Writing Effective Student Learning Outcomes Ann Boudinot-Amin Director of Assessment Institutional Research November 9,10, 2008 What is Assessment? PLAN: Develop clear learning outcomes ACT: Use results DO: Offer courses, programs, or learning experiences ASSESSMENT CHECK: Assess achievement Why Do We Assess? Outstanding communications tool Required by DoE, Middle States, and discipline-specific accrediting bodies. When we claim our graduates can “think critically” or “communicate effectively”, do we have evidence that they can? Did my students understand what I just taught them? How do I know? What are Learning Outcomes? The knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, and habits of mind that students take with them from a learning experience (Suskie, 2004). What are Learning Outcomes? What will my students know? What will they understand? What are the  “walk away” things you want students to be able to know and do when they leave your course? Student focused rather than instructor focused. Students will (action verb) (knowledge, skills, values) “Students will be able to…” “Students will demonstrate…” Huba, M.E. & Freed J. (2000). Learner Centered Assessment on College Campuses. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Learning Outcomes Reflect the university and program missions. Align with program goals. Focus on important, non-trivial aspects of learning. General enough to capture important learning but clear and specific enough to be measurable. Limited in number: 3-5 ideal. Huba, M.E. & Freed J. (2000). Learner Centered Assessment on College Campuses. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Learning Outcomes What’s the difference between objectives and outcomes? Outcome: Statement of knowledge, skills, values that students will take from course, experience, etc. Objective: Broad statements about what you hope to achieve in a course, or tasks to be accomplished to achieve outcome. The “means to an end.” Learning Outcomes What kind of learning outcomes are most valued today? Communication skills, especially writing. Information literacy and research skills Thinking skills Analyze, evaluate, organize, solve problems, make decisions, etc. Interpersonal, social skills Suskie, L. (2004). Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing. University Learning Outcomes Professional Skills Advanced Communication Skills Critical Thinking Cultural Competence Effective Citizenship Learning Outcomes How We Develop Learning Outcomes Lesson How Students Achieve Learning Outcomes Course Program Institutional Adapted from Huba and Freed (2000), p. 108. Samples of Learning Outcomes Students will demonstrate the ability to make appropriate inferences and deductions from biological information. Students will present original interpretations of literary works in the context of existing research on these works. Students will use voice, movement, and understanding of dramatic character and situation to affect an audience. Students will be able to explain the impact of the Korean War on US-Far East relations today. Suskie, L. (2004). Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing. Samples of Learning Outcomes Too vague: Students will demonstrate information literacy skills. Too specific: Students will be able to use institutional online services to retrieve information. Better: Students will locate information and evaluate it critically for its validity and appropriateness. Suskie, L. (2004). Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing. Samples of Learning Outcomes Focus on higher order thinking skills rather than memorization of facts or simple conceptual understanding. Students will be able to identify grammatical forms (past participles, etc.)… Better: Students will be able to write and speak grammatically. Students will be able to recall important historical dates… Better: Students will be able to place historical events within a social and political context, to draw meaningful comparisons between events, and to analyze current events within a historical framework. Middle States Commission on Higher Education (2003). Student Learning Assessment: Options and Resources. Philadelphia: MSCHE. Exercise: Writing Effective Learning Outcomes On your own: For ONE of your courses, write THREE learning outcomes. Share the goals with the group. Review: Do they use “action” verbs? Stated in terms of outcomes – what students will know/do after completing the course? Avoid “fuzzy” words? Are measurable? Each group will present one set of course learning outcomes. In your groups of three: Share Learning Goals With Students List on course syllabus, so they understand: Why is it important to take this course? What are the important things they will learn in this class? What is expected of them? How will this course help prepare them for career and life? How does this course relate to other courses in program? Post your syllabus online! Suskie, L. (2004). Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing. Assessment, Teaching, and Learning Students learn most effectively when: They have opportunities to revise their work Multiple drafts and critiques, peer review They understand course and program goals Need framework They (and you) reflect on what and how they have learned Assignments and assessments relevant to course goals are connected to learning activities and focus on most important goals. Middle States Commission on Higher Education (2003). Student Learning Assessment: Options and Resources. Philadelphia: MSCHE. Assessment, Teaching, and Learning Students learn most effectively when: They understand the characteristics of excellent work. Test blueprints; rubrics; instructive comments, even on m/c exams (guidance on which types of questions are causing difficulty) Their learning styles are accommodated. Diversify presentation, lectures, and types of learning experiences. Middle States Commission on Higher Education (2003). Student Learning Assessment: Options and Resources. Philadelphia: MSCHE. First and Foremost: Assessment is a tool for you to use: To improve communication with students To gain insight into what works and what doesn’t To help you understand where change is needed To ensure that your students are really learning what they need to learn. Institutional Support IPART: http://www.aucegypt.edu/RESEARCHATAU C/ipart/ Assessment at AUC Assessment News Assessment Plans and Reports How to Assess Workshops and Events Additional Resources Glossary Center for Learning and Teaching Training and Development Center Teaching Enhancement Grants Thank You! Photos and clip art courtesy of Microsoft Office.
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