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Student and Staff Perceptions of the Utility of Learning Outcomes Jon Scott, Sara Brooks, Kerry Dobbins, Robert Norman & Mark Rawlinson Schools of Biological Sciences, Medicine & English
‘…. while learning outcomes can be valuable if properly used, they have been misappropriated and adopted widely at all levels within the education system to facilitate the managerial process. This has led to their distortion. The claim that they can be made precise by being written with a prescribed vocabulary of special descriptors so as to serve as objective, measurable devices for monitoring performance, is fundamentally mistaken, and they may be damaging to education when used in this way.’ (Hussey & Smith, 2002)
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How are learning outcomes perceived, and used, by students and staff?
Perceptions of Students & Staffin the School of Biological Sciences I consider that LOs are a useful learning aid Respondents: 311 students ( 41% of student cohort) 37 staff (45% of staff total)
Perceptions of Students & Staff I consider that LOs specify the range of subject material that may be assessed
Perceptions of Students & Staff I have found that published LOs can restrict the breadth of my/students’ learning
Perceptions of Students & Staff I consider that LOs specify the level of learning required to pass an assessment
Perceptions of Biology Students I am usually able to understand easily the depth of learning required based on stated LOs
Perceptions of Biology Students I have found it is possible to underestimate the level of learning required to pass an assessment from the published Learning Outcomes
How do Students Use Learning Outcomes? I first read the LOs in relation to a teaching activity …
How do Students Use Learning Outcomes? I consider that LOs are most useful to me…
How do Staff Use Learning Outcomes? I consider LOs to be useful for structuring module & programme design
How do Staff Use Learning Outcomes? I use LOs to frame the design of assessment
How do Staff Use Learning Outcomes? When undertaking teaching design…
…Just a Management Tool?? I consider that LOs are primarily for the use of the university in providing evidence of teaching quality to outside reviewers