Topic: What is the meant by the phrase “Student Learning Outcomes”?
Challenge/Opportunity: Demonstrated student achievement of learning outcomes is a key focus for accreditation review. They are the concrete skills and knowledge that students should develop and be able to apply upon completion of a course or a curriculum. Key assignments or projects should help students develop and demonstrate these learning outcomes.
Each WSU degree program has identified student learning outcomes (SLOs) that capture the most essential skills and knowledge students should acquire in their curriculum or major program. These learning outcomes are published in the WSU Catalog and on departmental webpages, allowing ready access by students, faculty, staff, regional accreditors, and other stakeholders. In a coherent curriculum, each course includes learning outcomes that support the essential learning outcomes for the degree or major.
Periodic review and update of SLOs by faculty guide their oversight of the curriculum. All bachelor’s degrees also aim to achieve WSU’s Seven Learning Goals of Undergraduate Education, which include: Critical and Creative Thinking, Quantitative Reasoning, Scientific Literacy, Information Literacy, Communication, Diversity, and Integrative Learning.
Recent actions/outcomes in response to challenges, at the institutional level:
- WSU degree programs report annually on their student learning outcomes (SLOs) and how they are assessing student achievement of learning outcomes.
- WSU’s Strategic Plan, Goal 2, Transformative Student Experience, Metric 16 (Undergraduate programs) and Metric 17 (Graduate Programs), track how many degree programs have student learning outcomes in place, regularly conduct assessment, and use results in planning.
- The Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning, and the Graduate School, consult with departments and programs wishing to update SLOs.
- UCORE websites make the Seven Learning Goals available to students, faculty, staff, and the public.
Current/Future emphasis or next steps for the institution:
- Program faculty periodically review regularly assess student achievement and update each degree’s student learning outcomes to maintain currency in the field and discipline.
- In 2016, UCORE produced its first comprehensive assessment of all seven undergraduate learning goals; faculty are continuing to assess general education and student achievement.
For more information at WSU:
- UCORE Assessment
- Graduate School
- Student Learning Outcomes
- Examples of Student Learning Outcomes in WSU undergraduate programs
- UCORE website – Seven Learning Goals subpage
- Graduate program student learning outcomes
NWCCU standards reference: Eligibility Requirement 22, 2.C.2, 2.C.4, 2.C.5, 4.A.3