Assessing Institution Student Learning Outcomes

Bates Technical College helps students realize their potential for growth and success through innovative instruction in a nurturing, diverse environment. When students achieve their career and personal goals, they strengthen the region’s social and economic vibrancy. Bates measures institution student learning outcomes (ISLOs) across all courses, degrees, programs and general education to ensure students across the institution reach their potential.

Assessing Institution Student Learning Outcomes (ISLOs)

Bates has identified three Institution Student Learning Outcomes (ISLOs) that represent key abilities that every Bates graduate should demonstrate — Critical Thinking, Effective Communication, and Human Diversity. Like all student outcomes at Bates, these ISLOs have been mapped to Bloom’s Taxonomy levels:

Critical Thinking ISLO

Critical thinking is defined as disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence. Coursework is designed to challenge a student’s ability to problem solve and analyze given the demands of an ever-changing workplace within a diverse culture.

Effective Communication ISLO

Effective communication is evidenced by the ability to identify relationships among ideas, point of view, and language choices by reading and writing critically.

Human Diversity ISLO

Human diversity involves the ability to recognize, interpret and respond to the differences and commonalities among people in the workplace and the learning environment.

ISLO Assessment

The assessment plan for these outcomes calls for them to be assessed on a three-year cycle, one ISLO per year. The assessments ask faculty to:

  • Reflect on their assessment efforts for the past year.
  • Select which specific CSLOs they would like to focus their efforts on improving student performance during the current academic year. Each of the three CSLOs should address the ISLO theme we are addressing as a college:

o Year 1 – Critical Thinking

o Year 2 – Effective Communication

o Year 3 – Human Diversity

o Two CSLOs should not be selected for improvement from a single class during one academic year. One of the SLOs should address the remember/understand (R/U) levels of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy; one should address the apply/analyze (A/A) levels, and the last should address the evaluate/create (E/C) levels.

  • Decide and record how they will determine the extent to which students have met the selected learning objectives.
  • Late spring quarter, faculty will be sent a follow-up survey inviting them to report on how well their students did in meeting the chosen learning outcomes. Faculty will be asked to report the percentage of their students who exceeded expectations, met expectations and did not meet expectations. Instructors can use data they collect on their students’ performance on CSLOs during the year as one source of evidence for making curricular changes or for requesting resources from the college to better support their students.

The following graphic is a guide outlining the expectations for each ISLO area:

Diagram showing the process of assessing three institution student learning outcomes: human diversity, effective communication and critical thinking.

Past ISLO Assessments

Starting in the fall of 2016, Bates implemented an annual cycle for assessing ISLO areas across our career-training programs. Each year, the college focused on one ISLO area to assess, starting with critical thinking, followed by effective communication and ending with human diversity in year three. In the fall term, program faculty submitted one plan per program describing how they were going to assess the ISLO area in their program for that year and in the spring term faculty submitted their results. All forms were collected and reviewed by the Assessment Committee and an annual report was submitted to the College Council and Executive Cabinet for review.

The sequence was interrupted in 2019-20, largely due to COVID-19 and cyberattack disruptions. Rather than resume with the first ISLO, Critical Thinking, the Assessment Task Force and Vice President of Instruction’s office opted to use the data from the 2018-19 Human Diversity assessment to inform a major updating and revisioning of that ISLO.

A select number of plans and results for each year of the cycle (2016-2019) are featured. Expand the menu items and click on the links below for information and reports for the year of interest.

*Program Name Changes: Power Sports and Equipment Technology is now Motorcycle and Marine Technology.

Employees can access a complete list of program assessment plans and results on SharePoint.