Assessment Process at Fresno City College

Fresno City College fosters a collaborative assessment process which allows faculty and staff to reflect on how well students are learning, as well as to develop and implement plans to improve student learning. The assessment of student learning outcomes (SLOs) at Fresno City College actively engages students in the process. We strive to address equity gaps through data-driven innovation.

Improving Student Learning

Faculty at Fresno City College engage in the assessment of student learning outcomes (SLOs) to evaluate the extent to which students achieve the learning outcomes identified on the official Course Outline of Record (COR). Similarly, Student Services providers assess SUOs to evaluate student activities outside of the classroom. SLOs are regularly assessed based on established timelines, and assessment data are analyzed to inform decision-making at the course-, program-, and institutional-levels. Review of assessment data by faculty and staff may result in curricular and instructional changes, revised service delivery protocols, SLO-based program review recommendations, and data-driven annual planning requests. The SLO Committee encourages faculty and staff to include students in the interrogation, discussion, and assessment of learning outcomes.

Faculty and staff analyze individual SLO assessment results, as well as engage in dialogue about collective SLO data during department and division meetings. Formal assessment reports are completed to document student performance. Assessment report templates generally include a section for outlining specific action plans, which faculty and staff develop to address any identified performance gaps in student learning and/or to enhance the assessment process itself. Actions such as implementing teaching innovations or non-instructional strategies to address barriers to learning specific content may result in enhanced student learning and increased student success. Faculty or staff may also recommend that learning outcome statements be revised for clarity or scope or to represent higher expectations in terms of student learning.

Assessment Cycle and Timeline

In fall 2020, the Outcomes and Assessment Committee (OAC) have made recommendations to assess course-level learning outcomes for each course, at least twice within a program review cycle. The goal of this cycle of assessment provides faculty with data to identify any opportunities to enhance student learning as well as the opportunity to assess the impact of any related action/intervention plans within a four-year cycle.

On a four-year program review cycle, timelines for SLO assessment are developed to document the deadlines for various steps in the assessment cycle:

  1. Updating course syllabi with approved SLO statements as identified in the official Course Outline of Record (COR)
  2. Designing and conducting SLO assessment tools and protocols
  3. Reviewing SLO assessment data and results of any previous action plans with department/program colleagues
  4. Developing new action/improvement plans based on SLO assessments
  5. Reviewing/revising SLO statements based on analysis of assessment data

Faculty Roles and Responsibilities

Faculty play an essential role in the development and assessment of student learning outcomes (SLOs) at Fresno City College. Both full-time and part-time faculty participate in the campus-wide assessment of SLOs at FCC as specified by the collective bargaining agreement. Reporting SLO results according to our college’s policy is considered part of faculty acceptance of responsibility and the maintenance of records.

Department Chairs, Program Leads and Division Deans provide leadership and guidance to the general faculty regarding institutional (e.g., collective bargaining agreements) and regulatory (e.g., accreditation standards) expectations related to learning outcomes assessment. In collaboration with other faculty leaders (e.g., Outcomes and Assessment Committee and the SLO Coordinator).

Department Chairs and/or Program Leads

As leaders of their instructional units or service areas, Department Chairs and Program Leads function as the primary source of information for their peers. With regard to student learning outcomes (SLOs), they provide guidance and answer questions to support faculty through the assessment process each semester/year.

General Information About SLO Assessment Process

For Fresno City College faculty, primary sources of information about SLO assessment are Department Chairs, Program Leads and SLO Coordinator. Leadership for such functions as curriculum development, program review, and program planning, they must ensure that faculty are appropriately engaging in the assessment of course- and program-level SLOs to identify any trends in student learning. Department Chairs, Program Leads and the SLO Coordinator maintain direct communication with faculty to facilitate the updating of SLO alignment grids and assessment protocols and to ensure fulfillment with specific deadlines related to the established assessment cycle. They also facilitate faculty discussions about the results of SLO assessments within the department/program.

SLO Data Analysis and Action-Planning

In addition to individually reflecting on course-level SLO results based on one’s own assessments, faculty engage in ongoing dialogue about SLO assessment at both the course and program-levels during department and/or division meetings. Faculty discourse about SLO results includes the identification of any performance trends based on collective data. Based on the analysis of these collective data, faculty collaborate to develop SLO action plans that can be implemented broadly to mitigate any performance gaps observed program wide.

Faculty may also participate in ongoing discussions about student learning outcomes (SLOs) as a member of the Outcomes and Assessment Committee. The SLO Committee provides guidance and direction for college-wide assessment of SLOs at the course-, program-, and institutional-levels. The Outcomes and Assessment Committee explores provides recommendations in assessment data across instructional programs, as well as facilitates discussions about Course Level Assessment (CSLO) reports.

How Do Outcomes Differ from Objectives?

Objectives address the details in a course and are related to the specific course content that will be covered by the instructor. There will be many individual objectives for any class. This objectives list must be exhaustive enough to meet the requirements of equivalent classes at UC and CSU so that the course will articulate. Objectives tell students what supporting skills, knowledge, and attitudes they will learn during a course that led to mastery of the course SLOs.

Whereas SLOs (student learning outcomes) indicate what students will be ABLE TO DO after completing the course. Typically, there will be about three student learning outcomes for any course or program. An SLO also provides a context for learning and moves toward a means to evaluate the student’s performance. The primary rule to be applied when formulating SLOs is that they must be assessable; there must be some way to measure student success in achieving those goals. Include within the SLO the criteria that must be met for students to demonstrate to you that they have achieved the desired outcome.

Below is an example of Course Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes for a Nutrition Course:

Nutrition Course Objectives:

#1. Discuss differences in nutritional requirements associated with certain age groups.
#2. Describe causes and consequences of nutritional problems.
#3. Identify key factors involved in correcting nutritional behaviors.

Nutrition Course Student Learning Outcomes:

SLO: Analyze a documented nutritional problem, determine a strategy to correct the problem, and write a draft nutritional policy addressing the broader scope of the problem.