Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about learning outcomes assessment? We have answers.
Yes. The Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC) and the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) mandates that learning outcomes and standards of performance are developed and regularly assessed for courses, programs, certificates and degrees (WASC Standards 2.3, 2.4.; ACCJC Standards I.B, II.A).
There is no accreditation standard or clause in the Chaffey College collective bargaining agreement that specifies learning outcome results may be used to assess professors’ performance. ACCJC deleted Standard III.A.6, effective January 2018, that the results of the assessment of learning outcomes can be used as a component of faculty evaluation. Chaffey’s contract agreement specifies that one of faculty’s professional service duties is participation in the development and implementation of student learning outcomes (18.2.3).
No. Learning outcomes (LOs) need to be assessed at least once over a three-year cycle. The number of LOs and which courses should be assessed, who should assess, and when/how that assessment should take place, is determined by the faculty members in the department.
It depends. If you have two or three sections, then it is advised to assess all sections. However, if you have 40 sections, then it is advisable to determine a sample size.
All student support program outcomes need to be assessed at least once over the three-year cycle. The who, what, when, and how to assess will be determined by student support professionals and staff members in the department.
The Outcomes and Assessment Committee recommends having a minimum of three, but no more than five, learning outcomes per course and for each program/certificate. The number of learning outcomes should be manageable and not too complicated that it’s difficult to assess in the three-year cycle. If a course, for example, has seven learning outcomes, this might be a good time to reevaluate the quality of learning outcome statements and to verify if the statement is, in fact, a learning outcome and not a learning objective. Although these are recommendations, the number of learning outcomes is ultimately determined by each individual program and may be based on professional association requirements, certification guidelines, accreditation committee recommendations or state licensing requirements.
Institutional Learning Outcomes can be found on this website.
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) are found in the Chaffey College Catalog and are listed under “Program of Study.” PLOs are also in Taskstream, Chaffey’s online assessment management system.
Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) are found in each course’s syllabus and CLOs can also be found in Taskstream.
Although grades have some overlapping properties with assessment (e.g., rubric, criteria), grades are not necessarily a reliable measure of skills or ability. Course grades represent an individual student’s evaluation of student performance and achievement. Grading criteria may include other components that are not measurable of learning outcomes, including homework completion, effort and progress, positive-attendance, or participation. Grades inform us that learning took place, but they do not give enough information on specific strengths and improvement areas of student learning. For example, students who earned a B in a course may have low competency in one skill set area. Assessment goes beyond grades and is improvement focused and examines student learning across sections and across a program. Assessment informs instructional decisions, such as curricula revisions or changes, learning strategies and teaching methods, rethinking Guided Pathways program mapping, or the types of professional development training.
Taskstream is Chaffey’s online assessment management system, and it provides a platform to enter program and course learning outcomes, and assessment plans and findings.
If you are new to the system, you will need a Taskstream account. Contact Tara Paul at Tara.Paul@chaffey.edu or 909.652.6135 to help you set up an account. Make sure you have your employee ID ready.
Once your Taskstream account is set up, you can go directly to https://login.taskstream.com/signon/ or click on the Taskstream icon.
Logging in for the first time? Your user name is your full Chaffey email address, and you will need to select the "Forgot Login" button on the bottom left corner of the purple box to reset your password.
Whether or not the criterion is met is not as important as what we do with the information we learn from the assessment. It is more important that we learn something to help us improve our instruction and/or student support services rather than whether we met the criterion or outcome.
No. Chaffey College is committed to quality assessment standards and continuous quality improvement. Assessment standards should be maintained through different modalities and different methods for instruction, including traditional face-to-face, fast track, dual enrollment, hybrid, and online. Instead of changing a learning outcome to meet a criterion, explore new online tools or instructional technologies to increase productivity, improve communication, modify or try new teaching methods, or review high-quality education resources.
The Department may want to incrementally increase the criterion for success each time the learning outcome is assessed until 90% or more of the students meet the expected level of performance. If the 90% criterion of success is met in a consecutive assessment cycle, then a department should measure the learning outcome in another setting, in different methods for instruction, or begin to measure a different learning outcome.
A Chronological Assessment Plan (CAP) is a learning outcomes assessment schedule. A CAP is a department specifying when (semester and year) learning outcomes will be assessed. Discipline faculty members and student support professionals decide how to proceed with their assessment schedules. For example, if an instructional program has six courses, they may decide to assess two courses’ learning outcomes in the fall, and then report findings and close the loop in the spring for those two courses. They would repeat the process for the 2nd subsequent year for two more courses’ learning outcomes, and then repeat the process for the 3rd subsequent year for the remaining two courses’ learning outcomes. Departments may also divide courses evenly throughout six semesters.
Yes. Your CAP is a living document about your learning outcomes assessment plan. Assessment results are used to inform program changes or improvements, and with change and improvement comes a change of plans.
Two. One assessment cycle equals 3 years. Two assessment cycles (two assessment cycles x three) equals six years. A program should project out at least six years in their assessment schedule.
Yes. “In every class section students receive a course syllabus that includes learning outcomes from the institution’s officially approved course outline” (ACCJC, Standard II.2.3).
There is plenty of support and resources to help you. These resources include:
- The Outcomes and Assessment website provides a huge resource of knowledge and information
about learning outcomes.
- The Outcomes and Assessment Chair and Committee are dedicated to developing comprehensive
training materials and professional development opportunities.
- The Office of Institutional Research provides assistance and support with learning outcomes data analysis.
The learning outcomes cycle must be a collaborative ongoing process embedded in collaborative dialogue. Institutional Research can help programs and departments design assessment tools and analyze quantitative data with statistical software. They, however, will not interpret the data. Faculty members and staff know best how to interpret results within their own discipline and their own program.
Faculty and staff need to submit a Research Request Form. It is advised to submit the form at least three weeks in advance. Do not submit the form to Institutional Research after the fact. “To call in the statistician after the experiment is done may be no more than asking him to perform a postmortem examination; he may only be able to say what the experiment died of.” Sir Ronald Fischer
A sample size calculator can help you determine how many students to include in your assessment in order to get results that reflect the views of the overall students in your program.
Population size—take the number of courses and times it by the number of students in the class.
# of sections/courses = 40
# of students per class = 30
40 X 30 = 1200
1. For Population Size enter 1200.
2. For Margin of Error click on 5%. This tells us how many percentage points the results could differ from the population.
3. For Confidence Level click on 95%.
So we have a 95% confidence interval with a 5% margin of error and this means your results will be within five percentage points of the population value.
Required sample size calculates to 292
292 divided by 30 students in a class = 9.733 (10 courses). If you want to account for students dropping a course, you could assess 11 or 12 courses.
So instead of assessing 40 courses, only 10-12 courses need to be assessed and the results are still representative of the population.
Yes. COURSE student learning outcomes must be included in the COR for Curriculum. ACCJC mandates that “officially approved and current course outlines of record include student learning outcomes” (Standard II.A.3). CORs are for courses and do not have any program information.
Access Chaffey's curriculum management platform from the Curriculum Office webpage to add PROGRAM learning outcomes to programs and COURSE learning outcomes to CORs when you are updating your curriculum.
NOTE FROM THE CURRICULUM OFFICE: Faculty should NOT launch modifications for the sole purpose of adding COURSE learning outcomes, but rather they will be prompted to add them when modifying their courses or programs for other reasons.