Implementing Student Learning Objectives: Core Elements for Sustainability

Lisa Lachlan-Haché, Ellen Cushing, and Lauren Bivona

In Student Learning Objectives as Measures of Educator Effectiveness: The Basics, we provided an introduction to student learning objectives (SLOs) and the SLO process, examples of how they can be used to measure teachers’ contributions to student growth, and innovative approaches to the challenges of SLO implementation.

This report takes the SLO process a step further to assist states and districts in the implementation of SLOs by providing practical steps for building a sustainable system.

To support SLO implementation and sustainability, states and districts can provide resources for teachers, evaluators, and SLO leaders that improve the quality of SLOs, rigor of assessments, and consistency of scoring. This report outlines the importance of these resources while considering the variety of implementation supports that can be offered and the trade-offs for states and districts that have limited resources.

These implementation elements support the rigor, comparability, and sustainability of the SLO process, and are described in detail in the report:

  • Assess the Culture Change—Recognize that SLOs may be a shift in educator practice. To build a sustainable culture of SLO use, consider the obstacles that lie ahead, develop teacher confidence in the SLO process, and create a coherent vision of the value of the SLO process.
  • Provide Supporting Materials—Effective SLO implementation requires resources that promote rigor, consistency, and clarity across schools and/or districts.
  • Offer Training and Rater Calibration—Offer ongoing training to assure rigor and consistency throughout schools and districts.
  • Provide a Structure and Process for Scoring SLOs—Foster consistent and fair ratings across teachers and evaluators, while also producing scores than can be easily combined with other measures to create a final summative rating.
  • Monitor and Evaluate SLO Implementation—Monitor, triangulate data, and research the SLO process to promote the rigor, discussion, and reflection that lead to insightful revisions to the system.