Program Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs) are statements describing the knowledge, skills, abilities, and habits of mind students should have acquired by the time they complete a program. These statements are at the heart of assessment activities at the program level. At BCC, the assessment of PSLOs is a systematic, faculty-driven process wherein the faculty of each program decide the outcomes to assess, how they should be assessed, and how the results should be interpreted and used. BCC has developed a five-step assessment process as outlined below. For additional details, please refer to BCC’s Assessment Handbook.
- Articulate the program’s expected learning outcomes
- Map the PSLOs to courses within the program
- Select PSLO(s) to assess and describe how it will be measured
- Gather evidence of student learning and analyze the results
- Create and implement an action plan to improve student learning (or a plan to celebrate success).
Program Learning Outcomes are published in the BCC Catalog on departmental websites. All academic departments are expected to assess at least one PSLO each year. BCC has established a three-step reporting cycle and accompanying reporting templates and timelines. Each step in the cycle is described below. Additional details may be found in the Assessment Calendar section.
Step 1: Development of an Assessment Plan (due in the fall)
The Assessment Plan: (1) describes the PSLOs that will be studied, (2) the course(s) where the assessments will be conducted (if applicable), (3) the methods and tools that will be used to conduct the assessments, (4) the benchmarks (i.e., levels of proficiency) students are expected to meet, and (5) the number of students that will be assessed. Programs will have an opportunity to revise their plans, if necessary, throughout the year.
When developing the plan, programs are not expected to assess every student and/or every course where the SLO is addressed. However, programs should expect to collect enough information with which to make reasonably valid inferences as to how well the expected outcome(s) is being met. This may require gathering data from multiple sections and/or multiple courses. Sampling methods are encouraged so as to make the data collection process less burdensome.
Step 2: Assessment Findings and Action Plan Reports (due in the second fall semester)
After the assessment has been conducted, a Findings report is submitted. The Findings contain preliminary analyses of the results, explain the extent to which the PSLOs were met, as well as an explanation of any changes that were made to the methods employed after the original plan was submitted. Programs are encouraged to provide quantitative and/or qualitative data to support their findings.
The Action Plan describes the steps that have been or will be taken, to improve student performance stemming from the assessments undertaken in the prior year. For example, if the results from the assessment were not met, programs may describe changes to pedagogy, course requirements, prerequisites, equipment, etc. that will help to improve students’ performance. If additional funding is necessary, programs should indicate why the funding is needed and how it will be used.
Step 3: Closing the Loop Report (due at the conclusion of the second spring semester)
In May of year two, the final, “Closing the Loop,” report is submitted. This report describes, in detail, the results of any changes that were made based on the Findings of the assessments conducted in the prior year. For example, this report may include the results of intervention, changes to pedagogy, course requirements, etc.