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Introduction to Student Learning Outcomes in the Major

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1 Introduction to Student Learning Outcomes in the Major
Dr. Judy Shoemaker Director, Assessment & Research Studies Division of Undergraduate Education UC Irvine November 8, 2007

2 What are student learning outcomes?
Statements that describe the knowledge, skills and attitudes that students are expected to achieve by the end of an educational program. Program could be a single event (workshop or lab exercise), a course, a major, general education, or the entire undergraduate experience Today’s focus = the major

3 Student Learning Outcomes in the Major
What do you want your students to know by the time they complete your major? (knowledge) What do you want your students to be able to do with what they know? (skills) What do you want your students to care about? (values, attitudes)

4 A Definition Student learning outcomes are statements that describe the knowledge, skills, and attitudes or values that faculty expect students to achieve by the time they graduate. Knowledge: terms, concepts, theories, research methods, lab safety procedures, processes Skills: demonstration of competence or proficiency, being competent in a foreign language, writing effectively, doing research, carrying out a lab experiment, performing on stage, solving problems Attitudes/values: appreciation, respect, value, ethics

5 Why are learning outcomes important?
Sound pedagogical reasons starting point of the teaching, learning, and assessment cycle students’ learning improves when they know what is expected part of a shift in teaching, from topics to be covered, to what students will learn can guide teaching and learning activities

6 Other Reasons WASC expects
Student learning outcomes are clearly stated at the course, program, and institutional level Student learning outcomes are shared with faculty, staff, students (made public) Faculty take collective responsibility for establishing, reviewing, assessing student learning outcomes, and using the results to improve teaching and learning Results from assessment are used for improvement of teaching and learning

7 Focusing on the Major Defines the undergraduate student experience
Provides depth of study in an academic discipline (depth vs. breadth) Focuses on the cumulative effect of the curriculum as a whole Represents faculty interests, expertise, and teaching responsibilities Faculty-defined

8 Getting Started - Knowledge
What should our students know by the time they graduate? What are the most important terms, concepts, theories, and principles they should know? What methods and procedures should they know?

9 Getting Started - Skills
What should they be able to do with that knowledge? What types of skills should they demonstrate? What constitutes “effective writing” in the major? What performance skills or competencies should they demonstrate? What skills do they need to solve problems in the discipline? What types of research experiences should students have?

10 Getting Started – Attitudes & Values
What should they value? What values or attitudes should they develop? What should they appreciate or respect? What ethical issues should they be able to address?

11 Examples Students who successfully complete this major will be able to ...
Describe basic biological concepts and principles. Understand the major theoretical approaches for explaining economic phenomena. Use statistical packages to analyze sociological data and interpret results accurately. Adopt the professional code of ethics for pharmacy practice. Explain the importance of the scientific approach to understanding natural phenomena.

12 Student learning outcomes use action verbs that describe how students will demonstrate their learning analyze demonstrate illustrate participate specify apply describe interpret perform summarize classify design judge predict support communicate distinguish justify produce translate construct evaluate modify recognize volunteer create explain order review write define identify organize solve

13 Student learning outcomes should reflect various levels of cognitive processing Bloom’s Taxonomy
Cognitive Level Description 1. Knowledge To know specific facts, terms, concepts, theories, procedures 2. Comprehension To understand, interpret, compare, contrast, explain 3. Application To apply knowledge and understanding to new situations, to solve new problems 4. Analysis To identify the organizational structure of something; to identify parts, relationships, organizing principles 5. Synthesis To create something new; to integrate ideas into a solution; to propose a plan of action; to formulate a new classification scheme. 6. Evaluation To judge the quality of something based on its adequacy, value, logic or use.

14 Examples Using Bloom’s Taxonomy
Students can describe the major theoretical approaches of the discipline. Students can apply theoretical principles to solve real-world problems. Students can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the major theoretical approaches for understanding specific phenomena. Students can select the theoretical approach that is most applicable to a phenomenon and explain why they have selected that perspective.

15 Examples from Psychology
Content knowledge Critical knowledge of basic and applied aspects of the core social science areas within psychology Knowledge of the design and analysis of psychological research and knowledge of the interpretation of psychology research findings Critical thinking Ability to review, interpret and analyze the literature in psychological science Communication Ability to clearly and effectively present ideas in speech and in writing that contribute to the dissemination of advances in research in psychological science From the University of Florida

16 More Examples Research Technology Global citizenship/Ethical behavior
Students will demonstrate skills in designing and conducting research, analyzing data and interpreting results in the context of current theories in psychology Technology Students will demonstrate familiarity with computer technologies used in conducting psychological research and learning psychological principles Global citizenship/Ethical behavior Students will interact effectively, sensitively, and ethically with people from diverse backgrounds and demonstrate understanding of the sociocultural contexts that influence individual differences From Eastern Illinois University

17 Possible Categories of Outcomes
Knowledge and understanding of important theories and concepts in the discipline Application of that knowledge and understanding Communication skills, especially writing Research and information literacy skills Values, attitudes and ethics

18 Effective Learning Outcomes
Focus on the learner, not the teacher – what the student learns not what topics will be covered Explain how students can demonstrate mastery of the learning outcomes Clear and understandable to students Use active verbs that describe specific student behaviors Cover various levels of cognitive processing

19 Let’s get started! Mission statements Program descriptions Courses
Professional organizations Other campuses Graduate school or career requirements Student work and surveys Alumni surveys

20 Break-Out Groups by Major
Share information about your major Review the status of learning outcomes on each campus Review other resource materials provided Discuss commonalities and differences across campuses Work on writing student learning outcomes Consider next steps: group, home department, UCOP (sponsor more workshops?)

21 Room Assignments Biology – Moss Cove A Chemistry – Woods Cove B
English – Woods Cove C Psychology – Moss Cove B Theatre/Drama – Woods Cove A WASC ALOs – Crescent Bay A Student Learning Outcomes (general) – Pacific Ballroom A

22 Questions? Dr. Judy Shoemaker
Click on “Assessment Resources”

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