- Teaching & Student Learning
- Research & Scholarship
- New Faculty
- Faculty Awards
- Service and Leadership
- Faculty Affairs
- Faculty Resources
- Archived Newsletters
- About CAFE
- Related Services
Assessing Student Learning
- Writing Learning Outcomes
- Developing Rubrics
- Literature & Websites
- How to Make It Meaningful
- What Do Other Institutions Do?
- CAFE Library
- Assessing Soft Skills
Writing Learning Outcomes
What do you want your students to know and be able to do as a result of taking your course? What do you want your student to know and be able to do as a graduate of your program?
Having learning outcomes focuses on the most important aspects of your class/program, and also helps students understand what your learning goals are for them and what they should be working toward.
Four to seven outcomes is a good number for a course or program. More than seven outcomes and it becomes very difficult to track. Focus on the most essential learning aspects of your class.
Outcomes should all start with: "As a result of taking this course, students will be able to...." followed by a skill/knowlege, and the level to which they should achive that skill/knowledge.
Using measurable verbs in outcomes, makes it possible to track the extent to which students are learning. It is difficul to measure how much students "know" or "understand" so it is best not to use these verbs.
Here is a list of active verbs that you might consider for your learning outcomes:
Additional Information: Info Packet for Writing Learning Outcomes
Video: The basics of writing learning outcomes by Campus Labs (35 min)
Video: Using Bloom's Taxonomy to write learning outcomes (10 min)
Video: Assessing learning outcomes (58 min)
Video: Developing a rubric by Campus Labs (37 min)
Literature & Websites
Journal: Research and Practice in Assessment, a peer-reviewed journal by the Virginia Assessment Group
Journal: The Intersection, a quarterly publication by the AALHE
Assessing learning for online education - NILOA Occasional Paper #12
Website: Assessment Commons
Website: Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE)
How to Make It Meaningful
I feel like I'm doing assessment just to fulfill a requirement and check a box. Is it possible to have meaningful assessment?
Yes, yes, yes.
Check out Linda Suskies blog about this topic
What Do Other Institutions Do?
The James Madison University Center for Assessment and Research provides practical examples for their campus and for external constituents.
Here are some examples of good assessment practice provided by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA)
The Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence has several books about assessment of student learning that you can borrow:
Assessment Clear and Simple: A Practical Guide For Institutions, Departments, and General Education by Barbara E. Walvoord
Real-Time Student Assessment: Meeting the Imperative for Improved Time to Degree, Closing the Opportunity Gap, and Assuring Student Competencies for 21st Century Needs by Peggy L. Maki
Learning Assessment Techniques: A Handbook For College Faculty by Elizabeth Barkley and Claire Major
Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education by George Kuh et al.
If you are looking for a specific resource, we are here to help you find it! Reach out to Abby Bigg at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Assessing Soft Skills
Is it possible to assess soft skills like critical thinking or civic engagement? The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) developed rubrics for 16 abilities that are typically difficult to measure. You can download these rubrics for free on their website to provide a framework for assessing outcomes from inquriy and analysis, creative thinking, and problem solving, to civic engagement and foundations for lifelong learning.