Measurable Outcomes and Meaningful Measures Catherine M. Wehlburg, Ph.D. Assistant Provost for Institutional Effectiveness Texas Christian University firstname.lastname@example.org Northern Illinois University – October 16, 2009
What are Student Learning Outcomes? • Student learning outcomes (SLOs) are statements that specify • what students will know, • be able to do or • be able to demonstrate when they have completed or participated in a program/activity/course/project. • Outcomes are usually expressed as knowledge, skills, attitudes or values.
SLOs Should Focus on: • What you want your students to know at the end of a course, program, major, or degree • What you want your students to understand at the end of a course, program, major, or degree • What you want your students to have the ability to do at the end of a course, program, major, or degree
Why are Student Learning Outcomes Important? • Communicate expectations to learners • Act as a template for course design • Guide selection/design of appropriate assessments
Why are Student Learning Outcomes Important? • Allow educators to match teaching strategies to stated outcomes • Allow faculty, staff, and Institutional researchers to assess the impact of instruction • Clearly communicate graduates’ skills to prospective employers • Provide benchmarks for formative, summative and prior learning assessment
Components of a Student Learning Outcome • Student Learning Behavior-Knowledge, skill, or attitude to be gained • The Method of Assessment- conditions of performance • Criteria for achievement- the levels of acceptable performance
Are Your SLOs S.M.A.R.T.? • Specific -Clear and definite terms describing the abilities, knowledge, values, attitudes, and performance • Measurable -It is feasible to get data: data are accurate and reliable; it can be assessed in more than one way • Aggressiveand Attainable -The outcome has the potential to move the program or unit forward • Results – oriented -Describe what standards are expected from students or the functional area being assessed • Time-bound -Describe a specified time period for accomplishing the outcome From Peter Drucker, 1954
BLOOM’S REVISED TAXONOMYCreating -Generating new ideas, products, or ways of viewing thingsEvaluating -Justifying a decision or course of actionAnalyzing -Breaking information into parts to explore understandings and relationshipsApplying -Using information in another familiar situationUnderstanding -Explaining ideas or conceptsRemembering -Recalling information
Template for Writing SLOs The student will be able to (specific student behavior) ____________________________________________________ as measured by (conditions of performance – could include time frame) ___________________________________________________ at the ______________________________________ level (performance criteria).
Stages of Measuring Outcomes – The Mobius Strip • Stage 1 – Measuring outcomes is a separated and “added on” responsibility. • Stage 2 – Measuring outcomes becomes a part of teaching and learning but is separated from teaching and learning. • Stage 3 – Teaching and learning is the center and Measuring outcomes surrounds it. • Stage 4 – The Mobius Strip – integration of teaching, learning, and outcomes.
Stage 1 – Measuring outcomes is a separated and “added on” responsibility.
Stage 2 – Measuring outcomes becomes a part of teaching and learning but is separated from teaching and learning.
Stage 3 – Teaching and learning is the center and measuring Outcomes surrounds it.
Stage 4 – The Mobius Strip – integration of teaching, learning, and outcomes.
Operational Measures • Measures must be aligned with the outcome that they are supposed to measure. • Consider using an operational definition – define the term (“critical thinking”) by how you would measure it. What would you see? What would you expect a student to do? • Observable measures are crucial – see “Words to Avoid” and “Phrases to Avoid”
Baccalaureate Goals • Critical Thinking • Communication • Context
Small Group • Create several outcomes for your specific goal • Use the template in your handout • For each outcome suggest at least one measure that could be used
Reporting Out • What outcomes did you create?