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Program Learning Outcome Assessment

Program learning outcomes are program goals that describe what a student will gain from the learning experience. The process for creating program learning outcomes is collaborative. Teaching faculty and support staff should all be involved in the creative process. This provides an opportunity for ownership of the process.

Ideas for program learning outcomes can come from various sources:

    First and foremost, from collaborative faculty discussion about the program.
    Suggested outcomes provided by professional organizations.
    Complementary departments/programs within the same institution or departments/programs in the same discipline at other institutions.

Effective program learning outcomes:

    Are about what students have learned, not what we want to teach them.
    Are based on program values.
    Describe students' knowledge, skills, and capabilities upon completion of the program.
    Specify about three to seven program learning outcomes that can be observed and measured.
    Align with course learning outccomes (CLOs) in at least two courses at different levels, as shown in the curriculum map.
    Align with institutinoal learning outcomes (ILOs) where relevant.

Example program learning outcomes from University of Connecticut's Assessment Office:

    Anthropology: Students will be able to explain and appropriately apply evolutionary theory to human and nonhuman primate biological phenomena; this should include ability to summarize the basic time-line and processes of general primate and specific hominid biological evolution.
    Bioengineering: Students will be able to apply advanced mathematics (including differential equations and statistics), science, and engineering to solve the problems at the interface of engineering and biology.
    English: Students will be able to evaluate how a text supports or defies the literary conventions of its genre.
    Natural Resources: Students will broaden their social perspectives through exposure to diverse culture and thinking in course works, service projects, and departmental or college seminars.

Want more examples of good program learning outcomes? Visit the Sample Tools page.

Continue to Map Courses to Outcomes

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