Program and course-level outcomes are statements of intended learning for programs and courses. As Ken Bain taught the faculty in April 2011, these statements are promises or opportunities that the course or program offers to students. "What kind of questions [will the course or program] help students answer? What kind of intellectual, physical, emotional, or social abilities [will a course or program] help them develop?"
The things we want our students to know, the skills we intend them to develop, and the kind of men and women we want them to be when they graduate are all outcomes. Coming to authentic consensus regarding what we most want our students to know, to be able to do, and to become allows us to design our courses and our programs with focus and purpose. Without that clear sense of what we are trying to achieve, we can't be effective.
Learning outcome statements describe knowledge, skill, or dispositions that we intend students to gain or develop as a result of their participation in our courses and programs. A well-written outcome statement describes desired student behavior rather than teacher actions. Consequently, "Train students in use of laboratory equipment" is not an appropriate outcome statement but "Students will identify safety concerns in a simulated laboratory environment" is appropriate.
A common mistake is to concentrate too many of the outcomes at one level of learning. For example, the outcomes for a course might be focused exclusively on knowledge or application. Please consider a range of levels in your outcomes--knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, evaluation, and synthesis.
To write an effective outcome statement, identify a verb that describes the student behavior you are trying to produce. Once you have a verb, some version of this simple pattern will produce an outcome statement:
Students [observable verb] + [something].
As we learned during his April 2012 vist to BYU-Idaho, Dee Fink advocates the expression of learning outcomes in terms of his six-part taxonomy.
Additional information from Dr. Fink's time with us is available here.
(psychomotor and affective domains here)
|If you want to see if students KNOW the material, consider these verbs:||define, repeat, list, name, label, ask, observe, memorize, record, recall, fill in, listen, match, recite, select, draw|
|If you want to know if students UNDERSTAND, try these verbs:||restate, describe, explain, tell, identify, discuss, recognize, review, express, locate, report, estimate, distinguish, paraphrase, document, defend, generalize|
|If you are interested in a student's ability to APPLY learning, consider||change, compute, demonstrate, show, operate, use, solve, sequence, test, classify, translate, employ, construct, dramatize, illustrate, interpret, manipulate, write|
|If you want to assess student ability to ANALYZE, these are helpful verbs:||dissect, differentiate, calculate, contrast, debate, solve, appraise, experiment, diagram, inventory, relate, map, categorize, defend|
|If the student's ability to EVALUATE is your interest, consider these verbs:||compare, conclude, criticize, justify, support, state, discriminate, summarize, recommend, rate, decide, select|
|If you want to explore students' preparation to "pull it all together" or to SYNTHESIZE, here are some verbs to consider:||create, compose, propose, formulate, set up, assemble, construct, manage, invent, produce, hypothesize, plan, design, organize, prepare, speculate|
Once you have a draft of your course or program outcomes, you might ask students to read them and tell you what they mean. Their inevitable misunderstanding will help to refine and perfect the wording. Additionally, you might ask colleagues from another department or from another university to do the same thing.
You can view collections of outcome statements from other universities here:
The table below provides disciplinary examples of outcome statements. Are they all well-written? Do the examples from your discipline describe the learning you consider essential? Pay particular attention to the verbs in the outcomes.
Learning Outcomes for Undergraduate Education in Art History
Students will demonstrate an effective knowledge of visual vocabulary appropriate for careers in the visual arts, architecture, visual studies, and the media.
They will recognize and understand major monuments, artists, methods and theories, and be able to assess the qualities of works of art and architecture in their historical and cultural settings.
Students will be able to locate, interpret and analyze primary and secondary sources relevant to research questions.
They will use innovative theoretical and methodological approaches to generate new approaches to the history of representation understood within broader socio-cultural perspectives. They will demonstrate skills necessary for effective preparation of artwork for public presentation, using a variety of materials and techniques.
Students will construct a portfolio of works that demonstrates their writing, and presentation skills through verbal, written, and constructive exercises.
describe the different levels of organization used in ecology distinguish between biotic and abiotic factors.
explain how single species populations grow and are regulated.
distinguish between density dependent and density independent birth and death rates.
describe how population data can be analysed using statistics, graphs, life tables, and survivorship curves.
describe the principal interactions between different species and how they affect the respective species.
describe the major forces structuring communities and explain how community structure can be represented by food webs.
explain how communities change in both space (biomes and gradients) and time (succession).
explain the large scale patterns of biodiversity, describe how biodiversity is measured and predict the consequences of continued species loss.
Recognize and analyze business problems and opportunities, apply systems development methodologies to elicit and analyze customer requirements.
Propose information systems-based solutions that are technically sound, economically feasible, and organizationally viable.
Communicate, orally and in writing, information systems solutions to the various stakeholders. Use information systems to provide customers with the data, information, and knowledge to make decisions.
Develop state of the art information technology skills in the contemporary and emerging dynamic and complex business environment.
Collaborate in a team to participate in or manage complex information-based business projects.
Graduates from the Chemistry degree program will have demonstrated:
an understanding of major concepts, theoretical principles and experimental findings in chemistry.
an ability to solve problems in an efficient and accurate manner.
an ability to employ critical thinking and hypothesis-driven methods of scientific inquiry.
a working knowledge of basic research methodologies, data analysis and interpretation.
effective written and oral communication skills, especially the ability to transmit complex technical information in a clear and concise manner.
the ability to use computers for chemical simulation and computation, data acquisition, and database usage.
the ability to use instrumentation for chemical analysis and separation.a familiarity with, and application of local, state and federal safety and chemical hygiene regulations and practices.
an appreciation of the importance and practice of good ethics.
an ability to work effectively in teams in both classroom and laboratory.
The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program is designed to enable students to achieve the following by the time they graduate:
(a) An ability to apply knowledge of computing and mathematics appropriate to the discipline;
(b) An ability to analyze a problem, and identify and define the computing requirements appropriate to its solution;
(c ) An ability to design, implement and evaluate a computer-based system, process, component, or program to meet desired needs;
(d) An ability to function effectively on teams to accomplish a common goal;
(e) An understanding of professional, ethical, legal, security, and social issues and responsibilities;
(f) An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences;
(g) An ability to analyze the local and global impact of computing on individuals, organizations and society;
(h) Recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, continuing professional development;
(i) An ability to use current techniques, skills, and tools necessary for computing practices;
(j) An ability to apply mathematical foundations, algorithmic principles, and computer science theory in the modeling and design of computer-based systems in a way that demonstrates comprehension of the tradeoffs involved in design choices;
(k) An ability to apply design and development principles in the construction of software systems of varying complexity.
Apply the concept of opportunity cost
Employ marginal analysis for decision making
Analyze operations of markets under varying competitive conditions
Analyze causes and consequences of unemployment, inflation and economic growth
Skills specific to the field of English and Textual Studies:
1. Recognize how meanings are created through acts of critical reading and analysis.
2. Analyze the ways texts construct categories of difference, including differences of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, and class
3. Formulate sustained interpretive, analytical, or conceptual arguments based on evidence drawn from texts
4. Develop skills for creative self-expression in fiction or poetry
1. Organize ideas in writing
2. Use clear and appropriate prose
3. Use library and web-based resources to locate primary and secondary sources
4. Use and cite sources appropriately
5. Express ideas and information orally
6. Engage in analytical and critical dialogue orally
7. Evaluate arguments
8. Identify and question assumptions
Learning Outcomes for Undergraduate Education in History
1. A History major will be able to identify multiple causes of events and historical processes, and will be able to describe and analyze historical contexts of events, ideas and/or social and cultural practices.
2. A History major will be able to comprehend and criticize established scholarly methods in investigating and interpreting the past.
3. A History major will be able to frame research questions in the context of existing scholarly literature.
4. A History major will be able to locate, interpret and analyze primary and secondary sources relevant to research questions.
5. A History major will apply research skills under faculty direction to conceive and execute original historical research and to present it in compelling written argument.
Each Mechanical Engineering student will demonstrate the following attributes by the time they graduate:
an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics (including multivariable calculus, differential equations linear algebra and statistics), science (including chemistry and in-depth calculus-based physics), and engineering
an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problemsan understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
an ability to communicate effectively the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning a knowledge of contemporary issues
an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
Students will be able to:
demonstrate knowledge of key disciplinary concepts acquired through coursework.
address scientific questions or solve problems using quantitative, computational, and inquiry-related skills, including developing hypotheses, designing and performing experiments, analyzing data, and interpreting results.
execute database searches for scientific literature and bioinformatics data related to investigatory tasks.
read, analyze, and use scientific papers in the development of research projects, in discussions with peers and mentors, and as evidence to substantiate conclusions in written assignments.
improve written and oral communication skills.
effectively work in both individual and collaborative contexts.
value research and its relevance to one's own life and society.
Students will understand, analyze, and demonstrate knowledge of fundamental concepts of aural skills.
Students will be able to perform a variety of repertoire appropriate for their selected instrument as a soloist and member of an ensemble.
Composition track students will compose original works in a variety of media.
Jazz Studies track students will demonstrate in-depth knowledge and skills in improvisation in a variety of styles.
Music teacher candidates will have in-depth knowledge of music as described by professional, state, and institutional standards. Teacher candidates can effectively plan classroom-based instruction and activities for their roles as teachers. Teacher candidates' knowledge, skills, and dispositions are applied effectively in practice.
Students completing the degree in philosophy are expected to acquire the ability and skills to:
1. form reasoned opinions about the issues - moral, religious, political, etc.- that educated people debate;
2. understand, analyze, and evaluate complex arguments and theories;
3. distinguish between the main thrust of an argument or position and what is ancillary to it;
4. discover and critically examine the underlying presuppositions of major systems of ideas or programs for action;
5. see important connections between different systems of ideas or programs for action;
6. explain difficult ideas and concepts in an informed, effective, and coherent manner;
7. develop a thesis and present a coherent argument for it;
8. write a clear and coherent essay; and
9. engage in rational and productive discussion of issues and arguments.
1. Know the individuals who have influenced contemporary world theatre and understand and articulate the fundamental theories and conventions that helped shape it.
- Identify the names and time periods of specific theatre artists, playwrights and their work from the Ancient Greeks to Modern Day.
- Describe the various theories, and stylistic conventions that have shaped theatre production from the time of the Ancient Greeks to Modern Day.
2. Demonstrate the fundamental skills and techniques required of a modern theatre practitioner; performer, designer, or manager.
Be able to score a script for circumstances, acting relationships, objectives and actions
Use and produce effective vocal characteristics necessary for a theatrical production with correct pronunciations
Develop a personal approach to embody the emotional life and physical characteristics of a character in a theatrical production
Be able to create visual sketches, models, drawings, diagrams to communicate their visual ideas and designs for theatrical production
Apply construction skills and technology to the process of turnings sketches, models, drawings and diagrams into 3 Dimensional forms
Develop an aesthetic process that allows for personal artist vision and approach for theatrical design