 41% ENGL 52% KIN 21% PARLG 77%

Service Area Outcome (SAO) Assessment Completion by Area/Administrative Unit:

Div I 100% Bus Ofc 0% Centro Latino 100% Orientation 0%
Div II 100% Custod Srvcs 100% Counseling 100% Trnsf Cntr 0%
Grants & Programs 0% Library 100%% DSPS 71% Student Life 50%
Pres Ofc 33% Admissions 100% EOPS 0% (new outcome set) Vet Srvcs  50%
VPI Ofc 25% Assessment 50% Fin Aid 75% Learning Center (new area) 25%
VPSS Ofc 0% CalWORKS 100% Hlth Cntr 0%


“Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning.  It involves:

  • making our expectations explicit and public;
  • setting appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality;
  • systematically gathering, analyzing and interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches these expectations and standards;
  • a using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance.

When[assessment] is embedded effectively in larger institutional systems, assessment can help to focus our collective attention, 
examine our assumptions and create a shared culture dedicated to assuring and improving the quality of higher education.” (Thomas A. Angelo)

What is a learning outcome?
Learning outcomes are the skills and/or knowledge that a student can expect to have upon completion of a specific educational task (course, program, degree, etc.). There are different levels of outcomes: course, program, and institutional. There area also outcomes for student services and administrative units.

Every college uses slightly different terms to describe the types of learning outcomes. Merritt College uses the following terms:

  1. Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) to describe learning outcomes for courses
  2. Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) to describe learning outcomes for degrees and certificates
  3. Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) to describe the learning outcomes for all Merritt College students who transfer or earn a degree or certificate.
  • Additionally, Service Area Outcomes (SAOs) describe the learning outcomes for student services and administrative units.

Why are learning outcomes used?
Learning outcomes are assessed on a regular cycle in order to ensure that our students are meeting our stated goals and to continually improve the quality of the instruction and services that we provide.

Who does the assessment work?
Everyone at the college is engaged in assessment work. Click here for a variety of examples of assessment work.

How often are learning outcomes assessed?
All outcomes are assessed at least once every three years. Three years cycles have been developed for all courses and programs to ensure that assessment work is continuous and current.

Where is all of the assessment data kept?
Coruse SLOs are a part of all course outlines. They, along with assessment data, are documented in Taskstream. Taskstream allows collection of assessment data in one location.

Who is charged with organizing assessment work for the college?
The Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment Committee (SLOAC) is charged with keeping track of assessment work, organizing professional development activities, reviewing data, and educating the college. SLOAC meets monthly. In addition, college administration and department chairs play key roles in planning and keeping track of outcomes assessments in their areas.