Presentation on theme: "Best Practices in Writing Student Learning Outcomes"— Presentation transcript:
1 Best Practices in Writing Student Learning Outcomes Jill Allison Kern, PhDDirector of AssessmentChristopher Newport UniversityJuly 2014
2 What Are Student Learning Outcomes? Student learning outcomes (SLOs) is a generic term that refers to what students should know or be able to do upon the successful completion of:A course—also known as Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs),A program—also known as Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs), orAny degree at the university—also known as Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs).
4 The “Hook”The hook is an SLO’s introductory phrase. It is always some variation on this:Students who successfully complete [name the learning unit] should be able to do the following:
5 Examples of HooksUpon the successful completion of Psychology 101, students should be able to do the following:Those who earn a passing grade in Fine Arts 336 will be able to:Graduates with a major in Computer Engineering will have the following abilities:Those who earn an undergraduate degree at CNU should be able to do the following:
6 The “Ladder”The ladder is the list of skills and knowledge that students need to demonstrate to pass the course, complete the academic program successfully, or graduate.
7 (The term “ladder” isn’t meant to imply a hierarchy or progression of skills; it’s just a term chosen as a visual reminder of a bullet-pointed list.)
8 For each rung in the ladder to be assessable, it needs to meet these two criteria:
9 for Rung to Be Assessable: Criterion 1for Rung to Be Assessable:It muststart with a verb that can beobserved by the instructor.
10 Examples of Observable Verbs DescribeExplainListPresentWriteFormulateCreateAnalyzeArrangeCritiqueSynthesizePredict
12 Translate Non-observable SLOs into Observable Ones Not ObservableObservableKnow the argumentsReflect on the issuesThink criticallyUnderstand the principlesComprehend the methodsAppreciate artSummarize the argumentsDiscuss one’s reflections on the issuesIdentify assumptions implicit in theoriesApply the principlesExplain the methodsDescribe the aesthetic properties of art works that appeal to you
14 For more lists of verbs to use in SLOs: Go to cnu.edu/assessment/resourcesThen, click on hyperlinks to documents under “Step 1”
15 for Rung to Be Assessable: Criterion 2for Rung to Be Assessable:It mustuse only one verbin each SLO.
16 Double-Barreled (not assessable): Students who successfully earn a degree in communication studies will be able to write and speak effectively.
17 Single-Barreled (assessable): Students who successfully earn a degree in communication studies will be able to write effectively.Students who successfully earn a degree in communication studies will be able to speak effectively.
18 SLOs that connect two or more verbs with “or” are assessable; SLOs that connect two or more verbs with “and” are not.
19 Single-Barreled (assessable): Students who successfully earn a degree in communication studies will be able to write or speak effectively.
20 PLO-1: Identify sociological concepts and major theorists. Graduates with a BA in Sociology should be able to:HookLadderPLO-1: Identify sociological concepts and major theorists.PLO-2: Explain primary social theories.PLO-3: Design a research project using the appropriate social science methodology.PLO-4: Evaluate empirical research.PLO-5: Apply sociocultural concepts, perspectives and principles to substantive areas addressed by social sciences.PLO-6: Explain social and cultural phenomena using a cross-cultural perspective.
22 Best Practice 1The verb used in an SLO should determine the data that will be collected to assess the SLO.
23 Examples of SLO Verb Informing What Data to Collect Students who pass Great Books of the Western World should be able to list at least five attributes of texts influenced by Western traditions.To assess, collect lists of text attributes.Students who successfully complete Math 300 will be able to use quantitative reasoning to solve problems.To assess, collect problems that are solved using quantitative reasoning.Students who successfully earn a degree in journalism will be able to write effectively.To assess, collect writing samples.
24 Best Practice 2Avoid using verbs or adjectives that imply a comparison of skills between one point in time and another because such SLOs require a pre- and post-measure.
26 Requires data collection at two points in time: Requires data collection at two points in time: Those who earn a degree in music will improve their capacity to compose complex scores or play an instrument.Requires data collection at two points in time:Those who earn a degree in music will demonstrate an enhanced capacity to compose complex scores or play an instrument.Requires collection of summative (end-point) data only:Those who earn a degree in music will be able to compose complex scores or play an instrument skillfully.
27 Best Practice 3No CLO should be repeated across two or more of a major’s required coursesStudents shouldn’t take multiple courses designed to produce the same learning
28 If a sequence of courses is designed to enable students to develop a skill at a more sophisticated level or to deepen their knowledge of a given topic, then the CLOs should be written to reflect the differing levels of skill/knowledge students are expected to demonstrate in each course.
29 Examples of SLOs Specifying Depth of Learning Students who successfully complete CHEM 122L will demonstrate safe and generally accepted laboratory techniques for simple chemistry experiments.Students who successfully complete CHEM 322L will demonstrate safe and generally accepted laboratory techniques for complex chemistry experiments.Students who earn a passing grade in Music 325 will be able to demonstrate technical proficiency in their chosen instrument during a live public performance.Students who earn a passing grade in Music 425 will be able to demonstrate technical mastery in their chosen instrument during a live public performance.To complete French 200 successfully, students should be able to conjugate regular verbs in the imperfect tense correctly when speaking.To complete French 300 successfully, students should be able to conjugate regular verbs in the imperfect tense when writing.
30 Best Practice 4A person in your field unfamiliar with your course or program should be able to read an SLO and know precisely what students are expected to learn
31 The following SLO would be unclear to a chemistry professor unfamiliar with what is taught in CNU’s Chemistry 232:Those earning a passing grade in Chemistry 232 will be able to identify the principles underlying the experiments performed in the course.The following SLO would be clear to a chemistry professor unfamiliar with what is taught in CNU’s Chemistry 232:Those earning a passing grade in Chemistry 232 will be able to identify the principles underlying basic experiments on combustions, particles, and enzymes.
32 Best Practice 5Keep the list of SLOs short to make assessment manageableLimit the SLOs to the necessary skills and knowledge that students are to acquireAbout four to six CLOs for a three-unit courseAbout five to nine PLOs for a majorAbout four through seven ILOs for a degree
33 Best Practice 6Number your SLOs so that you may refer to them in syllabi, on graded assignments, and in assessment reports.
34 Upon the successful completion of the Fine Arts major with a Studio Art concentration, students will be able to:PLO – 1: Develop a body of work that demonstrates conceptual intent.PLO – 2: Create a body of work that demonstrates technical skill.PLO – 3: Critically evaluate art work using appropriate terminology.PLO – 4: Produce a portfolio that includes an artist’s statement, artist resume, and professional slides/documentation of their work.HookEnumerationLadder
35 More Exemplary SLOsENG 257 CLO-2: Students who successfully complete this course will be able to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of literary texts as demonstrated by a review they write on a novel from the Renaissance, Victorian, and contemporary periods.COMP ENG PLO-5: Graduates of CNU’s computer engineering BS program will be able to design hardware components that meet a variety of client needs.AICE SLO-1: Upon the successful completion of the Creative Expressions Area of Inquiry, students will be able to apply concepts from the humanities to describe artistic endeavors or participate in a fine art, such as creating a painting or choreographing a dance.