Assessment: Learning Outcomes

E komo mai! Mahalo for visiting the Assessment page! The assessment office engages in systematic assessment of learning and service outcomes to ensure continuous improvement and create increased opportunities for student success.

Assessment is an ongoing and interactive process consisting of the following steps:

  1. Defining the outcomes.
  2. Determining appropriate methods to assess the outcomes.
  3. Gathering evidence of the outcomes.
  4. Analyzing the evidence.
  5. Using this information to improve student learning and evolve the program/service.

Our institution has established learning outcomes at three levels:

1a. Non-instructional level: Service Area Outcomes (SAOs)

Constituents achieve SAOs [PDF] after participating in a particular experience, including students, staff, faculty, and any other participants.

1b. Course level: Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students achieve SLOs after completing a course. All faculty are required to list the SLOs on the course syllabus. We're in the process of completing the migration of Committee for Programs and Curricula (CPC)'s paper files to Kuali Student Curriculum Management System (KSCM). We'll post the SLOs as soon as the digital migration [PDF] is finalized. Thank you for your patience and support throughout this important process!

2. Program level: Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Students achieve PLOs [PDF] after completing a specific degree or path of study.

3. College level: Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

Students achieve ILOs [PDF] across all disciplines, through both instructional and non-instructional support.

Writing or revising learning outcomes:

  • Choose 4-6 outcomes which broadly express what participants will be able to do upon completion of the course or service.
  • Write each outcome in a succinct sentence, which begins with a measurable verb [PDF].
  • Link each SLO with at least one PLO.
  • Link each SAO with the mission of your division as well as at least one ILO. Units that do not have student contact can select all ILOs for each SAO, as their work indirectly supports all facets of student learning.
  • For SLO changes, please submit requests to the Committee for Programs and Curricula (CPC) through Kuali Student Curriculum Management System (KSCM).
  • For SAO changes, please contact us at the assessment office.

Once the SLOs and SAOs are created, faculty and staff determine how to assess them and what criteria will be used for success. There are two kinds of assessment:

  • Direct assessment methods require participants to demonstrate knowledge and skills and provide data that directly measure achievement of expected outcomes. In many cases, the same assessment instruments in a course used for grading, such as exams and projects, are often adapted to provide data regarding SLO assessment as well. This is known as embedded assessment. On our campus, examples of SLOs include exams, embedded questions, lab tasks, activities, presentations, projects, papers, and practicums. Examples for SAOs include pre-/post-tests, software counts, website counts, manual tallies, staff observations of users, and staff debriefings.
  • Indirect assessment methods require that faculty and staff infer participant abilities from sources other than observable, direct evidence. Often this involves participants self-reporting their learning or growth. Examples include various types of survey.

Both methods [PDF] are valid, although indirect methods alone are often considered insufficient in providing evidence in instructional areas.

Thank you for your hard work in assessing SLOs/SAOs and providing your Fall 2017 syllabi!

While your SLO/SAO assessment support teaching/learning in your classroom, we take your collective data and analyze them according to our Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs). We have analyzed both your numerical and textual insights, and found so many wonderful practices across campus! Much more to come once we choose and launch our new Assessment Reporting System [PDF]!

Action plans related to assessment findings develop in a variety of contexts, including:

  • Instructor/staff's self-reflection.
  • Collaborations with colleagues.
  • Discussions in faculty/staff meetings.
  • Campus-wide Assessment Townhalls (e.g., in Spring 2018) [PDF].
  • Assessment consultations: Contact us at the assessment office to set up one-on-one or departmental training.
  • Assessment trainings: Thank you to everyone who participated in the Assessment Needs Survey! The results [PDF] will inform our 2018-2019 campus-wide assessment workshops.
  • Overall faculty development (face-to-face instruction): Email Roya M. Maroufkhani Dennis, Faculty Support Coordinator, at
  • Overall faculty development (online instruction): Email Ross Egloria, Distance Learning Coordinator, at or

Please contact us if you have questions. We are happy to support you!

Chiara Logli, Ph.D.
Faculty/Institutional Assessment Specialist
Honolulu Community College
874 Dillingham Blvd.
Building 27, Room 215H
Honolulu, HI 96817-4598
Phone: (808) 844-2317