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Defining Learning Outcomes

Program-level student learning outcomes (PLOs) are written as measurable, results-oriented statements that specify to students and others the knowledge, attitudes, or skills faculty want students to demonstrate upon completion of an educational experience. Professional organizations, accreditation bodies, and an institution’s mission and goals often inform PLOs. They provide a foundation for obtaining valid and reliable data that can be used to improve curriculum, instruction, and student learning.

Student learning outcomes:

  • Focus on observable behaviors that students acquire as they progress through a program.
  • Are written as observable, results-oriented statements.
  • Use simple, specific action verbs.
  • Present the student as the performer of the action.
  • Answer the question: What are students able to do or demonstrate as a result of their studies?