Outcomes Resources

What is a Student Learning Outcome?

A Student Learning Outcome is a statement about what a student will think, know, feel, or be able to do as a result of an educational experience.

Looking through a telescope

A "student" is anyone engaged in learning

Anyone engaged in learning:

  • Mt. SAC student
  • Mt. SAC faculty member
  • Staff member
  • Parent
  • High School student
  • Campus visitor
students talking

An educational experience

An educational experience can include the following:

  • Topic or Unit
  • Courses
  • Programs
  • Certificates or Degrees
  • Student services
  • Field trips

SLO's are designed and developed by the stakeholders of the course, program, or institutional unit. The assessment of SLO's within instructional and service areas illuminates the ways in which student's learn.

It is imperative to note here that faculty members have the responsibility for SLOs and thus, the authority on how they will be developed and assessed.

SLOs are closely connected to the planning efforts of the institution. When data from SLOs have been analyzed, the faculty and/or the department plan for improvement. Examples of improvements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Curriculum revisions
  • Implementation of new teaching techniques
  • Increased faculty/staff
  • Training for faculty/staff
  • Equipment purchases
  • Software modification
  • Course sequencing

How to write SLO's. Their relationship to Measurable Objectives.

At Mt. SAC, SLOs are similar to Measurable Objectives (MOs). MOs encompass the content of a course. Often, they are expressed in statements about the material that will be taught in a course. SLOs build on the MOs of a course; rather than focus on course content, SLOs focus on the learning that will occur as a result of taking the course. It may help to think of a MO as an assignment in and of itself while a SLO is the educational goal an instructor hopes to achieve as a result of giving the assignment to students.

Hypothetical Example:

Course: History of Rock
MO: Students will be assigned selected readings from the text book, “The Silent Beatle: A History 
of George Harrison”
SLO: Students will critically appraise the influence George Harrison had on the Rock genre.

Assessment Tools

The following are examples of assessment tools. Grades of course embedded assessments are a great place to start, but the story they tell can be incomplete. The outcomes committee encourages the use of both direct and indirect assessment tools. A student survey or student panel are great ways to ensure the  student voice is heard and centralized in this process. 

Direct Measures

Performance Assessments

  • Essays
  • Research Papers
  • Problem sets
  • Oral Presentations
  • Exhibits
  • Faculty Observation
    • Natural setting
    • Simulated setting
    • Role-play