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Sep 27, 2022
Assessment of Student Learning
Writing Student Learning Outcomes
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In writing an outcome statement, first, think of what you expect the student to be able to do after completing your program or as the result of using your services. A common approach to writing outcomes is to complete the sentence: At the end of this program, students will be able to (fill in the blank) After using our services, students will be able to (fill in the blank) The key to “filling in the blank” begins with:
Avoid selecting words that are unclear or open to interpretation. The outcome statements should also have the following characteristics:
A good rule of thumb is NOT to select skills, dispositions, or knowledge that are not directly measurable, such as “understand,” “learn,” “appreciate,” “like,” “believe,” “know,” etc. Instead, focus on what students will be able to do, produce, or demonstrate. The following are examples of vague and effective outcomes statements.
The terms in the Bloom’s Taxonomy – Learning in Action chart (below) can be used to create SLOs that tap into the different ability levels. When using the chart, remember that the lower cognitive skills are prerequisites to the higher ones. So before a student can analyze (4) a situation, they must have knowledge (1), comprehend (2) that knowledge, and be able to apply (3) that knowledge in situations.
NOTE for Academic Programs: program-level SLOs should be appropriate for students completing the program. The majority of your program-level outcomes should be reflective of the higher-level cognitive skills.
Download PDF of Bloom’s Taxonomy wheel and Levels of Cognition definitions
It will may multiple revisions done over several assessment cycles before you develop the “final” version that best articulates your vision for your students. Don’t worry, this is a natural part of the assessment process. And, your learning outcomes should improve with each revision.
At the end of this program students will be able to…
After using our services students will be able to…
Assessment: How to Develop Program Outcomes. (March, 2008). University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Retrieved July 15, 2010 from http://www.uhm.hawaii.edu/assessment/howto/outcomes.htm
Bloom’s Taxonomy. (2010, April 20). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved July 15, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom%27s_Taxonomy
Hatfield, S. (2009). Assessing Your Program-Level Assessment Plan. The Idea Center, (#45). Retrieved April 6, 2009 from https://ideacontent.blob.core.windows.net/content/sites/2/2020/01/IDEA_Paper_45.pdf
How to Write Program Objectives/Outcomes. (September 2006). University of Connecticut. Retrieved July 15, 2010 from https://assessment.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1804/2016/06/HowToWriteObjectivesOutcomes.pdf
Learning Outcomes. (2009). Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Retrieved July 15, 2010, from http://provost.rpi.edu/node/18
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