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Alignment is the process of analyzing how explicit criteria line up or build upon one another within a particular learning pathway. When dealing with outcomes and assessment, it is important to determine that course outcomes align or match up with program outcomes.


Learning assessment refers to a process where methods are used to generate and collect data for evaluation of courses and programs to improve educational quality and student learning. This term refers to any method used to gather evidence and evaluate quality and may include both quantitative and qualitative data in instruction or student services.

Authentic Assessment

Authentic assessment simulates a real world experience by evaluating the student’s ability to apply critical thinking and knowledge or to perform tasks that may approximate those found in the work place or other venues outside of the classroom setting.

Closing the Loop

Closing the loop refers to the use of assessment results to improve student learning through collegial dialog informed by the results of learning outcome assessment. It is part of the continuous cycle of collecting assessment results, evaluating them, using the evaluations to identify actions that will improve student learning, implementing those actions, and then cycling back to collecting assessment results.

Embedded Assessment

Embedded assessment occurs within the regular class or curricular activity. Class assignments linked to student learning outcomes can serve as both grading and assessment instruments.

General Education Learning Outcomes

GE LOs are the knowledge, skills and behaviors a student is expected to be able to demonstrate following a program of courses designed to provide the student with a common core of knowledge consistent with a liberally educated or literate citizen.


Objectives are small steps that lead toward a goal. Objectives are usually more numerous and create a framework for the overarching Student Learning Outcomes which address synthesizing, evaluating and analyzing many of the objectives.

Program Learning Outcomes

An “educational program” is defined in Title 5 as “an organized sequence of courses leading to a defined objective, a degree, a certificate, a diploma, a license, or transfer to another institution of higher education.” Program LOs are typically broader than those at the course level. In addition, they tend to emphasize integrating skills into an interrelated set and often put more stress on real world applications that provide a bridge to the student’s next experience on the job or in upper division study.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes are the specific observable or measurable results that are expected subsequent to a learning experience. These outcomes may involve knowledge, skills or behaviors that provide evidence that learning has occurred. An SLO refers to an overarching outcome for a course, program, or student services area.

SLOs describe a student’s ability to synthesize many discreet skills using higher level thinking skills and to produce something that asks them to apply what they’ve learned. SLOs usually encompass a gathering together of smaller discrete objectives though analysis, evaluation and synthesis into more sophisticated skills and abilities.


Butte College | 3536 Butte Campus Drive, Oroville CA 95965 | General Information 530.895.2511

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