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SLOs are statements that help you to specify more clearly what students will know, be able to do, or be able to demonstrate when they have completed or participated in a program/activity/course/project.

How to Write Effective Course SLOs

Remember that SLOs help students AND faculty.

Writing and assessing SLOs:

  • help departments understand how to better facilitate student learning.
  • provide departments with feedback.
  • enable students to articulate what they’ve learned.
  • provide students with a map of where various learning opportunities are available.

Write course SLOs that capture the range of your course topics.

SLOs should reflect your course content, and the Topics list is a good roadmap for crafting SLOs.

Write course SLOs with an eye towards the future.

Remember that you will need to be assessing your SLOs regularly, and you will be reporting on those SLO assessments periodically. SLOs should specify actions that have the following:

  • observable;
  • measurable;
  • able to be demonstrated;
  • able to be communicated clearly to others.

Use action verbs.

If your SLOs are framed in terms of action, they will result in observable, measurable, demonstrable behaviors. This will make your SLOs much easier to assess, and it will simplify your SLO reporting efforts. Bloom’s Taxonomy is an excellent model to use (see attachment).

Less is more.

Remember that you will need to assess and report on all of your course SLOs within a six-year cycle. Try to write the fewest number of SLOs while still capturing the range of your course topics. This number will likely vary depending on the course and the department/discipline.

Write course SLOs with your ProLOs in mind (and vice versa).

Your courses don’t exist in silos. They are all an integral part of the degrees and certificates your department offers. Think about whether your SLO assessment data will be helpful when your department engages in ProLO assessment. The buck doesn’t stop with SLOs – that data feeds into a larger stream

Course Alignment (Mapping) to GELOs

General Education Learning Outcomes (GELOs)

  • GELO Course Alignment Instructions The SLO subcommittee of the Academic Senate began using these alignments during the process of course-embedded assessment of our GELOs.
  • GELO Summary Example
  • GELO Course Mapping Example 1
  • GELO Course Mapping Example 2

General Education SLOs

Course SLO Checklist

  • Does the outcome reflect the overall course topics?
  • Does the outcome describe what the program intends for students to know (cognitive), think (affective, attitudinal), or do (behavioral, performance)?
  • Is the outcome important/worthwhile?
  • Is the outcome:
    • Simple and specific?
    • Measurable?
    • A result of learning?
    • Easily communicated to others?
  • Do you have or can you create an activity to enable students to learn the desired outcome? If so, describe that activity.
  • Are the number of outcomes reasonable?
  • Can the outcome be used to make decisions on how to improve the program?

SLOs by Domain (Cognitive, Psychomotor, and Affective) (PDF)

Creating and Using a Rubric

“C+. Solid effort!”

Students receive feedback like this all the time. But what does it really tell them? Does it show them what they did well, or in what areas they need improvement? As an instructor, can you communicate clearly how you arrived at that student’s grade?

A grading rubric can help you identify specific learning outcomes you wish to assess. Rubrics allow us to align student learning outcomes with grades and they also function as a communication tool between the instructor and the student, creating transparency in the grading process.

General Tools

Sample Rubrics By Subject

Sample Rubrics By Type of Assignment

Assessment and Reporting

SCC Online Reporting Tool

This tool allows SCC faculty to do the following:

  • create course SLO reports
  • create course SLO summary reports
  • create Student Services SLO reports
  • map course SLOs to Program Learning Outcomes (ProLOs)
  • access your department’s multi-year SLO reporting plan

Related Downloads

  • Archived Course SLO Reports by Division (for reports completed after Fall 2015)
  • Multi-Year SLO Reporting Plans by Division (Archive) (for planning cycles prior to Fall 2016)
  • Multi-Year SLO Reporting Plan Template and Instructions


PDF download Using an Equity Lens to Assess Student Outcomes (Center for Urban Education) (PDF)

This data module introduces faculty to the student learning outcomes assessment process from an equity mindset.

PDF download Inquiry Guide: Assessing Student Learning Outcomes (RP Group) (PDF)

Introduction to the student learning outcomes assessment process, why student learning outcomes are important, how to create meaningful and measurable student learning outcomes, and how to determine whether students are achieving those outcomes.

PDF download Assessment Methods Toolkit (RP Group) (PDF)

This is a great resource for determining what kind of measurement tool should be used to assess different types of student learning.

PDF download Learning Outcome Assessments in Student Services (RP Group) (PDF)

This document provides Student Services with examples of assessments they can use in areas such as Admissions and Records, Counseling, Assessment, DSPS, EOPS, and Health Services.

PDF download Taking Assessment to the Program Level (ACCJC presentation by Linda Suskie) (PDF)

This presentation provides a comprehensive overview of the Program Learning Outcomes development and assessment process.

PDF download General Education Assessment Resources (National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment) (PDF)

This annotated bibliography offers a wealth of information and resources for assessing General Education learning outcomes.

SLO Assessment Reporting System

The online reporting system can be used to create SLO reports, ProLO maps, and ProLO reports for instruction and student services areas.

SLO Reporting System