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assessment, higher education, pedagogy, student learning

SALG – Student Assessment of Their Learning Gains

The SALG website is a free course-evaluation tool that allows college-level instructors to gather learning-focused feedback from students. Anyone may register and use the site. Once registered on the SALG site, you can: (1) create and use a SALG survey to measure students’ learning gains in your course and their progress toward your course’s learning goals; and (2) create and use an optional baseline survey to discover students’ starting point relative to course goals.

from the site:

The SALG site currently has 6418 instructors, 3468 instruments, and 125839 student responses.

The Student Assessment of their Learning Gains (SALG) instrument was 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 original SALG was used by over 1000 instructors in 3000 classes and by over 65,000 students. 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.

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 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? (Examples might include class and lab activities, assessments, particular learning methods, and resources.)
  • As a result of your work in this class, what gains did you make in your understanding of each of the following? (Instructors insert those concepts that they consider most important.)
  • As a result of your work in this class, what gains did you make in the following skills? (A sample of skills includes the ability to make quantitative estimates, finding trends in data, or writing technical texts.)
  • As a result of your work in this class, what gains did you make in the following? (The sub-items address attitudinal issues such as enthusiasm for the course or subject area.)
  • As a result of your work in this class, what gains did you make in integrating the following? (The sub-items address how the students integrated information.)

Information on the development of the SALG, and on validity and reliability evidence of the approach can be found in the following articles.

  • Seymour, E., Wiese, D., Hunter, A. & Daffinrud, S.M. (Marzo del 2000). Creating a Better Mousetrap: On-line Student Assessment of their Learning Gains. Paper presentation at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, CA. Download article

About judithcoe

I am a retired music professor emerita, faculty development champion, SoTL practitioner mentor and trainer, technology geek, fulbright alum, cultural ambassador, digital explorer, artist, and observer with a passion for Irish land- and seascapes, music and literature, Blasket Island people and culture, and the sea.


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