SLO Handbook

The SLO Assessment Mandate

City College of San Francisco is committed to the assessment of student learning outcomes as a part of our culture of continuous quality improvement (CQI).  Or, as stated in the College’s mission, “To enhance student success and close equity achievement gaps, the college identifies and regularly assesses student learning outcomes to improve institutional effectiveness.”

To support City College of San Francisco’s mission:

  1. Student learning outcomes and assessments are ongoing, systematic, and used for continuous quality improvement.

  2. Dialogue about student learning is ongoing, pervasive, and robust.

  3. Evaluation and fine-tuning of organizational structures to support student learning are ongoing.

  4. Student learning improvement is a visible priority in all practices and structures across the college.

  5. Learning outcomes are specifically linked to program reviews.

What are Outcomes?

SLOs are learning outcomes that we expect students to receive after they have completed a class, program, degree, or path of study at City College. SLOs are measurable cognitive, psychomotor, or affective skills or knowledge acquired by students as part of the overarching goals of a course, program, or counseling unit.  Courses, instructional programs, and counseling programs have SLOs.There are three kinds of outcomes at CCSF: Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), Student Service Outcomes (SSOs), and Administrative Unit Outcomes (AUOs),

  • Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) (for courses, instructional programs, counseling, and workshops). Example: after students have completed this workshop, they will be able to identify appropriate and relevant scholarship opportunities.

  • Student Service Outcomes (SSOs) (for additional services provided to students such as transcript procurement, registration, and financial aid). Example: students can easily access transcripts and receive them in a timely manner.

  • Administrative Unit Outcomes (AUOs) (for services provided to faculty, staff, vendors, external organizations, etc. to produce an environment of learning for our students)


More about SLOs

SLOs exist at multiple levels within the college, including specific course outcomes, broad program outcomes , and overarching  institutional outcomes.    Student learning outcomes are crafted with alignment as a goal. In other words, course SLOs should directly connect or “map” to program outcomes (PSLOS) and/or outcomes in a General Education area (GELOS), if applicable. Program outcomes, both credit and noncredit, should align with the College’s Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOS). Student Service Outcomes are also crafted to align with many learning outcomes at the college.   

All areas of the college, including administrative service areas benefit from setting outcomes they want achieved by their work (outcomes that those they serve will achieve). Thus “outcomes assessment” (rather than just SLO assessment) is the language we use to describe all levels of our efforts across the college.

For more information on assessing SSOs and AUOs, please refer to the handbook chapter covering these topics. The rest of the handbook is focused on SLOs.

Who is responsible?

At City College, responsibility for college-wide efforts on outcomes assessment resides in the Institutional Development Division, led by the Associate Vice Chancellor of Institutional Development. SLO Coordinators at the college report to the Dean of Institutional Effectiveness in the Office of Research and Planning. However, using the assessment of learning outcomes to improve teaching and learning is a joint responsibility of faculty, administrators, and staff. Everyone has a role to play.


At the course and program level academic departments are responsible for identifying student learning outcomes, assessing the results, and making decisions about what actions to take once the results have been analyzed. These efforts are facilitated by Department Chairs that have the contractual responsibility to coordinate the efforts of discipline faculty in the establishment and assessment of student learning outcomes and the use of outcomes assessment results for course and program improvement.Together, departmental faculty should decide the best way to assess outcomes,  either through shared assessment tools or the coordination of different assessment tools. Individual faculty members, both full and part-time,  have a contractual professional responsibility to contribute to the overall SLO efforts of the department.


All Student Service Professionals on the campus are responsible for assessing outcomes in their service area. Like above, Department Chairs (where they exist), along with Directors, and unit managers are responsible for coordinating assessment and ensuring effective participation in the student service outcomes assessment continual  improvement process.  


The Executive Leadership Team at the College drives the assessment processes of AUOs.  Administrators use service area outcomes to guide the formation of annual goals and objectives, many of which directly relate outcomes in the service area. Annual goals and objectives are also informed by the annual College Priorities developed by the Board of Trustees.  Administrators are responsible for supporting faculty and other individuals employed in departments and other units in their assessment efforts and for ensuring compliance with accreditation expectations. This responsibility includes ensuring opportunities exist for faculty and departments to receive training in the development and assessment of student learning outcomes; creating structures where the results of assessment can be reported; and for fostering institutional dialogue.