Certificates & Majors SLO Assessment


Making Connections Between Courses and Programs of Study (Majors/Certificates)

There are three main stages in the process of assessing the outcomes of certificate and major SLOs:

  1. Mapping the Course SLOs to the Program (Certificate/Major).
  2. Listing the SLOs on the certificate or major Web site
  3. Assessing the SLOs

Stating and Mapping Certificates and Major SLOs

  1. Discipline faculty develops SLOs for the certificate or major.
    Example: Restaurant Management Major SLOs
    1. Manage a restaurant to ensure compliance with safety and sanitation regulations.
    2. Apply background, culture and history of culinary arts and terminology in a food service business setting.
    3. Use basic math skills to accomplish cash management and labor and food costing.
    4. Exhibit, recognize, motivate and develop employee professionalism in a restaurant setting.
    5. State federal and state wage and labor laws.
  2. Faculty create a Program Map to show how courses relate to the SLOs of the certificate/major. Please see the Business Human Resource Administration (PDF) for an example of how courses are “mapped” to the program outcomes.

Submission of Certificate/Major SLOs and Map

  1. Department accesses and completes “Certificate and Major Revision Form,” on the Curriculum Web site, attaching the list of SLOs and Program Map. Electronic and hard copies are sent to the department chair for signature.
  2. Department chair forwards hard copies and electronic versions of the form, SLOs, and map to the dean, who places them on the Cluster Tech Review agenda.
  3. Cluster Tech Review Committee reviews SLOs for clarity and completeness and provides feedback as necessary to the submitting department. The Program Map accompanies the SLOs to illustrate the composition of the certificate or major, but this part is not reviewed by the CTRC.
  4. If needed, submitting department makes any recommended changes to SLOs and then sends to the dean. The department should keep a copy of the SLOs and program map.

Listing the SLOs on Certificate and Major Web Sites

  1. Submits the Certificate/Major revision form, finalized list of SLOs, and program map electronically and as hard copy to Chas Crocker in the Curriculum Office.
  2. The certificate or major appears on the next available Curriculum Review Committee Consent Agenda for approval of revision, including SLOs. (The submitter does not need to attend the meeting.)
  3. After CRC approval, the Curriculum Office recommends the certificate/major revision for Board approval.
  4. After board approval, the Curriculum Office enters the SLOs on the Certificate/Major Website effective for the upcoming academic year.

Assessing Certificate and Major SLOs

There are three main ways to assess a certificate or major SLO. Through a capstone course, external assessments, or cumulative also known as "ground up." The department or discipline chooses the most appropriate method of assessment. These SLO assessment reports will be entered into the SharePoint SLO Site just as course assessments are.

  1. Capstone courses (for certificates) - Some CE certificates have a culminating course that requires students to demonstrate the highest levels of skill and concept application. The SLOs of a capstone course are often the same or very similar to the certificate or major SLOs. Therefore, when the course is assessed, the program is essentially assessed as well. More specifically, a capstone course may include a final project, an extensive research paper, a portfolio, performance, or other assignments that reflect all or most of the SLOs students are expected to achieve to earn the certificate or complete the major. This comprehensive assignment could be used to assess both the course and the certificate. A discipline using this method would create a separate SLO assessment form in SharePoint to represent the assessment of the certificate.

    An example of a capstone course approach for assessing a major and certificate is available through the link below. The Diet Technician certificate program used a portfolio to assess student achievement in the culminating class and the program itself.
    Diet Technician Certificate/Major SLO Assessment (PDF)
  2. External assessment - For a number of CE certificates and majors, such as those in the Health Sciences and Public Safety, students who complete the program are expected to pass a licensing exam or other tests by an external agency in order to pursue their chosen profession. The SLOs of the program usually reflect those tested, so departments that receive reports of student scores may use the results of the exams to represent their students' achievement of the SLOs. The SLO report would summarize results and, to the degree indicated by the scores, areas the program might develop to improve or enhance student achievement.
  3. Cumulative, or “Ground Up” - This method may be most applicable for Liberal Arts and Sciences majors, which often do not have an identifiable cohort of majors, and for program assessments, which involves hundreds of students across many sections every semester. This approach assumes that if the courses of a major or certificate address the program SLOs—as indicated in the Certificate or Major Map—then the certificate/major is considered assessed when all of its core courses and two or more representative restricted elective courses have been assessed.

    To use this approach, a discipline must first complete the SLO assessments for the required courses in the certificate/major. Then, referring to the Certificate/Major Map and the results from the SLO assessments for each of those courses, discipline faculty would summarize the overall results and draw conclusions about student achievement. This summary would be entered into a SharePoint SLO Assessment Report form, and links to the course assessments mentioned in the report can be created to provide specific information relating to the program assessment.

    The Religious Studies major used this cumulative approach to assess the major—summarizing the results from the course of SLO assessments and determining the strengths of the program and areas that might be developed.
    Religious Studies Major SLO Assessment (PDF)

For further discussion on these approaches, you may view the PowerPoint presentation for the Spring 2013 PDA presentation, “Best Practices for Assessing Certificates, Majors, and Pathways” (PDF).



For assistance in identifying or assessing outcomes for programs or Student Services, contact SLO Coordinator.