Welcome to the College of Marin Academic SenateStudent Learning Outcomes WIKI!Dedicated to the memory of Carol Adairwho understood SLOs better than most and whose spirit guides this space!

This WIKI is a space for College of Marin faculty to create and discuss, edit and re-edit, ponder and articulate their ideas about student learning outcomes in relation to their disciplines and to the courses they teach. We request dialog that is respectful and constructive and that always keeps in mind what will help our students learn! Members to this WIKI can visit all pages, edit, discuss and share their ideas. While we can all see each other's disciplines, it would be appreciated if you ONLY edited in the area where you actually teach. Please try not to delete attachments and please do NOT edit the GE SLOs. (However, it is not the end of the world if you do by mistake.)

Keep in mind that anything that is added, subtracted or discussed can be seen by everyone. In addition, the edits and who made them are tracked on the history tab on every page. Guests to the WIKI will only be able to view, but may not edit, post or join in discussions. For further information on how to navigate and use this wiki, please scroll down. You can download the instructions (see Wiki guide, SLO guide and Bloom's Taxonomy attachments below) or you can scroll down even farther to see them copied on this page. NOTE: There is a link to the left called AA_Sandbox. This is where you can play and learn how to use the editing features before you move to your own pages.

To begin with - the easiest way to get to where you want to go is to follow the links to the broad area home page (AH, CTE and MS). From there you will find a flowchart so you'll know what to look under to find YOUR discipline. Click on the appropriate link on that page to take you to a combination site. Here you will look at discipline level SLOs in relation to more general College Learning Outcomes. You will find what you have written before in one place. Here you can decide if they make sense or if you'd like to rewrite them. From there, you can move to your specific part of your discipline where you will look at and add course level SLOs. You will find links at the top of the page to allow you to move back and forth easily between these related pages.

Links to get you where you need to go next:

Arts and Humanities Disciplines: AH_A_home
Career and Technical Education: CTE_AA_Home
Math, Life and Earth Sciences, Behavioral and Social Sciences: MS_A_home
The SLO Links Page: Useful SLO Links



Relevant Attachments:

Instructions for using this WIKI (also see below on this page):
Guide to writing SLOs (also see below on this page):
Spring 2005 Convocation Powerpoint on SLOs:
Bloom's Taxonomy:

Academic Senate and Board of Trustees
Memorandum of Understanding re: SLOs

WASC Rubric re: SLOs and accreditation:

Fast Stats about College of Marin's Credit Offerings (according to 08/09 Catalog)
Out of 1078 classes:
  • 82 classes are Basic Skills or pre-college
  • 7 are pre-college introductory classes to a particular area
  • 1 class with 6 variations is a math proficiency course
  • 1 is offered as a prerequisite for Math 110/115
  • 291 classes count towards certificates or licenses
  • 307 classes count towards GE requirements at COM
  • 1016 classes Transfer to CSU
  • 503 Classes also transfer to UC

Do not print the following files. They are very long. They are broken up and made available on each discipline's page.)

Summary of the SLO section of Program Review 2009-2010:
Complete SLO entries from the 2009-2010 Program Review:
Executive Summary of the SLO section of Program Review 2008:

Spreadsheet with all courses from catalog listed by discipline noting if Basic Skills, Certificate, GE, Transfer to CSU or UC:

Only the Basic Skills classes (or are pre-college) :
Only the classes which count towards a certificate:
Only the classes which count towards GE for College of Marin:
Only the classes which count towards CSU:
Only the classes which count towards UC:


According to the new Accreditation standards, a Student Learning Outcome (SLO) describes the knowledge, skills, abilities or attitudes that a student will have attained by the end of any set of college experiences – classes, occupational programs, degrees and certificates and even encounters with Student Services or the Library. The important thing is what a student can DO with what they have learned that can be assessed.

A subcommittee of the Academic Senate has been developing 5 core College Learning Outcomes that should guide SLOs across the college from a broad programmatic level to individual courses. Approved by the Senate at the beginning of Spring 2009 semester, the College of Marin College Learning Outcomes are as follows:
  1. Written, Oral and Visual Communication: Communicate effectively in writing, orally and/or visually using traditional and/or modern information resources and supporting technology.
  2. Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning: Locate, identify, collect, and organize data in order to then analyze, interpret or evaluate it using mathematical skills and/or the scientific method.
  3. Critical Thinking: Differentiate between facts, influences, opinions, and assumptions to reach reasoned and supportable conclusions.
  4. Problem Solving: Recognize and identify the components of a problem or issue, look at it from multiple perspectives and investigate ways to resolve it.
  5. Information Literacy: Formulate strategies to locate, evaluate and apply information from a variety of sources - print and/or electronic.

The College of Marin Academic Senate’s SLO WIKI < http://com-academic-senate-slos.wikispaces.com > has been set up so that all faculty, full time and part time, will have the opportunity to contribute to the development of course-level and discipline level SLOs. You will need an “invitation” to join. If you are interested and have not received an invitation, please email < sara.mckinnon@marin.edu >.

All faculty members are encouraged to participate to their department’s discussions. SLOs are a vital part of what and how we teach and assess student progress. Thoughtful and respectful dialog is vital to this process. The discussions and input on these pages are at a general level. No specific course assessment results will be entered here. It is not the intention of this Senate to have this WIKI used as any kind of evaluative tool. It is intended as a central place to organize the college’s SLOs and provide a framework for SLO development. It will also serve as evidence to accreditation teams that College of Marin is working to meet the SLO standard. (The WASC SLO rubric is attached to the home page of the WIKI.)

Each department will have one joint page on which to discuss SLOs at a general level, and then each discipline will have at least one page (or more if there are diverse parts) in which to discuss course-specific SLOs. Links to each page can be found on the left side navigation bar and links back and forth between related areas will also be posted at the top of each page.

Instructions for navigating the SLO WIKI

To join:
Since not all teachers at College of Marin have COM email addresses, if you haven’t received an invitation and would like to join, please email sara.mckinnon@marin.edu
Follow the links on the invitation to join. OR: you can go to < http://com-academic-senate-slos.wikispaces.com > and click on “create an account. Follow the instructions. You will have to wait briefly for permission to be granted.

Home page:
Here you will find these instructions and various other general attachments including the MOU between the Senate and the Board of Trustees, the WASC rubric for SLOs, spreadsheets of ALL credit courses from the 2008-09 catalog noting if the course is basic skills, leads to a certificate or license, counts toward a COM general education requirement or transfers to CSU or UC and another spreadsheet of only specific COM classes that count toward COM GE requirements.

“Apartment building” home pages (3 total):
There are also links to the three “home pages” of (AH_home) Arts and Humanities, (MS_home) Math, Life and Earth Sciences, Behavioral and Social Sciences AND (CTE_home) Career and Technical Education. On each of these home pages you will find a flowchart to help you find where YOUR discipline is. Links to your area will be posted there OR you can find them directly on the left side navigation bar. Links within each area will also be posted at the top of each page.

“Apartment” home pages (6-7 each for AH, MS, and CTE = 20 total):
Each area has its own page (ie: Performing Arts). It is here that you will enter information about the discipline/program as a whole.

Room home pages (67 total):
These will be specific to a discipline – ie: math, chemistry, English, etc. It is here where you will look at course-specific SLOs.

Each WIKI page has tabs at the top including:
  • “Edit this page” which allows you to add, edit or change the content on the page. It has basic word processing capabilities including choosing fonts, size, colors, bulleting etc. (BUT - Please do not modify the instructions!
  • Discussion: Here you can have threaded discussions on topics related to the subjects on the page – the SLOs themselves, ways to assess them, rubrics, etc.
  • “History”: Here you can click on an earlier version to compare or see what changes have been made to this page, when and by whom.

Instructions for contributing to the SLO WIKI


Please navigate to the “apartment” level home page where your area is located.

There you will find the general College Learning Outcomes stated above. You will also find the 2007-08 program review SLO report created by your discipline last winter as well as an SLO created in 2005 by your department or discipline. (If you didn’t do one, it won’t be there. If you did and it isn’t there, that means I don’t have it. If you have it, by all means use it!)

First: Disciplines will be asked to rank on a scale of 1 to 5 (5=high) - how important each of these general college outcomes are to the various parts of their areas in a matrix as follows:

Social Sciences:


Scientific orQuantitativeReasoning









Ethnic Studies


Political Science

Social Science

*This matrix will be found on each “apartment” home page on the Senate’s SLO WIKI.

Second: Please look at section I from the 2007-2008 program review in the SLO report. (I’ve attached a pdf of the full SLO report to each discipline’s page.) Here, for example, is what Fine Arts wrote:
  • The program increases the student's range and depth of understanding and technical skill in the visual arts through guided exercises which build upon each other through a series of levels from beginning to advanced.
  • Students learn to evaluate a range of visual experiences, including the designs and concepts of others.

Think about how these programmatic SLOs relate to the College Learning Outcomes above. Feel free to edit, expand or change them. Try to make a program SLO for each College Learning Outcome with scores of 3 or higher on the matrix. If your discipline or department participated in creating an SLO at the Fall 2005 Flex day, it will be here. Where does this SLO fit in with the general ones?

For example, Fine Arts wrote the following:
Students will develop their visual aesthetic awareness and their technical abilities in the history and practice of art, architecture, and interior design by
  • Learning to evaluate a range of visual experiences, including the designs and concepts of others
  • Increasing their depth of understanding and technical skill through guided exercises which build upon each other.

Once you have completed the points above, please navigate to the “room” level home page where your area is located.

There, please do the following:

First: Please rank on a scale of 1 to 5 (5=high) - how important each of these general outcomes are to each of your classes in a matrix as follows:


Scientific or

ECON 101


ECON 102

ECON 125

ECON 201

ECON 215

Second: Below that you will find the following instructions regarding Course Level SLOs:

Attached you will find the SLOs and Critical Thinking entries from your course outlines which are in the binders in the OIM office, HC 123. These were all scanned and made into pdf files last summer. Some of the recently approved outlines from the last year, may not have been scanned yet. I've tried to make note where I knew this to be the case. In any case, if you find that your SLOs are from outlines before 2003, you will find that what is there is written from the teacher's perspective - ie; what the teaching objectives are. This is different from a Student Learning Outcome - which is centered on what students will be able to DO with what you have taught them. If your outlines are more than 5 years old, you may be hearing from the curriculum committee about updating or deleting outdated courses.

SLOs in the attachment may just go in order of the course numbers. In programs with broad offerings, I've tried to group courses that seem to be part of a sequence together.

Please look over what is here and discuss with your colleagues (in meetings or on the discussion tab for this page) any of the following:
  • Do you need to rewrite old objectives to be SLOs?
  • Do SLOs of sequenced courses show a development of skills?
  • Are they broad in scope rather than too specific (like objectives)?
  • Do they need to be re-written, shortened?
  • If so, are the new outcomes you write assessable?
  • Do they ask for a synthesis of discrete skills (rather than a list of the discrete skills themselves)?
  • Do these SLOs relate to the College Learning Outcomes above?

SLO template (with an example from history) to use for those courses you assess in any particular semester:

Second, in the space below or on the attached template:
  • Please explain when students are assessed and who interprets the results.
  • Make a projection of what percentage of students you would like to have succeed in a particular outcome or how much improvement you hope to see.
  • Consider ways to measure these SLOs (objective tests, projects, experiments, research projects, essay tests, class presentations, etc). Please note if you will create and use a rubric to score assessments.
  • Keep this for your records and write up the results of the assessment in terms of broad percentages across the discipline or across several sections of the same course. Were you able to meet the goals? What can you do to improve? What should you keep doing? What do you need to make the success rate higher? This is what you will enter into the annual program review SLO section.

Use the discussion tab to discuss ways to measure these SLOs. When you have agreed on something, please write it below.
If I've missed something or made a mistake, please correct it and make a note.

A Guide to Writing SLOs

NOTE: These hints have been culled from a variety of sources across California and the US. (Cabrillo College, El Camino College, Miracosta College, colleges in the east, community colleges and universities). Since they are often the same from place to place, it is difficult to know where they originated.
  • In one sentence for each outcome, answer the question: “What should students be able to do with the information I’m teaching after they finish the course? What is the ultimate goal a year from now?”
  • Describe what students will do -- not content, activities or hours.
  • Describe broader, complex, higher order knowledge and skills.
  • Describe observable and assessable behavior.
  • Use action verbs. See Bloom’s Taxonomy.
  • Write it in language that a student will understand.
  • Make statements concise and unambiguous.
  • Remember that you probably already have them in mind and have been using them without realizing it. Begin with where you are.
  • Keep thinking from the students’ point of view and ask, “What can students walk out of my class with?”
  • Be explicit and always ask, “What’s important? What am I doing and why?”
  • Ask students to produce something - papers, projects, portfolios, demonstrations, performances, art works, exams etc. – that applies what they have learned.

Hint: Sometimes it’s easier to start backwards by thinking about the major assessments you use in the course. These would be the products or demonstrations of your outcomes. Make a list of your major assignments for this course. Then try to describe in one sentence what the students are being asked to demonstrate in those assignments.

Some Dos and Don’ts:
  • Don’t use the words “understand” - go for higher level thinking skills.
  • Don’t use the phrase “students will.” Avoid any pronouns like “them“ or “their.”
  • Do distinguish the difference between an A and B courses of the same number.
  • Keep the number of outcomes short – no more than four or five at most (except if the outcomes of your courses are dictated by the requirements of outside accrediting bodies, like in nursing or dental hygiene).
  • Use the outcomes to describe the major skills or knowledge students will take away from the course and what they will produce to show you that they have mastered those skills.

Student Learning Outcomes versus Course Objectives
Course objectives describe small, discreet skills or “nuts and bolts” that require basic thinking skills. They are subsets of outcomes. Think of objectives as the building blocks used to produce whatever is used to demonstrate mastery of an outcome. Objectives can be practiced and assessed individually, but are usually only a portion of an overall project or application.

Objectives describe skills, tools or content that a student will master by the end of course.
Outcomes describe over-arching, long-term skill that a student will be able to demonstrate by the end of a course and take with him when he leaves.
Objectives require the use of basic thinking skills such as knowledge, comprehension and application.
Outcomes require the use of higher level thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
Objectives can be measured discreetly, but do not necessarily result in a product.
Outcomes should result in a product that can be measured or assessed.

Assessing a Student Learning Outcome:
  • Step One: Chose one course SLO from one class that you are teaching in a particular semester.
  • Step Two: Chose one major graded assignment that you feel measures some aspect of the course SLO. It should be an assignment you always give that you feel is important.
  • Tests, projects and assignments should be designed to show what students can do, not what has been covered. From the beginning of the term, students should know how they are going to be evaluated and what criteria will be used.
  • Step Three: Develop a rubric or grading scale that articulates in words how you grade that assignment. If you only use exams, identify groups of specific questions on one of your major exams that you feel address the competency. It will be most helpful if there are several questions.
  • Step Four: Give the assignment or exam this semester. Grade it using the rubric you developed in Step Three. If you are using an exam with scanners, make a second key to grade the specific questions related to the SLO. Keep a record of the rubric or the questions and the results.
  • Step Five: Analyze the results of your assessment. Share the assignment you gave, the methods or rubrics you used to grade it and the results with your colleagues. If more than one section of a class gave the same assignment share the results with each other or score the assignments together if you are comfortable doing that. Based on the results, describe how you would change or improve the teaching of this assignment. Were you satisfied? What do you need as an instructor to improve your teaching and/or the student learning of the assignment? What does your department need to have to improve the teaching and learning in department courses in general. What do you need from the college?