Outcomes are about having a clear picture of what a graduate from your program should look like. What body of knowledge should they master, what skill set should they develop, what attitudinal dispositions should they possess.
ZOOM OUT for Outcomes
Writing learning outcomes for an academic program can be challenging. How do you sum up all that students should know in a handful of short statements? There are probably hundreds of “instructional objectives” that have been listed on course syllabi that lead to a degree in your degree program. The best way to think of outcome areas is to ZOOM OUT and see the big picture. What are the broad categories of knowledge, skills, and attitudinal dispositions that your program covers that will make them successful in their future endeavors? It can be helpful to think of a title for an outcome area, such as communication or critical thinking.
ZOOM IN for Measures
The goal of good assessment is to get a picture of students learning at the end of the program. This is why many programs have a capstone course that seeks to draw connections between learning from various courses, give a comprehensive review, and assess all that the student has learned and retained. Once you are able to see what students are really retaining, the work of assessment is to ZOOM IN on areas where student achievement is lower, so you can focus on ways you can shape the courses and experiences in the program to improve those areas. For a measure to have ZOOM IN capabilities, it must be able to be broken down into component areas.
Measures and ZOOM IN Capabilities