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The Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment Cycle at Cañada College

SLOAC Process at Cañada College

(work in progress)

What are Goals?

  • Goals are broad statements about educational purpose for a specific lesson, course, program or institution.
  • For example, at the institutional level, it can be the mission statment. At the course level, the goal can answer the question, "Why to I have to take this class?"

What are Student Learning Outcomes?

  • Student Learning Outcomes are explicit statements describing knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes that a student will be able to demonstrate at the end (or as a result) of his or her engagement in a particular lesson, course, program, or collegiate experience.
  • Student Learning Outcomes address the learning from the student's point of view: "At the end of this course, the student will be able to ... "

What are Objectives?

  • Objectives represent valuable skills, tools, or content the enable a student to engage a particular subject. The focus is on content and skill important within the classroom or program; what the staff and faculty will do.
  • Objectives can often be numerous, specific, and detailed. Assessing and reporting on each objective for each student may be impossible.


What are Assessments?


Assessments are methods that an institution employs to gather evidence and evaluate quality.
-- ACCJC Standards Glossary

Assessment is the systematic collection of information about student learning and the use of that information to improve the learning and teaching process in the classroom, department and general education programs.
-- Janice Denton (Effective Grading by Walvoord & Anderson)

Other Assessment Terms:


Direct vs. Indirect Assessment:
Direct Assessment collects student products and information on their behaviors.
Indirect Assessment collects opinions and surveys.
Direct assessment is a must for examining student learning outcomes. Indirect assessment may produce inaccurate results, but can be used as a supplement.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Assessment:
Quantitative deals with numbers.
Qualitative deals with verbal summaries of what was found.
Both types of assessments are highly effective and can be used to compliment each other.

Formative vs. Summative Assessment:
Formative Assessment can be used for improving learning.
Summative Assessment is an end-result performance (no chance for improvement).
Formative Assessment can (should) be used in the classroom environment where an instructor can check on student progress, while summative assessments evaluate final products such as exams, final exams, term papers, comprehensive exams, portfolios, etc…

Embedded Assessment: These are types of assessments that make use of what the students are already doing. Usually, this can be thought of as fine-tuning assessments already done in classrooms to make sure they assess student outcomes.

Developmental Assessment: This type of assessment usually tracks students over a period of time. It is mostly applied in 4-year universities, but would be very useful for tracking ESL students in the community college setting.

Authentic Assessment: Also known as Performance-Based Assessment, these would be items or tasks that require students to apply knowledge in real-world situations.


Links within the page





SLOAC News and Activities

SLOAC Process
The Process of Devloping SLOs and Assessments

SLOAC Progress
The Progress here in Cañada College

Links to Resouces, Colleges, and Organizations

A List of Terms

For any comments regarding this site, please email Ray Lapuz at