Newsletter March 2018

Outstanding Outcomes

Why Assess Service Units?

SLO Success Circles

In addition to assessing what students learn in the classroom (SLOs), it is critical to ensure that students receive adequate support services. Classroom instruction and student support services go hand in hand in increasing student success and completion.

What's the Difference Between SUOs & SLOs? 

Service Unit Outcomes (SUOs) are a means of evaluating the services provided by the college’s student support service units. Individual service areas create and assess each SUO. The SUO cycle is similar to the SLO cycle. It provides data to inform planning and leads to goals of improved support services.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) are statements of the overall knowledge, skills, and/or abilities that students attain in courses. SLOs are measurable and provide evidence that learning has occurred.

Who Does SUO assessment?

At CCC, there are eight (8) student support service units:

  • Academic Counseling
  • Admissions & Records
  • Financial Aid
  • Health & Psychological Services
  • Library
  • Outreach
  • Student Activities
  • Tutorial

When Do We Assess SUOs?

Accreditation standards expect “a regular cycle of assessment,” which gives colleges some freedom to decide for themselves. While some service units are reporting results for SUOs once a year, most are reporting on each SUO once every two years. With the new Unit/Program (UP) planning (formerly known as program review) two-year cycle, the goal will be to assess SUOs every other year alternating with the UP planning cycle.

Need Help?

SLO Coordinator Anna Martinez:

SUO Coordinator Erica Johnson:

SLO Super Stars!

History Program – the Value of Ongoing Assessment

While most programs assess each SLO every two years, the History faculty has elected to assess every year. This frequent, on-going cycle of assessment provides many opportunities to experiment with different ideas to improve student learning and determine whether those ideas were successful in a quicker fashion.

How they do it

History instructors use two objective test questions embedded in exams/quizzes to assess each SLO. Part-time instructors may use the questions full-timers provide or their own (as long as they query the same specific material). The program adopted this process after reviewing assessment procedures with adjunct faculty and discovering a situation where some instructors used different terminology in lectures, leaving some students confused by the standardized SLO questions.

History instructors: Jennifer Hanson & Joe Libby 

Once assessments are complete, one faculty member collects and calculates the data. From there, instructors meet to discuss results and determine if adjustments are warranted to improve learning where necessary.

This keen eye on improvement means that History instructors always keep outcomes as a primary driver of their teaching strategies. In fact, History instructor, Joe Libby, describes SLO assessment not only as a tool to improve student learning but to help individual instructors improve their teaching skills as well.

History Assessment Results

Sometimes, results lead to adjustments in instructional methods. For example - for several years, instructors had difficulty maintaining consistency in SLO assessment results for US History courses. Reports would show improvement in some and decline in others. To counter this trend, one instructor exchanged the traditional 1-2 midterm exams for multiple in-class quizzes, paired with weekly textbook quizzes and written document assignments. Students have responded well to this format as it allows them to identify and focus their attention on most of the significant issues of a certain historical period. Since this instructional change, assessment results for these classes has increased 10-15 percentage points above the department target!

Other assessment results sometimes reveal a need for a slight tweak in assessment methods. At the beginning of this spring 2018 semester, History instructors finished reviewing every single SLO assessment question, revising some as needed to reflect the key ideas in each SLO for every course. However, sometimes, assessment results show no changes are necessary and that students are learning material at a target level History instructors have deemed satisfactory.

While yearly SLO assessment and analysis may not work for every program, the dedication History instructors demonstrate toward student success is worthy of SLO Super Star status!

For questions on History’s SLO assessment methods, contact Joe Libby at (ext.6407).