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Writing Student-Centered Learning Goals/Outcomes. A tutorial created by the Siena Assessment Planning Committee. What should learning outcomes accomplish ?. Articulating learning outcomes will help:

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writing student centered learning goals outcomes

Writing Student-Centered Learning Goals/Outcomes

A tutorial created by the Siena Assessment Planning Committee

what should learning outcomes accomplish
What should learning outcomes accomplish?

Articulating learning outcomes will help:

  • TEACHERS select and organize course content, and determine appropriate assessments and instructional strategies.
  • STUDENTS direct their learning efforts and monitor their own progress.
  • STAKEHOLDERS and CONSTITUENTS appreciate the continuous improvement of student learning.
Learning Outcomes respond to these questions…
  • What is the general outcome that is sought for students?
  • What skills/knowledge should students improve/gain as a result of having taken this class?
  • What has changed for, in, or about, the student?
How many outcomes should there be for a class?
  • Generally, 3-6 outcomes are enough…
    • While there may be more, too many measurements become unwieldy.
    • Students may learn other things in a course, but the outcomes are seen as necessary or, at least, very important.
verbs to use for cognitive outcomes
Verbs to use for cognitive outcomes

Benjamin Bloom created a taxonomy that is used for categorizing learning outcomes in educational settings. The three categories in his schema are cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. The cognitive category is divided into lower-level skills through higher-level skills.

how should i start
How should I start?

Ideally, outcomes should connect to the mission/goals of the major/program, which should connect to the mission/goals of the academic School, which should connect to the mission/goals of Siena College.

school of science example
School of Science Example

School of Science Learning Goals

  • Clearly express scientific ideas using oral, visual and written communication.
  • Apply the scientific method and critical thinking skills to raise questions and define and solve problems. 

Mathematics Learning Goals to address these School Goals

  • Communicate mathematical ideas with clarity and coherence through writing and speaking.
  • Apply mathematical models to phenomena of the natural world.
  • Make conjectures and prove propositions within the axiomatic structures of mathematics.

Linear Algebra Course Outcomes to address these Mathematics Learning Goals

By completing this course students will:

  • Master the algebra of vectors and matrices, and be able to develop and answer questions about systems of equations and linear transformations using appropriate manipulation of matrices.
  • Analyze Rn as a vector space, including the concepts of subspace, basis, dimension, and orthogonal vectors and spaces.

Be aware of the fundamental role played by these ideas in building sophisticated models for application in various fields of


  • Obtain a deep understanding of the geometry of linear transformations, including computations of eigenvalues, eigenvectors

and the concept of diagonalization. Apply this understanding in particular to concrete transformations of two and three

dimensional space.

  • Be introduced to axiomatic mathematics via the concept of an abstract vector space. Recognize the widespread existence

of vector spaces in disparate areas of mathematics. Learn to develop and communicate elementary proofs with clarity. 

school of liberal arts example
School of Liberal Arts Example

School of Liberal Arts Learning Goal

Apply appropriate technologies in their academic pursuits.  

Sociology Learning Goal to address this School Goal

 Students will apply their understanding/ mastery of qualitative, quantitative research methodologies, and SPSS to effectively communicate sociological research findings.

Sociology 201 Research Methods I and Sociology 202 Research methods II Course Outcomes to address this Sociology Learning Goal

By completing these courses, students will:

  • Demonstrate their understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.
  • Design research projects to study a social phenomenon.
  • Use SPSS to analyze research data.
  • Communicate sociological research findings.
school of business example
School of Business Example

School of Business Learning Goal

Think critically and creatively to solve complex organizational problems using appropriate analytic and quantitative techniques and integrating knowledge and skills from various disciplines.

School of Business Core Course Learning Goals to address this School Goal

  • Describe the steps in the problem-solving process.
  • Identify the interdisciplinary perspectives from which an organizational problem can be viewed.
  • Identify and apply the appropriate analytic analysis techniques to solve an assigned organizational problem.

Management Concentration Learning Goal aligned with School Goal

Solve complex organizational problems by applying management theory and skills, integrating knowledgefrom multiple disciplines, and conducting independent research.

Possible course-level Learning Outcomes to address this Management Concentration Learning Goal

By completing this course students will:

  • Analyze problems in an organization related to individual, group and inter-group dynamics, and make

recommendations for change.

  • Create a planned change strategy for an assigned organization.
  • Design and develop an organizational research project from inception to presentation of the results.
learning outcomes will also be used
Learning outcomes will also be used…
  • In your department’s Annual Report
  • In your School’s Summary Annual Report
  • In Middle States Periodic Review and Self-Study
  • In reports for other accrediting groups