Pentagon-in-colorAll of us have likely encountered a situation in which a student contests her grade and feels like grading is so subjective, even unfair. Or while the student may accept the grade, she may feel like she still hasn’t gained clarity about what she did well and what she needs to improve. Rubrics are one tool intended to address such concerns. Rubrics explicitly identify the primary traits that will be evaluated, and distinguish between different levels of mastery. And since Skyline College has adopted rubrics to assess the five Institutional Student Learning Outcomes (ISLOs), the evaluation criteria can be applied in any courses whose SLOs align with the ISLOs, thus enabling students to revisit the rubrics in classes across the curriculum. As a faculty member, you have the option of embedding the relevant parts of rubrics into your own rubrics, so that you can give students efficient, timely feedback, as well as aggregate scores for SLO assessment.

All of this is to point out that the rubrics and accompanying ISLOs descriptors were revised this past year by the Institutional Effectiveness Committee (that supplanted the SLOAC Steering Committee), who drew from feedback from faculty assessors and the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ (AAC & U’s) Value Rubrics. They proposed the following:

(a) to add descriptors to the Effective Communication ISLO that capture the transactional aspect of communication, whether individually or within small groups,

(b) to broaden global awareness beyond scientific literacy for the Citizenship ISLO, replacing “leadership” with an  emphasis on whether students contribute to fostering a positive group environment, and added descriptors on increasing students’ awareness about how their perspectives are shaped by cultural values, and about ethics,

(c) to add a descriptor pertaining to the legal and ethical use of information to the Information Literacy ISLO, and

(d) to add the piloted descriptor pertaining to resilience to the Lifelong Wellness ISLO, and moving the lifelong learning descriptor from the Citizenship ISLO to the LW ISLO.

On Wednesday, May 25, the College Governance Council approved these revised ISLO descriptors and rubrics. They are now available for use from the SLOAC website at .

In 2016- 2017, select faculty will assess the Information Literacy and Citizenship ISLOs. For more information about participating, please contact Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness, Karen Wong, at

Article by Karen Wong