Student learning outcomes provide clear targets for students, a common framework for faculty, and a shared vision for faculty and student work. Writing clear outcomes improves instruction and simplifies assessment. Here are some tips to get you started.
Students should be able to [action verb] [something].
- Only one action verb
- Identify single accomplishments
- Focus on students (what they can do), not on faculty or curriculum
- Students should be able to articulate the strengths and limitations of various research designs.
- Students should be able to place the author in relation to other authors writing on the same or a similar topic.
- Students should be able to perform a representative body of solo and ensemble literature from diverse musical periods.
- Students should be able to formulate testable research hypotheses based on operational definitions of variables.
- Students should be able to evaluate differing historiographical traditions.
- Students should be able to explain interactions between levels of organization in the biological world, from molecules to the biosphere.
- Students should be able to produce sound philosophical discourse.
On the left, outcomes for lower-level courses should use more of the words in white and fewer of those in blue. On the right, upper-level outcomes should use more of the words in white and fewer of the words in blue.
(images courtesy of Susan Hatfield)