Each department and program in the College of Liberal Arts has learning objectives for students. These learning objectives are the basis for assessment as they are the what we say we are teaching our students; we assess to see what success we are achieving with students in these specific areas. At the end of a course of study we look to see what outcomes have been achieved. This helps us to evaluate what we do in terms of curriculum and pedagogy, make changes and improvements, and then to assess again to track changes in student performance and success. The process begins with objectives, and is assessed by the study of learning outcomes. A learning outcome is the particular knowledge, skill or behavior that a student is expected to exhibit after a period of study. Measuring learning outcomes provides information on what particular knowledge (cognitive), skill or behavior (affective) students have gained after instruction is completed.
- OBJECTIVES articulate the knowledge and skills students should be able to acquire by the end of a course of study
- ASSESSMENTS allow the institution to check the degree to which the students are meeting the learning objectives through monitoring outcomes
- INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES can be chosen to foster student learning towards meeting the objectives
Learning objectives should be designed so that it is possible to assess measurable outcomes. These are outcomes that demonstrate the ways in which students are asked to demonstrate that they have achieved the learning objectives. There are many and varied forms of assessment, and these are often dictated by the specific discipline. For example, if a course has a strong oral component, it would make sense that assessment would take a different form than, say, a course that relied on the performance of purely writing-based skills. Assessment methods of student learning can take many form — exams (written or oral), papers, oral presentations, team projects. Rubrics that define the criteria of success in each area or objective are developed so that students understand what is expected of them. This also anchors assessment projects that test how closely students produce the skills and abilities expected of them at the end of a course of study, and which have been articulated in the learning objectives.