LA HARBOR COLLEGE Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) Assessment Report Course Assessment

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) Assessment Report
Course Assessment
Division: Science, Family and Consumer Studies
Course Number and Name: GEOG 001 Physical Geography
Program Contact Person: Dr. Melanie Renfrew
Phone: 310-233-4557_____________________
Reviewed by: Lora Lane, SLO Assessment Coordinator
Fall 2011, assessed January 2012
Attach additional pages as necessary.
Learning Outcomes
Course Intended Outcomes
1. Identify locations with Earth’s reference
grid of latitude and longitude; relate latitude
with incoming solar radiation and climate
types. (Introduction, Atmosphere)
Means of Assessment and
Criteria for Success
Map identification, multiple
choice and matching
2. Differentiate common patterns of
temperatures, high and low pressure, global
and local winds, humidity and precipitation.
(Atmosphere, Hydrosphere)
Map Matching and multiple
choice questions
2, 3
3. Correlate world maps of plate tectonics,
volcanoes and earthquakes; and distinguish
landforms associated with convergent,
divergent, and transform (transverse) plate
tectonic boundaries. (Lithosphere)
Matching and multiple choice
4. Recognize and illustrate the roles of water
and wind in shaping vegetation patterns, and
fluvial (river), coastal, Karst (groundwater in
solution), desert, and glacial landforms.
(Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, Biosphere,
Landform diagram exercises,
Matching and multiple choice
2, 3, 5
Summary of Data Collected
Use of Results
44% (28/63) scored correctly
Students need about 2 more handson map exercises to process this,
relate it to their GPS devices, and
review throughout the semester.
43% (34/79) scored correctly.
Usually the Atmosphere is the
hardest of the 4 spheres for
them because temperature,
pressure and humidity are
invisible, but I try to teach
from the sky itself and keep
urging them to observe.
48% answered these correctly
in Fall 2011. (I did not assign
this as a separate map exercise
but lectured and drew on
board for students to copy, and
they did not learn them as
In Fall 2011, I assigned
“Lithosphere Study Guides” to
incorporate textbook and
Internet resources and take
more responsibility for their
own learning, but only A and
B students performed well on
test questions that should have
been obvious. (Only 48%
I’m going to try to write out and
draw all the Atmosphere topics
they need to know, each with
textbook page numbers and
Internet diagram websites for
For Spring 2012, I’ll add the plate
tectonic map and landform
diagrams (SLO’s 3 & 4) back in as
required lithosphere assignments.
I keep trying varying hands-on
methods and creative projects to
see if students will learn better and
retain information longer, but too
many are not trying hard enough,
and hoping professors will “make
C’s happen for them.” I won’t
assign this particular project again,
although A and B students raved
[30/63] passed the Lithosphere
test: they didn’t study their
“Study Guides.”)
2, 5
5. Correlate Earth’s climates and biomes on
world maps. (Atmosphere, Biosphere)
Map exercises and map
matching questions
58% (45/77) answered these
questions correctly.
about it, said they learned the most
about the Lithosphere of all, and
were very proud of their projects.
“ Double Gold Stars”
For everyone to absorb global map
knowledge, we need to keep
reviewing, and maybe do it earlier
in the semester so they have a
chance to process causes and
March 2009
Institutional Learning
1, 2
Course Intended Outcomes
1. Define geography, physical geography,
and Earth’s four integrated spheres:
atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and
Means of Assessment and
Criteria for Success
Multiple choice question on
quiz 1
Summary of Data Collected
Use of Results
(specific data not collected in
(This longer list of older SLO’s
was from an early 2000’s effort to
specify everything, now
simplified.) SLO #1: My tests are
cumulative and comprehensive;
and if by the end of Geography 1,
students do not know what the 4
spheres are, they need to take the
class again.
I now allow them to study over
tests (but not keep them), and keep
asking core topics so they need to
answer similar questions correctly
on subsequent tests & final, to earn
A’s, B’s, C’s.
This SLO was shifted over to
Geography 15, the Lab class.
1, 2
2. Explain Earth’s reference grid: latitude
and longitude, latitudinal geographic zones
related to climate, and the relationship of
longitude and time
Multiple choice and matching
On early quizzes and tests,
passive students generally
perform poorly, as they are not
studying enough yet.
(Continue in next box.)
3. Using a time zone map, calculate time
zone differences between different
locations on earth
4. Record field observations and compose
a 4-6 page report on a geography field trip,
including descriptions of the site, weather
characteristics on that day, water features,
vegetation, animals, landforms, rocks, soil,
and human activity in the area, with 3
labeled drawings (plant, rock, and
5. Recognize and record observations of
plant characteristics that serve as
adaptations to dry, medium, and wet
6. Distinguish plant forms and identify
plant samples in five Southern California
vegetation communities: coastal sage scrub
(“soft chaparral” on drier, sunnier slopes),
chaparral (taller, thicker, woody shrubs on
hillsides with more moisture), oak
woodland (grasslands with scattered trees),
riparian/streamside woodland, and
grasslands (meadows)
7. Compare and correlate the Earth’s major
climates and biomes (global vegetation
Class map exercise
Graded exercises
Field Trip Reports
Several hundred reports,
Geography Notebooks
It was difficult for all the
Geography 1 students to have
transportation to local canyons, so
this is no longer a required part of
Geography 1, but is an important
part of Geography 15 Physical
Geography Lab class.
Plant and leaf drawing
exercises, multiple choice
and diagram identification
Plant and leaf drawing
exercises, multiple choice
and diagram identification
About 95% of Geog 1 students
who complete the class do
Plant diagram exercises, and
they are 94% beautiful!
Matching results show
students keep mixing up
“chaparral” and “coastal sage
scrub,” as they don’t see the
differences much (most are
visual learners)
This is a valuable exercise for
urban students to learn about and
“see into” the biosphere.
Map creation and
Test matching, map location
matching of regions
1, 3, 4, 5
1, 2, 5
1, 2, 5
1, 2
I decided it wasn’t important to test
them on this ecosystem variation in
Physical Geography, that a global
view is more important, and
understanding generalized
Mediterranean plant adaptations.
It is part of Lab field trip
observations, but no longer
Instead of teaching about Climates
first in the Atmosphere section, I
now teach about them as
correlations with plant biomes, so
8. Illustrate the water cycle (hydrologic
cycle) and explain its processes.
Test question, “Draw and
label the water cycle.”
1, 2, 3
9. Describe the unique properties and
geographic distribution of Earth’s waters.
Map matching of major seas
and rivers, multiple choice
and matching about water
characteristics and functions
1, 2, 5
10. Explain cloud formation and identify
major types of clouds.
Cloud drawings from books
and sky, multiple choice and
11. Describe the basic pattern of Earth’s
ocean currents, and identify major currents
in the Pacific Ocean and the northern
12. Describe remote sensing, G.P.S.
(Global Positioning System), and
geographic Information Systems (G.I.S.)
as tools used in geographic analysis.
Map drawing, multiple
choice and matching test
(specific data not collected in
13. Locate major physical features of Earth
on a series of world maps.
Creation of their own
“lithosphere maps” with
major mountain ranges,
tectonic plates, islands,
peninsulas, and tested by map
I use the backs of Scantron
883 forms which have 15
choices for map matching,
which are more rigorous and
less easy to guess.
2, 5
14. Describe and draw diagrams
illustrating common patterns of
temperatures, high and low pressure, ocean
Multiple choice, matching,
fill in and completion
questions, map identification
(specific data not collected in
2000’s) I have added Internet
exercises about the
1, 2
1, 2
1, 3
If students need to draw it on
Quiz 1 or 2, that is a better
form of testing than just
multiple choice selection of
processes (but they take longer
to grade).
Specific data not collected on
map success rates, but learning
maps is usually correlated
with their overall effort for an
A, B, C, or lack of it. If
students “skip” map learning
overall or fail to try
overcoming a spatial mental
block, it can lower a final
(specific data not collected in
students can visualize the
differences and understand how air
pressure and winds contribute to
precipitation, and rain is correlated
with biomass
Keep reviewing it outdoors with
sky and dew observations, weather
reports and views of snow in
mountains when it’s clear
(See SLO # 13, Use of results.)
I have added Internet exercises
about the Atmosphere for students
to appreciate photos, diagrams, and
visualizations online.
These currents are shown but not
labeled in their current textbook, so
I need to draw and emphasize them
each time.
This SLO was shifted to the
Geography 15 Lab Class as part of
a take-home midterm examination,
to work on research competency
(ISLO # 3).
Although map location is only a
minor part of Geography, it is an
important part of the language of
the lithosphere. Some students
have never studied maps before.
They have 2 chances, as the Final
exam has a world map, so they
need to review both water and
physical land features.
I take them outside to teach from
the sky whenever possible, and
stopped teaching and testing on
and land winds (“onshore and offshore”),
global wind systems, rain and desert
1, 2, 5
15. Distinguish between internal,
mountain-building processes (uplift,
folding, faulting, volcanoes, and
convergence of tectonic plates), and
external, landform-shaping processes
(weathering, erosion, mass wasting, and
deposition). Illustrate each with examples.
Atmosphere for students to
appreciate photos, diagrams,
and visualizations online.
Multiple choice, matching,
drawing and labeling
landform diagrams on
Lithosphere and Final exams
Drawing Earth features is a
good way of learning, so what
they drew in exercises, >80%
remembered and were able to
replicate the drawings on tests.
“offshore and onshore” terms
because L.A. and TV
meteorologists don’t even know
the difference, and are indoors so
don’t see winds reversing.
This is a continued part of
Geography 1 Lithosphere learning:
Earth is beautiful and aesthetic,
and science is enhanced by Earth’s
natural artistic designs.