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Program Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes identify what a student will learn or be able to do upon completion of their program. Program learning outcomes are stated in such a way that they are specific to the discipline, challenging enough for the degree awarded, and measurable. At ASU, they are typically measured through students’ work (course embedded assessment) using tools such as rubrics. The language for outcomes should focus on what student’s accomplish and learn when enrolled in a program.

Programs usually have 4 or 5 outcomes but are only required to assess three per cycle (certificates are only required to assess two outcomes). Each outcome should have at least two related measures.

It is also vital to establish the correct level of student learning when describing what students are accomplishing. Outcomes should be rigorous and reflect the highest level of learning expected for degree attainment. For examples and suggestions on wording to use for each level of student learning, please reference Bloom’s Taxonomy Pyramid and Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy Action Verbs*. These figures can also be found within the UOEEE handbook section Program Learning Outcomes. Tutorials and examples for how to write outcomes can be found in the Program Learning Outcomes and Program Learning Outcomes: A Closer Look modules of the UOEEE’s canvas site.

A good rule of thumb is that PLO’s for lower-level undergraduates should be at the level of “remembering” and “understanding,” upper level undergraduates should be at the level of “applying” and “analyzing,” and graduate level students should be at the level of “evaluating” and “creating.” Upper-level undergraduate courses that only reach the levels of “remembering” and “understanding,” or graduate courses that only “analyze” and “apply”, are considered not very rigorous or challenging.

*Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman,