Module Eleven: Determine Student Learning Outcomes

Defining Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes describe what students are able to demonstrate in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitudes upon completion of a program. Using Bloom’s Taxonomy for Thinking, you can begin your assessment of a student’s knowledge, which is the foundation of cognitive thinking. However, our goal as faculty is to teach students how to think critically and use this knowledge. Thus, the cognitive skills become more complex as we move up the pyramid to reach evaluation.
Writing Student Learning Outcomes
When writing learning outcomes, focus on student behavior and use simple, specific action verbs to describe what students are expected to demonstrate upon completion of a program. The wording should be something as follows:
Students will be able to <action verbs to describe knowledge, skills, or attitude> . . . .
Action Verbs
Concrete verbs such as “define,” “apply,” or “analyze” are more helpful for assessment than verbs such as “be exposed to,” “understand,” “know,” “be familiar with.”
Cognitive Learning Examples of Action Verbs
Knowledge - to recall or remember facts without necessarily understanding them articulate, define, indicate, name, order, recognize, relate, recall, reproduce, list, tell, describe, identify, show, label, tabulate, quote
Comprehension to understand and interpret learned information classify, describe, discuss, explain, express, interpret, contrast, associate, differentiate, extend, translate, review, suggest, restate
Application to put ideas and concepts to work in solving problems apply, compute, give examples, investigate, experiment, solve, choose, predict, translate, employ, operate, practice, schedule
Analysis to break information into its components to see interrelationships analyze, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, distinguish, examine, investigate, interpret
Synthesis to use creativity to compose and design something original arrange, assemble, collect, compose, construct, create, design, formulate, manage, organize, plan, prepare, propose, set up,
Evaluation to judge the value of information based on established criteria appraise, assess, defend, judge, predict, rate, support, evaluate, recommend, convince, conclude, compare, summarize
Affective Learning Examples of Action Verbs
Accepting to be willing to participate in an activity or attend to a stimulus ask, choose, describe, follow, give, hold, identify, locate, name, point to, reply, select, use
Responding to actively participate; to demonstrate interest answer, assist, compile, conform, discuss, greet, help, label, perform, practice, present, read, recite, report, select, tell, write
Valuing to attach value or worth; to commit Complete, describe, differentiate, explain, follow, form, initiate, invite, join, justify, propose, read report, select, share, study, work
Organization to build a value system by comparing and synthesizing values Adhere, alter, arrange, combine, compare complete, defend, explain, generalize, identify, integrate, modify, order, organize, prepare, relate, synthesize
Characterization by Value to adopt a value system that directs behavior, that contributes to a lifestyle Act, discriminate, display, influence, listen, modify, perform, practice, propose, qualify, question, revise, serve, solve, use, verify
Skills Learning Examples of Action Verbs
Perception to use sense organs to guide action Choose, describe, detect, differentiate, distinguish, identify, isolate, relate, select, separate
Set to be ready to take action Begin, display, explain, move, proceed, react, respond, show, start, volunteer
Guided Response to know steps required to perform a task Assemble, build, calibrate, construct, dismantle, display, dissect, fasten, fix, grind, heat, manipulate, measure, mend, mix, organize, sketch, work
Mechanism to perform tasks in a habitual manner Assemble, build, calibrate, construct, dismantle, display, dissect, fasten, fix, grind, heat, manipulate, measure, mend, mix, organize, sketch, work
Complex Overt Response to skillfully perform motor acts involving complex patterns of movement Assemble, build, calibrate, construct, dismantle, display, dissect, fasten, fix, grind, heat, manipulate, measure, mend, mix, organize, sketch, work
Adaptation to skillfully perform motor acts; to modify movement patterns for problematic or new situations Adapt, alter, change, rearrange, reorganize, revise, vary
Origination to create new movement patters for problematic or new situations Arrange, combine, compose, construct, design, originate
Source: UCF Academic Assessment Handbook, University of Central Florida, 2006 as Adapted from Allen and Noel, 2002; Gronlund, 2000; Palomba and Banta, 1999; Roth, Beyer, and Gillmore, 2002; Designing Valuable Assessment Plans: Evaluating Assessment Strategies, 2003; and DLRN's Technology Resource Guide, 2003.
Examples Of Student Learning Outcomes
  • Graduates will be able to articulate the cultural and socioeconomic differences and the significance of these differences for instructional purposes.
  • Graduates will be able to collect and organize appropriate clinical data, apply principles of evidence-based medicine to determine clinical diagnoses, and formulate and implement acceptable treatment modalities.
  • Graduates will be able to critically analyze and evaluate current research.
  • Graduates will be able to explain the value of outcomes assessments in assuring quality across the profession and national borders.
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