Writing a Student Learning Outcome
The first step in developing an assessment plan is craft program student learning outcomes (SLOs). Well-developed learning outcomes are the foundation of a practical, sustainable assessment program. Spending time on this step makes the latter steps easier and ensures that the assessment process is valuable for students and faculty.
What are Learning Outcomes?
Successful assessment begins with a clear sense of what you want your students to “look like” when they graduate. Learning outcomes are the roadmap for you and your students. What is a learning outcome?
Learning Outcome: a specific statement that defines, in behavioral terms, what a student should know, think, or be able to do upon completing a course of study or a set of activities.
Characteristics of well-written outcomes include:
A Strong Learning Outcome...
Learning Outcome Examples
Weak Learning Outcomes
Strong Learning Outcomes
Candidates will understand how to work with families of students.
Candidates will design and implement a plan for outreach to families of their students.
Candidates will know how to assess student learning.
Candidates will assess student learning after delivery of a unit of instruction.
Why Have Learning Outcomes?
Huba and Freed (2000) have identified three main benefits to well-defined goals and outcomes:
- Goals and outcomes are the foundation for assessing student learning at all levels of the institution.
- Faculty and staff can use clear learning outcomes to guide all instruction and programs.
- Students can refer to learning outcomes to understand what is important to learn.
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