1 Hw t Write Prgram Objectives/Outcmes Objectives Gals and Objectives are similar in that they describe the intended purpses and expected results f teaching activities and establish the fundatin fr assessment. Gals are statements abut general aims r purpses f educatin that are brad, lng-range intended utcmes and cncepts; e.g., clear cmmunicatin, prblem-slving skills, etc. Objectives are brief, clear statements that describe the desired learning utcmes f instructin; i.e., the specific skills, values, and attitudes students shuld exhibit that reflect the brader gals. There are three types f learning bjectives, which reflect different aspects f student learning: Cgnitive bjectives: What d yu want yur graduates t knw? Affective bjectives: What d yu want yur graduates t think r care abut? Behaviral Objectives: What d yu want yur graduates t be able t d? Objectives can als reflect different levels f learning: Mastery bjectives are typically cncerned with the minimum perfrmance essentials thse learning tasks/skills that must be mastered befre mving n t the next level f instructin. Develpmental bjectives are cncerned with mre cmplex learning utcmes thse learning tasks n which students can be expected t demnstrate varying degrees f prgress. Instructinal Objectives describe in detail the behavirs that students will be able t perfrm at the cnclusin f a unit f instructin such as a class, and the cnditins and criteria which determine the acceptable level f perfrmance. What are the differences between Gals and Objectives? Bth gals and bjectives use the language f utcmes the characteristic which distinguishes gals frm bjectives is the level f specificity. Gals express intended utcmes in general terms and bjectives express them in specific terms. Outcmes Learning Outcmes are statements that describe significant and essential learning that learners have achieved, and can reliably demnstrate at the end f a curse r prgram. Learning Outcmes identify what the learner will knw and be able t d by the end f a curse r prgram the essential and enduring knwledge, abilities (skills) and attitudes (values, dispsitins) that cnstitute the integrated learning needed by a graduate f a curse r prgram. The learning utcmes apprach t educatin means basing prgram and curriculum design, cntent, delivery, and assessment n an analysis f the integrated knwledge, skills and values needed by bth students and sciety. In this utcmes-based apprach t educatin, the ability t demnstrate learning is the key pint. What are the differences between Objectives and Outcmes? Objectives are intended results r cnsequences f instructin, curricula, prgrams, r activities. Outcmes are achieved results r cnsequences f what was learned; i.e., evidence that learning tk place. Objectives are fcused n specific types f perfrmances that students are expected t demnstrate at the end f instructin. Objectives are ften written mre in terms f teaching intentins and typically indicate the subject cntent that the teacher(s) intends t cver. Learning utcmes, n the ther hand, are mre student-centered and describe what it is that the learner shuld learn. Learning utcmes are statements that specify what learners will knw r be able t d as a result f a learning activity; i.e., the utcmes that students must meet n the way t attaining a particular degree. Outcmes are mre precise, specific, and measurable than gals. There can be mre than ne utcme related t each gal and a particular learning utcme can supprt mre than ne gal.
2 Questins which learning utcmes address include What knwledge, skills, abilities and dispsitins shuld the ideal student graduating frm ur prgram demnstrate? Hw will they be able t demnstrate these capacities? Hw well des ur prgram prepare students fr careers, graduate, prfessinal study, and/r lifelng learning? What assessments can we use t demnstrate grwth in students knwledge, skills, abilities and dispsitins as they prgress thrugh ur prgram? Structure f a Learning Outcme statement an actin wrd that identifies the perfrmance t be demnstrated a learning statement that specifies what learning will be demnstrated in the perfrmance a brad statement f the criterin r standard fr acceptable perfrmance Pssible frmats f a learning utcme statement: Frmat #1: T (actin verb) (bject) (target) (mdifiers) Frmat #2: The (target) (actin verb) (mdifiers) (bject) Example: Pr: Students shuld knw the histrically imprtant systems f psychlgy. This is pr because it says neither what systems nr what infrmatin abut each system students shuld knw. Are they suppsed t knw everything abut them r just names? Shuld students be able recgnize the names, recite the central ideas, r criticize the assumptins? Better: Students shuld knw the psychanalytic, Gestalt, behavirist, humanistic, and cgnitive appraches t psychlgy. This is better because it says what theries students shuld knw, but it still des nt detail exactly what they shuld knw abut each thery, r hw deeply they shuld understand whatever it is they shuld understand. Best: Students shuld be able t recgnize and articulate the fundatinal assumptins, central ideas, and dminant criticisms f the psychanalytic, Gestalt, behavirist, humanistic, and cgnitive appraches t psychlgy. This is the clearest and mst specific statement f the three examples. It clarifies hw ne is t demnstrate that he/she knws. It prvides even beginning students an understandable and very specific target t aim fr. It prvides faculty with a reasnable standard against which they can cmpare actual student perfrmance. Hw t Write Learning Objectives/Outcmes Learning bjectives specify bth an bservable behavir and the bject f that behavir. "Students will be able t write a research paper." In additin, the criterin culd als be specified: "Students will be able t write a research paper in the apprpriate scientific style." Optinally, the cnditin under which the behavir ccurs can be specified: "At the end f their field research, students will be able t write a research paper in the apprpriate scientific style." Nte that the verb yu chse will help yu fcus n what yu assess. Fr example, cnsider the fllwing Students will be able t d research. Here the verb d is vague and pen t many interpretatins; i.e., D yu mean identify an apprpriate research questin, review the literature, establish hyptheses, use research technlgy, cllect data,
3 analyze data, interpret results, draw cnclusins, recmmend further research, r all f thse? Each f the verbs in thse statements is apprpriately specific. Characteristics f Gd Learning Outcmes Learning utcme statements shuld Specify the level, criterin, r standard fr the knwledge, skill, ability, r dispsitin that the student must demnstrate. Include cnditins under which they shuld be able t demnstrate their knwledge, skills, abilities r dispsitins. Cntain active verbs Be measurable (sme mre easily than thers) Be stated s that the utcme can be measured by mre than ne assessment methd (ideally) Be written such that yu d nt jin elements in ne utcme statement that can nt be assessed by a single methd Custmers will be highly satisfied with the service and requests fr service will increase (Here yu need t measure satisfactin separately frm the number f requests fr service.) Guidelines fr writing student learning utcme statements (Based n material frm the University f Central Flrida: UCF Academic Prgram Assessment Handbk, 2005) Student learning utcme statements shuld be aligned with missin statements (and gals if applicable). Student learning utcme statements shuld clearly indicate the level and type f cmpetence that is required f graduates f a prgram. The fllwing infrmatin shuld be included in a welldefined learning utcme statement. Areas/fields that are the fcus f the assessment. Knwledge, abilities, values and attitudes that a student in yur prgram is expected t have within that area/field. Depth f the knwledge, abilities, values and attitudes expected f a student in yur prgram. Student learning utcme statements shuld be distinctive and specific. Examples f generic and distinctive utcmes are prvided belw: Example f a generic utcme: Students cmpleting the Engineering prgram will be practiced in design skills. Example f a distinctive utcme: Engineering graduates will demnstrate knwledge f math, science, and engineering fundamentals. Specifically, the student will have the ability t: demnstrate general design principles; use fundamental engineering techniques, skills, and tls fr engineering practice; analyze and interpret data t prduce meaningful cnclusins and recmmendatins. Student learning utcme statements shuld be framed in terms f the prgram and nt individual curses r students. Student learning utcme statements shuld be simple. D nt jin elements in ne bjective statement that cannt be assessed by a single assessment methd. Example f a bundled statement: Engineering graduates will demnstrate knwledge f math, science, and engineering fundamentals, and gain cmpetency in basic skills as writing reprts, cmmunicating research ideas and ral presentatins. Nte: This wuld likely require tw different methds f assessment. Oral presentatins wuld require a different apprach than assessing knwledge f mathematics. Student learning utcme statements shuld describe intended learning utcmes and nt the actual utcmes. Learning utcme statements shuld describe the abilities, knwledge, values and attitudes expected f students after cmpletin f the prgram and nt the actual results. N
4 Student learning utcme statements shuld be stated such that the utcme can be measured by mre than ne assessment methd. An utcme statement shuld nt impse restrictins n the type r number f assessment methds that have t be used t evaluate the utcme. At least tw measures shuld be identified fr each learning utcme statement. Example f an utcme statement that can nly be measured by ne specific assessment methd: Students cmpleting the Engineering prgram will scre ver 95% n a lcallydevelped examinatin. Nte: In this utcme statement nly ne measure can be used t evaluate the student s perfrmance since this is what is specified in the statement. Example f an utcme statement that can be measured by several assessment methds: Students cmpleting the Engineering prgram will demnstrate cmpetence and the ability t apply engineering principles. Nte: Specific assessment methds have nt been identified in the utcme statement and thus several measures can be used t evaluate the knwledge that the students have gained as a result f the prgram. Hw d yu fix an unclear utcme? Many prgram brchures include learning utcmes which are unclear r represent elements f curriculum rather than sme actin the participants will demnstrate. Cnsider the example "Participants will develp an appreciatin f cultural diversity in the wrkplace." If yu ask a simple questin ("Can it be measured?"), yu see readily that this learning utcme has shrtcmings. It is nt measurable ne needs t knw hw a student will demnstrate that he/she appreciates. If yu mdify this utcme statement by changing the actin verb a useful statement will result: Participants will summarize in writing their feelings abut cultural diversity in the wrkplace." Learners nw have a much better idea f what is expected f them. What is the imprtance f actin verbs? Since the learner's perfrmance shuld be bservable and measurable, the verb chsen fr each utcme statement shuld be an actin verb which results in vert behavir that can be bserved and measured. Examples A. Fine Arts Brad: Students will demnstrate knwledge f the histry, literature and functin f the theatre, including wrks frm varius perids and cultures. Mre specific: Students will be able t explain the theretical bases f varius dramatic genres and illustrate them with examples frm plays f different eras. Even mre specific, specifying the cnditins: During the senir dramatic literature curse, the students will be able t explain the theretical bases f varius dramatic genres and illustrate them with examples frm plays f different eras. B. Philsphy Brad: The student will be able t discuss philsphical questins. Mre specific: The student is able t develp relevant examples and t express the significance f philsphical questins. C. General Educatin Brad: Students will be able t think in an interdisciplinary manner. Mre specific: Asked t slve a prblem in the student's field, the student will be able t draw frm theries, principles, and/r knwledge frm ther disciplines t help slve the prblem. D. Business Brad: Students will understand hw t use technlgy effectively. Mre specific: Each student will be able t use wrd prcessing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentatin graphics in preparing their final research prject and reprt.
5 Practical Appraches t Develping Prgram Gals/Objectives/Outcmes Frm the many... ne 1. Graphically display all curses the learning gals/utcmes specified in each curse fr the prgram. 2. Identify cmmn themes r elements acrss the curses. 3. Given these cmmn elements discuss with prgram faculty whether these are the mst imprtant elements t develp students knwledge, skills, attitudes and dispsitins Are there sme that shuld be added, deleted? Is there a balance? Is there a lgical prgressin in the develpment f student cmpetencies related t the majr, general educatin, etc.? Is there cherence t the curriculum? 4. Discuss hw these relate t the existing prgram gals/learning utcmes and make refinements. Or, use this as a basis t create new prgram gals/learning bjectives. 5. Once a cnsensus is reached, then the discussin can mve t methds t assess the prgram gals/learning utcmes. Frm the ne...many 1. Review current department/prgram gals/learning bjectives, perhaps frm a recent self-study dcument D they reflect the current missin and pririties f the institutin? Is the linkage apparent? D they reflect current prfessinal standards in the field fr undergraduate (graduate) curses ffered? Are they brad r specific enugh t encmpass knwn learning gals/utcmes f the varius curses ffered? If answers are yes, mve t the next step. 2. Given the current prgram gal/learning utcmes discuss with faculty in the unit hw these are specifically linked in their curse level gals and learning utcmes. Graphically display their answers fr each curse. 3. Examining the prgram curriculum as a whle Are there hles? Are there any prgram gals/learning bjectives nt addressed by any curse r addressed very weakly? Yu might wrk thrugh the fllwing questins: What wuld the ideal graduate f ur prgram lk like (knwledge, skills, beliefs and values)? What experiences (assignments, papers, prductins, internships, etc.) d students carry ut thrugh ur prgram that wuld prvide evidence f their achievements? Inventries: What standards wuld we expect ur students t achieve fr thse experiences? Can we express thse experiences and standards in ways that wuld bth guide ur students in determining whether they have achieved what we want and prvide us clear criteria fr ur assessments? Review the syllabi fr all f yur curses t list what is taught in each curse. Based upn the review, what appear t be the brad gals r the learning utcmes fr the prgram? Create a spreadsheet that lists the brad gals r the learning utcmes in the left hand clumn, then list all the curses acrss the tp rw, and then nte which curses address which gals. Smetimes, ding this curriculum mapping exercise reveals gaps in the prgram r unnecessary repetitin f the same skills in many curses. List all the majr assignments and tests in all yur curses. Given the breadth and depth f all the curses, is the distributin f these assignments apprpriate fr addressing the learning utcmes yu want frm yur prgram? Research: Cntact clleagues frm acrss the natin t learn what they are ding. G nline t find ut what ther departments are ding in yur field. Nte assessment sessins at yur natinal cnferences. If yur discipline has teaching jurnals, review articles n assessment. Review: Catalg cpy t determine whether yu tell prspective majrs what they shuld expect t learn by the time they graduate frm yur prgram. Other materials yu have already prduced: annual reprts, prgram reviews, accreditatin reprts, recruiting materials.
6 Checklist fr Outcmes Are the utcmes aligned with the missin, visin, values, and gals? D the utcmes clearly describe and define the expected abilities, knwledge, values, and attitudes f graduates f the prgram? Are the utcmes simply stated? Is it pssible t cllect accurate and reliable data fr each utcme? Taken tgether, wuld the indicatrs assciated with the utcmes accurately reflect the key results f the prgrams, peratins, r service ffered by yur unit r prgram? Are the utcmes distinctive and specific t the prgram? Are they stated s that it is pssible t use a single methd t measure the utcme? Are they stated s that utcmes requiring different assessment methds are nt bundled int ne statement? Are they stated s that mre than ne measurement methd can be used? Can they be used t identify areas t imprve? Are they written using actin verbs t specify definite, bservable behavirs? Des the language describe student rather than teacher behavirs? Des the language describe a learning utcme, nt a prcess? T sum up, bjectives/utcmes prvide the necessary specificity which allws students t knw what it is they are t learn. T reach this level f specificity ften requires several iteratins.
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