Student affairs professionals aim to enhance student learning through the programs, services, and experiences they provide. In order to measure the degree to which these efforts impact students, attention must be placed on assessing student learning through the measurement of student learning outcomes.
Why Is Assessing Student Learning Outcomes Important?Outcomes assessment is the most valid way of demonstrating the effectiveness of services, programs, and facilities, especially defending and promoting higher education, and also in meeting accreditation standards. It is also the most difficult, complex and misunderstood of all of the assessment methodologies (Upcraft & Schuh, 2001).
What Are Student Learning Outcomes?
Learning outcomes or learning goals are goals that describe how a student will be different because of a learning experience. More specifically, learning outcomes are the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and habits of mind that students take with them from a learning experience (Suskie, 2009).
Furthermore, learning outcomes are statements indicating what a participant (e.g. students) will know, think, or be able to do as a result of an event, activity, program etc. They need to be specific and measurable.
Effective Learning Outcomes
Adapted from StudentVoice Webinar, Writing Effective Learning Outcomes, Spring 2011. Originally cited from Huba & Freed (2000).
Effective learning outcomes should align with the departmental, division, and university objectives, goals, and mission. They should always connect back to the big picture.
The ABCs of a Learning Outcome