Outcomes & Program Review

FAQs about Outcomes Assessment

Frequently Asked Questions about Learning Outcomes Assessment

1) What is a program?
SVC defines an instructional program as a systematic, contextualized, often sequential grouping of courses leading to a degree. Find SVC’s areas of study and related degree programs.

For the purpose of assessing learning outcomes in Canvas (a learning management system), outcomes are grouped based on academic areas and programs.

2) What is a program review?

Skagit Valley College’s Program Review is a four-year process that includes three years of program data collection followed by a fourth year of data analysis and planning. The process collects, analyzes, and measures data annually on the following categories:

  • Student Access (data on enrollment and demographics)
  • Student Achievement (data on transition and completion)
  • Student satisfaction (data collected through surveys and course evaluations on perceptions of program learning, quality, resources, and equity)
  • Student Learning (Faculty collect data outcomes that are mapped to their courses)
3) What is the SVC Annual Program Effectiveness Worksheet?
The Annual Program Effectiveness Worksheet is part of a four-year Program Review process. Each year, program faculty will use this worksheet to analyze program data, set program goals, and identify strategies to reach those goals.
4) What is the purpose of the programs effectiveness worksheet?
The purpose is to give faculty the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness and needs of their programs. It focuses on continual program improvement, but it is not related to program viability or faculty evaluation.
5) What are learning outcomes?
Learning outcomes are measurable (assessable) statements about what students are expected to know or will be able to do at the end of a course or program. They are student-centered statements that focus on the essential evidence of knowledge, performance, products or skills that students will develop as a result of learning.
6) What are general education learning outcomes?
General Education Learning Outcomes (GELOs) are the common skills, knowledge, and abilities that are required in all associate degree programs at Skagit Valley College, regardless of the program. GELOs define the common skills, knowledge, and abilities students can expect to develop by the time they graduate. All degree-seeking students at SVC are expected to attain GELOs.
7) What are program learning outcomes?
Program learning outcomes (PLOs) are the measurable knowledge, skills, and abilities that students can expect to develop by the end of a program. They inform the content, design, and delivery of all courses within a program. Competency in program learning outcomes is essential to students’ success in their future academic and/or career endeavors.
8) What are course-specific learning outcomes?
Course-specific learning outcomes (CSLOs) are the measurable knowledge, skills, and abilities that students can expect to develop by the end of a course. They inform the content, design, and delivery of a course. If a general education or program outcome is mapped to a course, that outcome becomes one of the course-specific outcomes.
9) What are degree learning outcomes (DLOs)?
Together, program learning outcomes, general education learning outcomes, and course specific outcomes make up each degree or certificate’s learning outcomes (DLOs = GELOs + PLOs + CSLOs).
10) What is program learning outcomes assessment?
Program Learning Outcomes Assessment is the process of collecting evidence of student achievement of program outcomes in mapped courses. Faculty use outcomes assessment rubrics to determine students’ level of outcome mastery based on evidence.
11) What is an outcomes assessment rubric?
Each program wrote outcomes assessment rubrics (OARs) for all outcomes in their programs. Each OAR describes the indicators for 1) exceeds standard, 2) meets standard, 3) approaches standard, and 4) not assessed. Faculty use those rubric indicators to assess how well a student is achieving the outcome. The OARs are preloaded into Canvas. Note that OARs are a part of outcome descriptions in Canvas.
12) Who wrote programs learning outcomes?
Skagit Valley College faculty collaborated within and across disciplines to write thoughtful, relevant, and measurable outcomes that articulate essential learning goals. This was a faculty-led effort that resulted in curriculum alignment, critical pedagogy discussions, and prioritization of instructional content. This is an ongoing process. Program learning outcomes can be updated annually as part of the Program Review process. If you wish to see changes to program learning outcomes, please contact your department chair.
13) How often are learning outcomes updated?
Program learning outcomes can be updated annually as part of the Program Review process. If necessary, faculty, departments, or the Office of Instruction can initiate a request to update learning outcomes at any given time.
14) Who assesses program outcomes?
At the course level, faculty are expected to assess all outcomes mapped to their courses (GELO, PLO, CSLO), including program level outcomes.
15) Why do faculty assess learning outcomes?
Faculty assess learning outcomes as one of the indicators of student academic success. It is recommended that faculty list all outcomes (GELO, PLO, CSLO) mapped to their courses in the course syllabus. Faculty will assess these outcomes each time the course is offered. Outcome data will be used for program effectiveness and improvement.
16) Who does program review?
Together, department chairs, instructional deans and faculty review the program data. They evaluate the structure, pedagogical effectiveness, curriculum, and needs of their program. The process focuses on continual program improvement, but it is not related to program viability or faculty evaluation.
17) How are program outcomes mapped?
Each program learning outcome is mapped to one or more specific courses within or across programs. “Mapping” means that faculty, within their departments, collaborated and identified the courses that are appropriate to assess specific program outcomes. Faculty also identified the schedule of when outcomes should be assessed (Year 1, Year 2, Year 3).

  • Year 1: Spring 2019 through Spring 2020
  • Year 2: Summer 2020 through Spring 2021
  • Year 3: Summer 2021 through Spring 2022

Note: Instructors are encouraged to continue to assess learning outcomes applicable to their courses even before or beyond the year the outcome is scheduled to be assessed. The more often faculty can assess an outcome within in a course and between quarters the better.

English language icon Spanish language icon Chinese language icon (Simplified) Chinese language icon (Traditional) Japanese language icon Vietnamese language icon Ukrainian language icon Korean language iconRussian language icon