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.

Recommended Format

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

Examples

  • 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.

Recommended Words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)

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