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Problem-Solving Skills

Quantitative Skills

Examples of Learning Outcomes at Various Levels

(Refer to Bloom’s taxonomy in the “Focus on Learning” section of this handbook)


Learning Outcome


Students can list the major theoretical approaches of the discipline.


Students can describe the key theories, concepts, and issues for each of the major theoretical approaches.


Students can apply theoretical principles to solve real-world problems.


Students can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each of the major theoretical approaches for understanding specific phenomena.


Students can combine theoretical approaches to explain complex phenomena.


Students can select the theoretical approach that is most applicable to a phenomenon and explain why they have selected that perspective.

Effective program learning outcomes should:

Use active verbs that specify definite, observable behaviors

Identify the depth of processing that faculty expect

Distinguish between absolute and value-added expectations

Absolute expectation – a specific level of competence required for student achievement.  Ex.  The student can graph linear equations.

Value added expectations – a student will make improvements in a certain area.

Ex.  The students will improve their ability to graph linear equations.

How many Program Student Learning Outcomes are Appropriate?

Generally 3 – 5 program student learning outcomes are recommended.  Programs should take into account the college’s “Dimensions of Learning” and develop program outcomes for workplace readiness and general skills, content knowledge/discipline-specific knowledge and skills and “soft skills” (noncognitive skills).  A similar approach is to develop program student learning outcomes based on what we want student to be able to “think, know and do”.  Programs may also want to develop program student learning outcomes for what student value.

Alignment of Course Student Learning Outcomes and Program Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes need to be aligned between course and program student learning outcomes.  This exercise will help ensure that there is adequate instructional time and progression of learning for student to meet program learning outcomes.  The grid will also provide assistance in determining the type of assessment and when it can be collected to determine student success against outcomes.  Courses are identified that address where material is introduced (I), practiced with feedback (P) and where mastery of the outcome is demonstrated (D).

Course x Program Outcomes Alignment Matrix

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