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Developing Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes (AKA student learning objectives): Statements of what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time they complete the major or degree. They may be stated in terms of expected knowledge, skills or attitudes. These outcomes must be consistent with the mission of the department, college, and university.i

  1. Institutional Learning Outcomes: Statements that identify content or learning parameters - what students should learn, understand or appreciate as a result of their studies. They are found in the mission statement of the institution and can be embedded in the General Education Outcomes.
  2. Programmatic Learning Outcomes: Statements about student learning that identify what students should be able to demonstrate, or represent or produce as a result of what and how they have learned in a degree program. See a short video on how to develop learning outcomes at the program level. These are not taught in any one course but rather applied and assessed throughout. A degree matrix or curriculum map can be a great help. See this short Programmatic Learning Video for one example (3.5 minutes). Template in Excel.
  3. Course Learning Outcomes: Statements about student learning in a specific course. See how these align with program-level outcomes in this short Course Learning Outcomes video (1.20 minutes).

Striving to help us "see assessment not as an "occupying force," but "as an organic part of [our] work." ii

i Allen, M.J. (2004) Assessing Academic Programs in Higher Education. Boston, Mass.:Anker.
ii Faculty Role in Assessment