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Academic Assessment Committee: Program Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes (LO)

Learning Outcomes: provides a means for transparency so stakeholders know what students are expected to know and do once a program is completed. Must be intentional. Includes knowledge, psychomotor skills, and behaviors that programs’ students should be able to demonstrate upon program completion. Written in clear, simple language that can be understood by stakeholders.  Written in a way that requires students to demonstrate more advanced knowledge and skills. Should include cognitive, psychomotor or behavioral, and affective outcomes. Must be observable and measurable.

Each program should assess 3-5 LOs annually – enough to adequately encompass the mission while still being manageable to evaluate and assess. Program assessment must be manageable and assessment of more than six is approaching too many. Therefore, if a program has more than five LO, the faculty should determine a cycle for assessing each outcome but on a rotational basis; all outcomes do not need to be assessed every year.

Learning outcomes (LO) serve multiple purposes. They

  • guide course and program design and instruction,
  • establish criteria for evaluating student learning as well as course and program quality,
  • form the basis for determining course equivalence when students transfer from one educational institution to another,
  • provide a means for transparency so that employers, accreditors, colleagues, and other stakeholders know what students are expected to know and do once a course and/or program is completed (Banta, 2016).

PSLO Formula

Revised Bloom's Taxonomy

Because LO should be appropriate for students graduating from a program, the outcomes should be written in a way that requires students to demonstrate more advanced knowledge and skills. Therefore, when choosing an action verb, verbs that require higher levels of thinking such as design, diagnose, evaluate should be considered.

More on PSLO

Questions for Evaluating PSLO

Strong Action Verbs

Weak Action Verbs

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