- SCU Home Page
- About SCU
- On Campus
- News & Info
- Assessment Home
- Academic Program Assessment
- Planning and Conducting Program Assessment
- Core Assessment
- Contact Us
Articulate Student Learning Outcomes
Definition of Student Learning OutcomesLearning outcomes are statements that specify what students will know or be able to do as a result of earning their degrees. Effective outcomes are usually expressed as knowledge, skills, or abilities that students will possess upon successful completion of a program. Like program goals, SLOs are often informed by a professional organization's outcomes statements and the institution's mission and goals. SLOs provide guidance for faculty regarding content, instruction, and evaluation, and serve as the basis for ensuring program effectiveness.
Characteristics of Effective SLOsSLOs should be clear, concise statements that describe how students can demonstrate their mastery of program learning goals. Each student learning outcome statement must be measurable. Measures applied to student work and may include: student assignments, work samples or tests, measuring student ability/skill, knowledge, or attitude/value.
Bloom's taxonomy is a useful tool in more precisely characterizing the type and level of learning outcome the program wishes to foster. It helps programs avoid vague outcomes, such as "understand" or "appreciate," which are difficult to measure and instead focuses attention on more concrete outcomes such as "define," "argue," "analyze,""apply," "integrate," etc. Learning outcomes consist of a subject (stated or implied: Graduates will….), a verb, and a demonstrated learning outcome.
Some examples of verbs frequently used in outcomes are included in the table below.
From Clemson University Assessment Webiste
Sample Program Learning Outcomes
From: Linda Suskie, Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide, Second Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009, page 132.
Well-written learning outcomes help guide the choice of assessment methods. Course papers could provide the assessment materials for the learning outcomes in English, Environmental Sciences or Women's Studies. A theater student could demonstrate the skills embedded in the theater learning outcome in a performance.
Program Goals and Learning Objectives/Outcomes of Environmental Studies and Sciences Department at SCU
Additional Considerations about SLO's
*Material adapted from Cal Poly, The New School, Linda Suskie, Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide, and Mary Allen, handout at WASC Leadership Academy.
Additional resources on writing SLOs: