Tool Kits and Resources

Mission Statement for Degree Program (Mission Statement Report)

A statement of the values and principles that guide the curriculum of a degree program, and that reflects the educational purpose and learning environment of the program at SF State. The focus should be on student learning and the program mission statement should be connected to the department, college and university mission.

How to write a degree program mission statement (pdf)

SF State mission statement

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are succinct, measurable statements that describe the knowledge, skills, understandings, and/or attitudes students will possess upon achievement of that outcome. Attention is focused on the specific types of learning that students are expected to demonstrate.  Learning outcomes can be developed at the institutional level, the baccalaureate level, a degree program level or a course level.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLO Report)

A description of the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes that students are expected to achieve upon graduation in a degree program. Program learning outcomes should be written using active verbs in a way that facilitates assessment. They should be written from the perspective of what students will learn to do, not from the perspective of what the degree offers.

The number and achievement level of PLOs for different degree programs should reflect the nature of the degree. For example, a minor should have fewer PLOs than a BA degree, reflecting that students take fewer classes for a minor than for a BA. Learning outcomes for MA or MS degrees should express more advanced levels of achievement than learning outcomes for BA or BS degrees.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

At SF State, SLOs generally refer to course learning outcomes. SLOs are descriptions of the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes that students are expected to achieve upon completion of a course. Student learning outcomes should be written using active verbs in a way that facilitates assessment. They should be written from the perspective of what students will learn to do, not from the perspective of what the instructor teaches.

General Education Learning Outcomes (GELOs)

The learning outcomes for courses in each GE area and in each SF State Studies area are summarized in the appendices of the Academic Senate policy Requirements for Baccalaureate Degrees, Majors, Concentrations, Minors, and Certificates (https://senate.sfsu.edu/policy/requirements-baccalaureate-degrees-majors-concentrations-minors-and-certificates-and). All courses proposed for GE will have to demonstrate how students learning is supported and assessed for GELOs.

Curriculum Maps (Curriculum Map Report)

A curriculum map shows how courses in the curriculum link to the PLOs.  The set of courses included in the curriculum should coordinate to introduce, develop and provide mastery of program learning outcomes to students.  Departments can see at a glance if more attention is needed for any one PLO and identify the courses in which the assessment of learning outcomes should be done.

Assessment of PLOs (Assessment Findings Report)

Assessment methods consist of a variety of data collection strategies designed to measure the attainment of program learning outcomes. All assessment plans should have at least one direct measure of student learning, such as a portfolio of work, exams or a written report.  Indirect measures, such as student surveys, can be added to direct measures as a second way of assessing the program. Good assessment reports include details regarding the methods used to gather and assess information in order to fully convey the department's process. Benchmarks for assessment should be established to help departments identify when improvements are needed.  Samples of any rubrics, questionnaires, skill exams etc. used in assessment should be attached to reports for clarity.

DIY Assessment Workshop

Individual Steps for the workshop

Individual Worksheets

AAC&U VALUE Rubrics

Closing the Loop Report

Closing the loop means identifying what actions to take as a result of assessing a PLO.  A plan to implement these actions and to reassess the learning outcome at a reasonable time after implementation should be part of the closing the loop process.  Actions taken can range from revision of the PLO being assessed, to revision of the assignment used to assess the PLO, to revising existing or creating new courses, to revising curriculum to better support student learning across the curriculum.   Specific actions will be very much determined by faculty in the department and tailored to specific program needs.  In general, these are the steps needed to close the loop:

  • Make an implementation plan.  Decide as a department how to implement recommendations from the assessment findings, the timeline for that implementation and when follow up assessment will take place to measure the impact of the change(s) made.
  • Refer back to the original assessment when the PLO is reassessed after closing the loop.  Did the suggested recommendations make a difference in the outcomes?  If not, what further changes are suggested?
  • Closing the Loop Examples

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Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning
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