The Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Process

  1. Course inventory
  2. Establish or revise learning goals/outcomes
  3. Identify or refine outcomes
  4. Identify and review existing assessment techniques
  5. Review and refine the course syllabus and assignments
  6. Design or refine rubrics or scoring guide
  7. Collect, analyze, and use data to inform or reform


When establishing or revising learning outcomes, begin with the following questions to facilitate the process:

  • In general, what are the most important things a student gains or achieves in your field of study?
  • What knowledge, skills, and dispositions (qualities and capabilities) do you strive to foster in your students?
  • What is the most important knowledge that your students acquire from your field of study or from working with you?
  • How does your field of study or your work change the way students view themselves?
  • In what ways does your field of study or what you do contribute to a student's well being?
  • How does your field or what you do change the way a student looks at the world?
  • What does your field of study or what you do contribute to the well being of society at large?
  • How do people in this area of study differ from those in other areas (knowledge, skills, and/or values)?
  • How do we know the extent to which students are learning what we hope from our field of study?
  • How do we use information about student learning and development to enhance student learning?


Based on leading questions developed by Prof. C. Ewart, Department of Psychology, Syracuse University, 1998.

Read Chapter 3 (pages 27-53) of the Middle States handbook: Student Learning Assessment: Options and Resources, MSCHE (2nd Edition, 2007) for helpful tips on evaluating student learning.

Use Bloom's Taxonomy to help develop your learning outcomes. Bloom's Taxonomy [PDF]

Good Practices in Assessment

You may already be an assessment practitioner and have a foundation of assessment if you engage in some of the following:

  • State student learning outcomes that are logically connected to the goals of the program
  • Link student learning outcomes to the broader mission and goals of the relevant school and college
  • Map where in the curriculum (courses/assignments/educational experiences) students have the opportunity to work toward the given goals
  • Develop a method(s) of discovering if students have met the learning outcomes in the appropriate places in the curriculum
  • Analyze the results
  • Communicate the results of the discovery to faculty
  • Use the results to make changes or improvements


Click here for a rubric to assess the quality of your student learning outcomes.