How to write SLOs
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), simply speaking, describe what students should know, be able to do, and/or value by the end of their educational program. As such, SLOs commonly are focused on 3 dimensions of learning:
- Knowledge: fundamental cognitive content, core concepts or questions, basic principles of inquiry, a broad history, and/or varied disciplinary techniques.
- Skills: capacity for applying basic knowledge, analyzing and synthesizing information, assessing the value of information, communicating effectively, and collaborating.
- Attitudes & values: affective states, personal/professional/social values, and ethical principles.
Process of writing SLOs
Step 1 : Have a brainstorming conversation with all constituents of the program (faculty, students, staff, alumni, employer, etc.). List things that an ideal graduate should know, understand, be able to do, value...
Step 2 : Review, synthesize and prioritize the list of things identified in Step 1. Decide on a manageable list of SLOs that are most important to the program at the present time. Keep in mind that SLOs can be changed and updated over time.
Step 3 : Compare the list of SLOs in Step 2 with the mission and learning goals at the university and college level, and if applicable, the requirements of the disciplinary accreditation agencies. Adjust the SLOs to ensure multi-level alignment.
Step 4 : Map the list of SLOs in Step 3 against the curriculum (Curriculum Mapping ) to ensure that the SLOs are adequately addressed in the curriculum, and the objectives of all components of the curriculum/program are reflected in the SLOs. Make adjustments to create a final draft of SLOs.
Step 5 : Communicate the final SLOs and how they are reflected in each course to all faculty. Encourage faculty to align course learning outcomes and assessment structure with the program SLOs.
Step 6 : Collect and review assessment data on the SLOs with all constituents of the program. Revise the SLOs as appropriate.
Characteristics of sound SLOs
- Aligned with university mission and learning goals
- Specific, clear and concise
- Demonstrable and measurable
- Discrete (i.e. no “double-barrel” statements)
- Realistic and manageable
- Use active verbs
- Focus on students (what students will gain), NOT instructors (what instructors will teach)