Joe McVeigh
Jenny Bixby
TESOL
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
March 19, 2011
Writing Effective
Learning Outcomes
Joe
Jenny
How do you use learning outcomes?
Definitions and underlying concepts
• What is a learning outcome?
• An outcome is the desired result of the
learning experience. The outcome can
also be called the goal or achievement
target.
Definitions and underlying concepts
Objectives are the intended results of
instruction. They specify what is expected
and describe what should be assessed.
Definitions and underlying concepts
Objectives are the intended results of
instruction. They specify what is expected and
describe what should be assessed.
Outcomes are the achieved results of what
was learned. They are the evidence that learning
has taken place. Outcomes are the abilities or
products students have shown after instruction.
Outcomes are what teachers will assess.
Definitions and underlying concepts
A student learning outcome is “a specific
statement that describes the knowledge,
skills/abilities, or attitudes that students
are expected to learn upon successful
completion of a course of study, such as a
course, seminar, or certification program.”
(Wood, 2008)
Definitions and underlying concepts
•
•
The backwards design process
Understanding by Design (Wiggins &
McTighe)
Contexts in which learning
outcomes are used
• TESOL presentation evaluation rubric
TESOL presentation rubric
Evaluation
criteria
Clarity of proposal and participant outcomes
Poor
The proposal abstract needs work on sentence
structure and fails to give outcomes
Fair
The abstract gives some ideas about outcomes, but
needs to specify how they will be reached during
the presentation
Satisfactory
The proposal abstract is adequately written and
includes a statement of participant outcomes, but
needs more detail
Good
The proposal abstract is clearly written and provides a
general statement of participant outcomes and how
they will be achieved.
Excellent
The proposal abstract is well written and provides an
explicit statement of participant outcomes and how
they will be achieved.
Contexts in which learning
outcomes are used
• U.S. state boards of education
Contexts in which learning
outcomes are used
• Council of Europe CEFR “Can do”
statements.
• Common European Framework of
Reference for Languages: Learning,
teaching, assessment
• A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2
• “Can scan texts for relevant information
and grasp main topic of text, reading
almost as quickly as a native speaker.”
Contexts in which learning
outcomes are used
• CEA standards for curriculum
– “Course objectives are written, observable,
and measurable . . .”
– “The program or institution documents in
writing whether students have attained the
learning objectives for courses taken within
the curriculum using instruments and
procedures that appropriately assess . . . .”
What does a good student
learning outcome look like?
Student-centered
Measurable
Action-oriented
Results-driven
T ailored to specific programs
What does a good student
learning outcome look like?
Not too narrow or broad
What does a good student
learning outcome look like?
Uses strong, clear, concrete verbs such as
those found in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Knowledge
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define
describe
identify
list
outline
explain
•
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•
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generalize
give examples
infer
predict
summarize
paraphrase
Comprehension and application
•
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demonstrate
prepare
produce
rate
show
solve
use
Synthesis
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•
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categorize
compare
conclude
design
explain
organize
plan
revise
support
What does a good student
learning outcome look like?
• Avoids this language:
Be familiar with . . .
Gain an understanding of . . .
Demonstrate knowledge of . . .
(Wood 2008)
What does a good student
learning outcome look like?
Use parallel language.
Don’t mix verb tenses: choose either future
or present and stick with it:
Students can . . .
or
Students will be able to . . .
Make it clear: by when? End of course or
program vs. beginning placement
What does a good student
learning outcome look like?
Make sure that the outcome is measurable.
How do we assess learning
outcomes?
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•
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•
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Tests, quizzes, exams
Written work, oral presentations
Assignments
Portfolio assessment
What about class participation and effort?
Try your hand at writing effective
learning outcomes
• You are teaching a basic cooking class to junior
high students who have little or no previous
cooking experience. The final learning outcome
of your course is to have students successfully
prepare a gumbo recipe.
• Write one learning outcome that your course
could include. Describe how you will measure or
assess the outcome.
The process of developing learning
outcomes
• Main stages of the process (Sweeney 2008)
– Identify the desired results (Outcomes)
– Determine acceptable evidence (Assessment
process)
– Plan learning experiences and instruction
The process of developing
learning outcomes
The importance of process (Sweeney 2008)
– Identify essential and valued student learning
– Develop common formative and summative
assessments
– Analyze current levels of achievement
– Set achievement goals
– Share and create lessons and strategies to
improve
The process of developing learning
outcomes
Dealing with resistance
Questions
Download copies of handout
and PowerPoint slides at
www.joemcveigh.org/resources
Thank you !
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