Using Results for Improvement (Closing the Loop)
The final stage of the assessment cycle, the proverbial “Closing the Loop” phase, involves using the data and the discussions from the previous steps to implement changes designed to enhance students learning, improve teaching, and enrich the curriculum and the student experience.
Closing the loop does not suggest that all assessments will require changes. If an SLO is achieved to a satisfactory level, as established by the faculty or outside accreditor, then future assessments may focus on closely monitoring student performance and selecting another SLO for assessment. Over the course of several years, all SLOs should be assessed at least once, but all do not need to be assessed at the same time.
On the other hand, if the analyses and subsequent discussions suggest that an outcome is not being met, changes or improvement actions should be planned for the subsequent year(s) and assessment data collected to determine whether the implemented changes were impactful in helping to increase student performance. SLOs should continue to be assessed and improved until the “loop is closed.”
Below are common changes (interventions) that may be implemented to help enhance student performance.
|Types of Change
|Change prerequisites or general education requirements; Add required courses; Replace existing courses with new ones; Change course sequence; Add internships, labs, and other hands-on learning opportunities
|Provide targeted professional development opportunities; Embed tutors or peer mentors; Add specialized support to faculty (Library, Academic Technology, etc.); Increase support to promote dialogues and community among faculty
|Change course assignments; Add more active-learning components to course design; Change textbooks; Increase opportunities for formative feedback and peer-assisted learning
|Enhance academic support (e.g., tutoring); Add more online resources; Improve advising to make sure students take the right courses; Provide resources to encourage community building among students and between students and faculty
|Enhance the use of the course management system; Improve or expand lab spaces; Provide resources to support student independent research
|Refine SLO statements; Change methods and/or measures; Change where (e.g., courses) the data are collected; Collect additional data; Improve data reporting and dissemination mechanisms