Step 1: Defining/Refining Student Learning Outcomes:

(Adapted from the work of Janet Fulks, Bakersfield College, whose work can be found at: http://www2.bakersfieldcollege.edu/courseassessment )

Student Learning Outcomes are the specific measurable goals and results that are expected subsequent to a learning experience. Outcomes may encompass knowledge (cognitive), skills (psychomotor) or attitudes (affective behavior) that display evidence that learning has occurred, at a specific level of competency, as a result of a course or program. SLOs are clear, assessable statements of what a student is able to DO at the completion of a course or program.

When writing SLOs:

  • Focus on what the student can do. Don't address what was taught or presented, but address the observable outcome you expect to see in the student.
  • Use active verbs. Active verbs are easier to measure. For instance, if you want the students to understand how to correctly use a microscope - using the word understand is not measurable. Can you measure understanding? Instead try to imagine the outcome - Students will focus and display an image on the microscope. For this I can both develop criteria and measure ability.
  • Include an assessable expectation. It helps if you have clearly defined expectations concerning the criteria related to that outcome. In the above example, some of the criteria related to using the microscope would include:
    • a clearly focused image
    • correct lighting adjustment of the diaphragm and condenser
    • appropriate magnification for the object
    • an evenly distributed specimen field
    • clearly located object identified by the pointer
    • a written identification
    • Share the outcomes with faculty from other disciplines and within your own discipline. This helps focus the meaning of the statements. For instance in the above criteria the faculty may ask for clarification of "appropriate magnification."
    • Share the outcomes with your students. Students need to clearly understand what is expected, they are unfamiliar with the discipline specific language. This helps focus the clarity of the statements.
    • Modify as you learn from experience. Leave the word "DRAFT" at the top of your SLOs to remind yourself and communicate to others that you are actively improving them.

      Further Assistance:

      To further assist you in writing effective, assessable student learning outcomes, we provide the following resources:

      EXAMPLES of SLO Statements, from other colleges, sorted by discipline:
      SLO Samples

      Downloadable documents:
      • Crafton Hills College SLO Workbook and Toolkit 2009-2010 (PDF)
      • How SLOs Differ from Goals and Objectives (PDF)
      • Bloom's Taxonomy and 3 Domains of Learning (PDF)
      • Template for Developing Draft Student Learning Outcomes (PDF)
      • Student Learning Outcome Checklist (PDF)