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Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG)




The Student Assessment of their Learning Gains (SALG) instrument was originally developed in 1997 by Elaine Seymour while she was co-evaluator for two National Science Foundation-funded chemistry consortia (ChemLinks and ModularCHEM) that developed and tested modular curricula and pedagogy for undergraduate chemistry courses. The instrument was subsequently revised by Stephen Carroll, Elaine Seymour, and Tim Weston in 2007 to better reflect the goals and methods used in a broader array of courses beyond chemistry.

What are the main features?

The SALG instrument focuses exclusively on the degree to which a course has enabled student learning. In particular, the SALG asks students to assess and report on their own learning, and on the degree to which specific aspects of the course have contributed to that learning.

The Student Assessment of their Learning Gains (SALG) website allows instructors to gather learning-focused feedback from students. The SALG survey asks students to rate how each component of a course (e.g., textbook, collaborative work, labs) helped them to learn, and to rate their gains toward achieving the course goals. The SALG survey can be customized to fit any college-level course, and can be administered multiple times per course.

A baseline instrument allows faculty to compare gains relative to incoming student characteristics.

How do I implement it?

Once registered on the SALG site, you can:
  • Customize the SALG survey to fit your course goals and methods.
  • Search for an existing SALG survey in your discipline.
  • Have students complete the survey on-line.
  • Download and review analyses of the students' responses.

What does it measure?

The instrument has since been revised to include five overarching questions, each of which an instructor can customize to a course through sub-items. These questions are:
  • How much did the following aspects of the course help you in your learning?
  • What gains did you make in your understanding of each of the following? (Instructors select concepts)
  • What gains did you make in the following skills? (e.g., quantitative estimates, finding trends in data)
  • What gains did you make in the following? (sub-items address attitudinal issues such as enthusiasm)
  • What gains did you make in integrating the following?

Additional information

This video describes how Dr. Mark Laumakis has used SALG surveys to track the improvement in course features over several years.

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