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Teaching Effectiveness - Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes are how we define what students are expected to achieve (Harden, 2002).  From a documentation of teaching effectiveness perspective, an examination of student learning outcomes is assessment focused.  It is crucial that we be able to point to qualitative and/or quantitative means of measuring student learning as an element of argumentation of teaching effectiveness.   

As an instructor, this is the area in which you will show evidence of student learning through data driven results, examples of assessment and student work, and collaboration with colleagues to show consistency in achievement.  This standard also helps you to show your focus on student learning and achievement versus simple provision of instruction.   

  • Data: This may include graphs and aggregate data showing student achievement data such as assessment and overall grades. 
  • Student work: This may include examples of student work and assessment evaluation instruments such as completed rubrics and feedback.   
  • Assessment examples: This may include examples of the assessments and evaluation tools such as exams, quizzes, assignment prompts, etc.  
  • Peer review of graded student work: This may include evaluation by other instructors/faculty to demonstrate consistency in assessment and validation of achievement data.  
  • Teaching observation data: This may include consultation with colleagues or CITL to evaluate teaching and assessment practices.   
  • Student feedback: This may include student reflection responses that demonstrate how they feel about their learning and achievement toward the stated learning outcomes. 

The below questions are found on our SITE evaluations at WKU and would align well with your narrative regarding teaching effectiveness through student learning outcomes. 

  • #4 Assignments/exams are aligned with course learning objectives 
  • #5 This course has effectively challenged me to think 
  • #6 My instructor provides constructive feedback 
  • #8 I have learned a lot in this course 

Use the data from these questions to help bolster your arguments regarding the efficacy of your teaching and learning methods and strategies.  

Some other questions you may consider including in your narrative in support of the evidence you provide, may include the following:  

  • Program alignment: How does success in this course align with the program curriculum or other courses within the major and further student success in the program? How does success in this course realize or fit in with the WKU mission and strategic plan? 
  • Course assessments/evaluation: What influenced your assessment and evaluation decisions? How do the assessments and activities reflect the appropriate level of challenge for this student population?  How could you further refine your assessments or evaluation practices? 
  • Student feedback: How have you incorporated students’ feedback into your assessment practices? Have you made changes based on comments or performance? Where can you demonstrate evidence in response to or in support of students’ responses in SITE questions 4, 5, 6, and 8. How can you tie these responses back to your student learning outcomes? 
  • Departmental/college norms: Does my department and/or college have specific requirements or norms regarding course or even programmatic assessment? 

Some resources that may be useful in documenting teaching effectiveness through student learning outcomes include:  

  • Student feedback -SITE Evaluations: This resource takes you to Institutional Research’s Course Evaluation page.  You will find information on when SITE evaluations will take place and how to access the associated data. 
  • Student learning outcomes – Assurance of Student Learning Outcomes, Office of the Provost: This resource provides information and resources on how to write effective student learning outcomes and program learning outcomes.   
  • Teaching observation data - Teaching Observation Form, WKU CITL: This resource is an example of WKU CITL’s teaching observation form.  You are welcome to use it with your colleagues or you can request a teaching observation by contacting CITL at citl@wku.edu 
  • Teaching observation data – Classroom Teaching Observation Instrument, WKU CITL & Faculty Committee: This resource was compiled by an interdisciplinary team to facilitate peer observations. To facilitate a successful observation, please review the Peer Observation of Teaching Process document for information on how to best utilize the instrument.


Harden, R. M. (2002). Learning outcomes and instructional objectives: Is there a difference? Medical Teacher 24(2), 151-55. doi:10.1080/0142159022020687 


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 Last Modified 5/23/24