Program Learning Outcomes
By the completion of a degree program, students should be able to demonstrate these learning outcomes—either as integrated into the capstone as a demonstrable task—or as documented by key tasks across a program.
Example: Sociology Major Learning Outcomes
The first three LO’s are related to research, involving asking research questions, and collecting and analyzing data.
- Students will be able to formulate sociological research questions.
- Students will be able to utilize sociological research methods to collect data.
- Students will be able to analyze data with appropriate sociological data analysis methods.
Course-level Learning Outcomes
Course-level outcomes reflect what students will learn by the end of the course. Certainly, each course will reflect either an introduction to a concept, practice at gaining competence in this outcome, or demonstration that a student knows and/or owns the knowledge/concept/skill/ability. Instructors should include a range of course outcomes that demonstrate process and context.
Example: Course-level learning outcomes for each “level” of course that relate to the above major LO’s. (Note: These outcomes are currently under construction.)
Students will be able to:
100-level courses: identify research methods basics.
200-level courses: begin to develop their ability to collect and analyze data on sociological topics.
300-level courses: continue to develop their ability to collect and analyze data on sociological topics.
400-level courses: demonstrate integration of analytical, methodological, and conceptual skills in addressing a sociological question.
In examining our curriculum map and the above LO’s, we see that as students progress through the sociology curriculum, they are first introduced to research questions, methods, and analysis in SOCI 101/190 and 232 (both required courses). Students are given a lot of time to practice these skills in our 200-, 300-, and some 400-level courses such as 233, 330/336, and 410 (note, the map does not show which of these courses are required). Finally, students demonstrate these skills in their capstone research project (499).
Class-level Learning Outcomes
Class-level outcomes reflect what a student will learn in one (or several) particular class periods. Constructing daily class-level outcomes can guide an instructor through a particular topic and align with course-level (and thus program level) outcomes. Students can be assessed in low-stakes ways such as one-minute papers or a pop quiz on a particular concept. This can give the instructor immediate feedback on students’ grasp of the concept. Students can also be assess in high-stakes ways, such as on exams and papers.
Example: Learning outcomes and assessment from Laura’s SOCI 101 unit on research methods.
Day 1: Students will be able to distinguish between qualitative and quantitative methods.
- Low-stakes assessment: self-graded pop quiz.
- High-stakes assessment: five questions on the midterm, amounting to 10 percent of the midterm grade; students may also apply these and other related terms in high-stakes essays.
Day 2: Students will be able to analyze our class qualitative data: search for patterns and meanings.
- Low-stakes assessments: in-class written reflection about class activity; qualitative data analysis applied later in semester activities.
- High stakes assessment: none currently.
Day 3: Students will be able to read a bivariate table and draw conclusions about our class based on our survey data.
- Low-stakes assessment: in-class ungraded quiz on reading a bivariate table where students are provided with feedback on their performance but not evaluated with a grade.
- High-stakes assessment: exam question amounting to 3.3 percent of midterm grade.