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Definitions

What is a student learning outcome?

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Outcomes: Used to describe the anticipated or achieved results of programs or the accomplishment of institutional objectives, as demonstrated by such indicators as student attitudes, knowledge, and/or performance. (WASC Handbook of Accreditation/2001)

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
Student Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes that a student has attained at the end (or as a result) of his or her engagement in a particular set of collegiate experiences. (p.49, Accreditation Standards—ACCJC Standards Glossary)

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges
Student Learning Outcomes refer to overarching specific observable characteristics developed by local faculty that allow them to determine or demonstrate evidence that learning has occurred as a result of a specific course, program, activity, or process.
Outcomes are broader statements of intent or vision that are not necessarily measurable, but observable. Objectives are small steps that lead toward an outcome or goal. Measurability refers to both quantitative and qualitative means of measuring. (p.9, Standards and Practices Committee: Faculty Role in Accreditation.)

 

Monterey Peninsula College

At the course level, an SLO is a measurable or evaluable description of what students are expected to be able to “do” as they successfully complete a course. The word “do,” in this context, could mean, for example, “perform,” “paint,” “use equipment safely and effectively,” “analyze,” “demonstrate,” “discriminate,” “synthesize,” “use the scientific method,” or any number of verbs appropriate for a particular course. Our definition of SLOs emphasizes student performance as a course is completed; it does not imply any standard of content retention or future abilities on the part of the student. Please see the “Tips for Writing SLOs” section for further information.

 

At the program level, an SLO is a measurable or evaluable description of what students are expected to be able to “do” as they successfully complete a program. A program is a sequence or group of courses that lead to something desirable, such as a certificate, degree, or proficiency in a discipline or subject area. Our definition of SLOs emphasizes student performance as a program is completed; it does not imply any standard of content retention or future abilities on the part of the student. In some cases, the program SLOs may simply be a list of the course SLOs that comprise the program. In other cases, the sequence or group of courses are designed to achieve something broader in scope than the sum of the parts. In this case, the program SLOs may be broader and more integrating than the individual course SLOs. Please see the “Tips for Writing SLOs” section for further information. (P. 10, Articulating Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for MPC, approved by the Academic Senate November 29, 2007)