October 18, 2007
I went to the candidate forum last Thursday night sponsored
by the League of Women Voters and our ASMPC.
Excellent evening. All candidates represented. I am now well
Please speak to me privately if you would like to hear my
Should I go to this vocational-oriented, free, SLO workshop?
Progress Report 10-18-07
Outcomes (SLOs) for MPC
for Course-Level SLOs
An SLO is a measurable or evaluable description of what a
student is expected to be able to “do” at the end of a course. The word “do,” in
this context, could mean, for example, “perform,” “paint,” “produce,” “analyze,”
“demonstrate,” “discriminate,” “synthesize,” “use the scientific method,” or any
number of verbs appropriate for a particular course.
Development of SLOs for
MPC courses is totally and completely the responsibility of MPC faculty members,
as are the methods of evaluation of the SLOs, which may be quantitative or
qualitative. Evaluation of SLOs may or may not be part of student evaluation
methods currently in place for a given course.
Development of SLOs for MPC courses is totally and completely the responsibility
of MPC faculty members, as are the methods of evaluation of student attainment
of the SLOs. Evaluation of student attainment of the SLOs may be quantitative
and/or qualitative, and may be part of student evaluation methods currently in
place for a given course.
From the latest SLO document from
It is up to faculty to create and assess outcomes
(utilizing both quantitative and qualitative measures) and to analyze that
evidence to improve student learning and teaching.
From training materials that WASC gives to accreditation
site-visit teams: “As team evaluators look for evidence that the institution is
evaluating student learning outcomes, they will want to think about the
designed curriculum, the
taught curriculum, and the
learned curriculum, bearing in mind
that grades are not the best evidence of student learning. The designed
curriculum is what is in the college catalog and in official course outlines of
record. The taught curriculum can be found in the course syllabi. The learned
curriculum is what assessment is all about—what have the students learned?” SLOs
describe the learned curriculum.
From a chemistry teacher quoted by Janet Fulk: “Outcomes
demonstrate an understanding and application of a subject beyond the nuts and
bolts which hold it together; objectives represent the nuts and bolts.”
What is most important
about all this?
The act of faculty talking to each other about teaching and
learning is an identifying characteristic of a vibrant academic institution.
Incorporation of SLOs into our culture is one way to do this. It also happens to
be endorsed and required by WASC.
From Doug Garrison after attending a WASC training session
for accreditation site visit team members: “The most important
part of determining student learning outcomes is the faculty dialog
involved in examining the designed curriculum [college catalog and course outlines], the
taught curriculum [course syllabi]
and learned curriculum [direct and
indirect assessment]. The focus should not be on compliance. It should be on
faculty discussing curriculum and teaching. Since all disciplines are different,
there is no one way to write an SLO.
Why are we being asked
to do this?
We are required to do this by WASC.
WASC is the last accrediting agency to adopt SLOs.
SLOs are part of an accountability trend currently evident in
all aspects of national and state politics. Our paychecks are issued by the
state of California,
a political entity.
Are SLOs different
Student learning outcomes build upon, but are different from,
course objectives because they represent an over-arching description of what a
student can do at the end of a course.
Objectives represent valuable skills, tools, or
content (nuts and bolts) that enable a student to engage a particular
SLOs represent overarching products of the course.
Objectives can be stated in terms of higher level
SLOs can be stated in terms of higher level thinking
Objectives can often be numerous, specific, and
SLOs are broad statements of what can be accomplished
once the objectives are mastered.
Objectives are written in the course outline of record and
comprise the individual parts that make up the whole of the class. The
objectives are the “nuts and bolts” that hold the product together. The SLOs are
the big picture vision of what that product looks like. Objectives describe the
skills, tools, or content that a student will master by the end of a course.
SLOs describe over-arching goals of what a student will be able to do by the end
of a course.
For MPC, we recommend one to three SLOs per course. If you
write more than three, you’re probably writing objectives rather than SLOs.
Examples from my courses:
Geology: Use observations of rock types and landscape
morphology to interpret basic geologic history and processes.
Oceanography: Recognize major seafloor features based on
their shape and interpret their origin using plate tectonic theory.
Analyze how the earth's oceans are a part of the earth's
systems from geological, chemical, biological and physical perspectives. (I
found this one while looking for internet examples)
Painting: Students will use
appropriate tools and materials to create paintings that synthesize conceptual
understanding of image and content, and contextualizes the role of individual
expression in historical and contemporary art.
Examples found on the internet:
Biology: Apply concepts of chemistry to physiological
History: Evaluate historical myths, clichés, and prejudices
that permeate contemporary US
Criminal Justice: Describe the principles of community-based
policing and apply them to given situations.
Speech: Organize outline, and deliver well-researched
speeches to inform and persuade that are tailored to a specific audience.
Photography: Manually operate a 35 mm camera to create
original black and white photographs that apply principles of exposure and
development to concepts of composition, design, aesthetics, and content.
Piano: Sit at the keyboard so that the body will rest on it
frame in such a way to be able to use one’s hands, arms, and fingers to produce
a beautiful tone with great speed and evenness.
Nutrition: Analyze a documented nutritional problem,
determine a strategy to correct the problem, and write a draft nutritional
policy addressing the broader scope of the problem.
Engineering: Functioning as a member of a team, the student
will design and
present a concrete structure which complies with engineering
Math: Given data students will analyze information and create
a graph that is correctly titled and labeled, appropriately designed, and
accurately emphasizes the most important data content.
Most important thing
If we don’t write SLOs for our courses and programs, somebody
else will. And that would be everybody’s worst nightmare.
MPC SLO Articulation
Unlawful Discrimination, Including Sexual
The academic Senate is
currently reviewing this policy.
A few questions:
In section XIII, you use the
terms “claimant”, and then switch to “complainant”. These two terms have
slightly different meanings. Did you mean to use the two different terms? Would
only one of the terms serve your purposes?
It should be “complainant.” We will change.
In the second and third
paragraphs of section XIII, it talks about revealing the name of the
complainant. Reveal to whom? I thought the whole process is confidential.
To the accused. That section explains the dilemma pretty well.
Also, what about revealing the
name of the accused? Are there any protections in writing for this person? What
if the accusation turns out to be false? It could turn out to be very
detrimental to this person’s career.
The 4th paragraph on page 2 indicates that applicable due process
procedures will be followed – that is where the protections for the accused are.
All personnel matters are confidential.
Finally, on the “Unlawful
discrimination Complaint Form”, I found it surprising that the question, “What
would you like the District to do as a result of your complaint – what remedy
are you seeking?” was asked. Isn’t there a policy about what should be done? Do
accusers have the right to set their own punishment? What if the person writes
down something like, “hang him up by his toenails from the flagpole for eight
days.”? That form is the one
prescribed by the Chancellor’s Office –so it cannot be changed. However,
just because a complainant asks for something it does not mean it will happen.
But it does give the investigator a good idea of what a resolution might be.
For instance, if the complainant wants an apology – that could be fairly
straightforward. If, on the other hand, the complainant wants the person
fired or expelled it may not happen. And the complainant, in many
instances, will not know what the discipline (if any) was – because personnel
matters are confidential.