Student Learning Outcomes


Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Ƶ’s assessment philosophy embraces the notion that the entire campus contributes to students’ mastery of institutional outcomes and learning outcomes in every course, degree, certificate, and educational pathway. Faculty and staff recognize that student learning requires more than mere memorization of information, and they work to ensure that students utilize their command of learned information to solve problems, demonstrate skills, and think critically. 

Faculty and staff at Ƶ are committed to thinking critically about how students learn and how each component of the college influences the learning process, and subsequently, student success. The college’s outcomes assessment process stimulates discussion among faculty members and directs activities that can improve curriculum, instruction, and other support systems. 

What are Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)?

Student Learning Outcomes are statements of the overarching knowledge, skills, abilities, and/or values students should acquire in a course or program. These broad learning outcomes demonstrate core student understanding and application of a subject. When creating a new course or modifying an existing course, notice the following hierarchy:

  • The synthesis of objectives builds up to overarching course-level SLOs (CSLOs)
  • The synthesis of CSLOs builds up to overarching program-level SLOs (PSLOs)
  • The synthesis of CSLOs and PSLOs builds up to overarching institutional learning outcomes (ISLOs)

Differences Between SLOs and Objectives

Narrow course objectives represent valuable tools, skills, or content that enable students to engage in a particular subject and assist them in building toward and supporting their achievement of broader course-level Student Learning Outcomes. The main difference between SLO statements and course objectives is that SLO statements demonstrate an overarching understanding or application of a core aspect of the course, while objectives are the small pieces of subject matter that build up to the broader SLOs.

Sample Course Objectives

  • ADN11A:  Identify and discuss the components of the nursing process.
  • BIO60: Compare and contrast the four basic types of tissue.
  • COMM10: Explain the communication model by identifying how messages are sent and received within a public speaking context.
  • ENGL1: Locate, evaluate, analyze, interpret, and cite primary and secondary sources using appropriate documentation format.
  • HIST8A: Evaluate and contextualize major historical events and eras in the Americas.
  • NUTR20: Demonstrate basic knowledge of nutrient digestion, absorption and metabolism.

Sample Course SLOs

  • ADN11A: Describe the nursing process as it relates to care of the adult patient.
  • BIO60: Identify all organizational levels of human anatomy and understand basic principles of physiology as it applies to homeostasis and disease control.
  • COMM10: Develop and demonstrate the process of effective public speaking by organizing, writing, and delivering oral presentations for various speech occasions.
  • ENGL1: Write academic prose with a central rhetorical purpose and logical, relevant textual evidence.
  • HIST8A: Organize historical thinking and writing about the Americans from pre-Columbian times (ca. 1500 BC) until the late nineteenth century (ca. 1870) by using facts, ideas, and events to ask questions, assemble evidence, and evaluate conclusions with clarity and coherence.
  • NUTR20: Evaluate micro and macro food nutrients and their effects on the body.

Bloom’s Taxonomy 

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a categorization of verbs describing cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills. The categories are ranked from least complex (e.g., knowledge) to most complex (e.g., evaluation) in terms of the level of thinking required for students to achieve the outcomes.

Student Learning Outcomes should begin with a verb from  Bloom’s Taxonomy. When creating or modifying an SLO, use verbs that measure the appropriate cognitive, affective, or psychomotor skills, and incorporate these skills into the course SLOs.