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Office of Institutional Effectiveness
 

Program Level Outcomes

Purpose:

There are many benefits to developing program-level Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

  • to clarify the vision, purpose and direction of the program
  • to distinguish your program from those at peer institutions: how are you different? how are you the same?
  • to demonstrate to students what they can expect to be able to know or do when they complete the program
  • to help all faculty members see where their individual areas of specialty fit into the overall program curriculum.

How To:

Developing program level outcomes is similar to developing course level outcomes in that faculty will determine what they want students to “take away” from the program at its conclusion.  Generally, programs will have 4-6 SLOs, although there may be more or less as program need’s warrant.  Again, Bloom’s Taxonomy can be very helpful in the construction of meaningful and measurable student learning outcomes.

EXAMPLE:  By the time a student graduates from our program, she/he will be able to apply major theories to contemporary social problems, using the major authors in the field.

Points to Remember:

  • For this process, we are focused on Student Learning Outcomes, meaning that we are attempting to determine what the students are learning, knowing, doing in the program.  We are not measuring what the faculty members are teaching, thinking, expressing.
  • It is important to include all faculty, even adjunct faculty if practical, in the discussions of program-level outcomes since these outcomes are likely to affect all courses taught within the department.  Program-level outcomes are an expression of the mission and vision of the program so all the program faculty should be a part of the dialog.
  • Many times, professional organizations that guide the discipline may have recommendations about what types of outcomes should be addressed within the curriculum.  Also, if external accreditors accredit a program, they will likely have specific expectations about what learning outcomes must be addressed.
  • For this part of the process, we are also not focused on issues like graduation rates, enrollment growth, class sizes, etc.  Although those programmatic and departmental outcomes are important and relevant pieces of information for programs to track for other purposes, for our purposes here, we are limiting our focus to student learning outcomes.