Student learning outcomes (SLOs) represent core skills and knowledge students should develop through a curriculum or program of study. SLOs provide students and faculty with a framework for understanding the goals and expectations for a degree. While all forms of assessment can provide useful information for program improvement, assessment aligned with specific student learning outcomes is crucial to supporting quality undergraduate curricula and student achievement.
ATL Mini Grant Project: In the academic year 2015-16, the Asia Program received assessment mini grant funding in support of their project, “Student Engagement in Asia Program Assessment: Creating a Module on Disciplinary Approaches.” This project involved funding student interns to create online learning modules based on interviews with faculty in their respective fields for the purpose of introducing different disciplinary approaches. The presence of the modules allowed faculty to focus assignments specifically on research methodologies and the assignments were then rated by faculty to examine students’ abilities to understand diverse disciplinary approaches, a key learning outcome for the program.
According to Lydia Gerber, Director of the Asia Program and project leader, “The project allowed us to assess a learning outcome that is central to our interdisciplinary approach. We’ve already seen a positive shift in student awareness of disciplinary and methodological approaches, particularly with students who worked on the modules.” For additional information about assessment mini grants, including examples of other previously funded projects, see ATL’s Assessment Mini-Grant webpage.