Institutional Learning Outcomes revisions that align with Guided Pathways proposed

A revision on Institutional Learning Outcomes that align with the Guided Pathways framework for El Camino College was proposed.

According to the Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) website, ILOs are statements based on a set of skills or abilities that students are expected to demonstrate as a result of their educational experience at El Camino College (ECC).

The college assesses one of its four ILOs every academic year, which evaluates if each of the core competencies are met and guides ECC on what areas of the institution would still need to be improved.

During the Academic Senate meeting on Oct. 19, Vice President of Instructional Effectiveness Kevin Degnan introduced the revision and said that the ILOs have an overemphasis on academic affairs and courses.

“There’s lots of things that student services and administrative services do that all kind of contribute to the greater mission of the college, but that is not reflected in our current ILOs,” Degnan said.

One aspect considered important for updating the ILOs was the assessments for students being taught these values in classes.

Degnan says that revisions can make way for assessments helpful to academic affairs and courses as well as counseling, student services and other areas that will show evident improvement of resources at ECC.

Current assessments of students retaining the ILO core values were presented as ineffective and reason for said values to change.

Degnan said that the current ILOs are “obscure and lack meaning” in relation to making a clear, helpful way of using the data gathered from past assessments on courses such as ones that fall under the “Communication” statement.

“We aggregate the total averages of classes taken yet we shrug our shoulders — it’s very hard to find meaning when it’s just one number. That’s where the problem lies, it’s like ‘so what?’” Jenny Simon, Guided Pathways faculty coordinator and English instructor at ECC said about the past assessments.

Because of this, the ILO statement revision will follow the four pillars of Guided Pathways implemented in California Community Colleges which are “Clarify the Path”, “Enter the Path”, “Stay on the Path” and “Ensure Learning.”

With these proposed statements, Degnan said that they have already come up with a list of sample possible assessments that would be much more meaningful for each of these ILOs.

“That’s actually immediately one of the advantages of moving to a more Guided Pathways oriented system of ILOs,” Degnan said. “The assessments immediately make more sense, we can see that it would align more authentically and see which areas of El Camino serve which pillars.”

According to the proposed revision, an example of possible assessments under “Clarify the Path” would use methods such as observing services, including counseling events and conducting surveys that would inform the ILO committee as to how useful students found the services.

“In looking at ‘Clarifying the Path’, ‘Enter the Path’ and ‘Stay on the Path’ we can see that there are more areas where the data we would need to effectively assess ourselves on these factors or measures will make more sense,” Degnan said.

Degnan said that another goal of the ILO revisions will be to combine the course level Student Learning and Program Learning outcomes more effectively at an institutional level while working with Guided Pathways.

“We will look at SLO and PLO results for mostly the gateway courses, the course the students have to pass through, to [support] more of the stuff that they need for their certificate or major and major courses for transfer,” Degnan said.

The proposition will be voted upon at the next Academic Senate meeting on Nov. 2 and has received positive reactions from the Senate committee during its presentation at the Oct. 19 meeting.

“I never quite understood how the ILOs could be assessed at the institutional level, so I think this is such a good idea,” Stacey Allen, Vice President of Faculty Development said. “It’s just another way to institutionalize the pillars of Guided Pathways and to make it more of our everyday operations at El Camino so I think it’s great.”

Simon said that if approved and ECC commits to these four pillars of Guided Pathways, the new ILOs could look at students and college in a more holistic way and help better guide students to complete their educational goals.

“When it’s spelled out in all different areas including the ILOs and all these different strategic plans around campus, that will help us visualize and all get on the same page and ultimately help students,” Simon said. “That’s what we’re really here for.”