Assurance of Student Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) are the specific skills and/or knowledge graduates of your program (majors and certificates)
are expected to master. Many of programs developed good SLOs, but some are still struggling with this concept.
University of Wisconsin has a helpful breakdown of the concept and how to write effective SLOs. Similarly,
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) are the skills, competencies, and “big ideas” students
should be able to articulate, put into action, or utilize (theoretically or pragmatically)
after the completion of a major or certificate program. As the site notes, learning
outcomes should be clear, observable, measurable, and reflect the skills and knowledge
covered in the program.
Ask yourself the following questions when developing learning outcomes:
- What do we want students in our program to know?
- What do we want students to be able to do?
- When do we want them to be able to do it?
- Are the outcomes observable, measurable, and reasonable (can they be performed by students)?
Note: While “graduate school attainment” and “employment” are clearly important results of the overall educational experience, they are not appropriate indicators of what students learn in the program or are able to do at the point of graduation. For example, a student learning outcome like “Graduates of the XYZ program obtain a job in the XYZ field or are accepted into a XYZ graduate program” are NOT appropriate learning outcome.
Here are some other helpful resources:
Writing Good Program Outcomes (Community @Pepperdine University)
What are Learning Outcomes? (University of Windsor)