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Developing Measurable Learning Goals


Developing Measurable Learning Goals The Assessment Council Lehman College * Establishing clear, measurable expected outcomes of student learning Ensuring that ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Developing Measurable Learning Goals

Developing Measurable Learning Goals
  • The Assessment Council
  • Lehman College

Assessment Council Membership
  • John Cirace (Eco)
  • Nancy Dubetz (ECCE)
  • Robert Farrell (Lib) robert.farrell_at_lehman.cuny.e
  • Thomas Ihde (LL)
  • Marisol Jimenez (ISSP) marisol.jimenez_at_lehman.cuny
  • Robin Kunstler (NSS) robin.kunstler_at_lehman.cuny.ed
  • Carl Mazza (SWK)
  • Vincent Prohaska (Psych) vincent.prohaska_at_lehman.c
  • Robyn Spencer (History) robyn.spencer_at_lehman.cuny.
  • Mary Tesoro (NUR)
  • Minda Tessler (Psych) minda.tessler_at_lehman.cuny.ed
  • Janette Tilley (Mus) janette.tilley_at_lehman.cuny.ed
  • Esther Wilder (Soc)
  • Committee Chair
  • Administrative Advisors
  • Susanne Tumelty (IRPA) susanne.tumelty_at_lehman.cuny
  • Robert Whittaker (AP) robert.whittaker_at_lehman.cuny

Committee Charge
  • Develop written strategic plan for campus
    assessment of student learning.
  • Includes
  • defining key terms for campus assessment
  • articulation of reporting procedures
  • articulation of responsible parties
  • recommendations for departmental processes for
  • learning goals
  • recommendations on incentives for faculty
    participation in assessment
  • Develop and promote a culture of assessment on
  • Act in an advisory capacity to Provost Deans
    Council for developing campus assessment goals
  • Act in an advisory capacity to departments and
    individual faculty to facilitate assessment
  • Work with campus Assessment Coordinator to create
    cross-departmental assessment teams and

The Work of the Assessment Council
Middle States Recommendations
The Assessment of Student Learning
What was actually learned?
What is the student expected to learn?
What learning opportunities were provided?
How can learning be improved?
Assessment as a Four-Step Continuous Cycle
Source  Suskie 2004 4.
Good Learning Assessment Practices
  • Give useful information that is accurate to the
    extent possible
  • Are ethically fair to students and instructors
  • Are practical, realistic and cost-effective
  • Are systematic (not one-shot deals)
  • Yield results that are put to good use and shared
    with interested parties, including students

The Program Assessment Process
Developing Measurable Learning Goals WHY?
Establishing Learning Goals
  • Assessment begins not with creating or
    implementing tests, assignments, or other
    assessment tools but by first deciding on your
    goals  what you want your students to learn
    (Suskie 2004 73).
  • The identification of intended educational
    (student learning) outcomes is a very important
    first step in the assessment process.  In many
    cases, it is abbreviated in nature so that we
    can get on with assessment.  To shorten this
    step seriously undermines the use of results from
    the assessment activities. . . (Nichols and
    Nichols 2005 83).

Establishing Learning Goals
  • Effective goals are the destination rather than
    the path taken to get therethe end rather than
    the means, the outcome rather than the process
    (Suskie 2004 74).

Describing Student Learning Outcomes
Knowledge Skills (e.g., thinking, performance,
interpersonal) Attitudes Dispositions Habits
of Mind
Simply stated, statements of intended
educational (student learning) outcomes describe
what students will think (affective), know
(cognitive), or do (behavioral/performance) when
they have completed a degree program (Nichols
and Nichols 2005 74).
The Program Assessment Process
Developing Measurable Learning GoalsHOW?
Developing Effective Learning Goals 
  • Important meet student/employer needs
  • Focus on the end, not the means
  • Clear no fuzzy terms (e.g., think critically)
  • Observable what graduates should be able to DO
  • Concrete action words

Developing Effective Learning Goals 
  • When you develop learning goals, aim for ones
    that are neither too broad nor too specific and
    use concrete action words
  • Too vague Students will demonstrate quantitative
    literacy skills.
  • Too specific Students will be able to calculate
    a mean for a class grade distribution.
  • Better Students will be able to understand and
    apply measures of central tendency.

Resources for Identifying Program/Department
Learning Goals 
  • Faculty input
  • Ask faculty, including part-time faculty, to
    anonymously submit a certain number of
    educational learning goals for the
    program/department (key strategy recommended by
    Nichols and Nichols 2005)
  • In many instances the outcomes identified by
    faculty will be concerning their individual
    courses rather than the program overall.  In some
    cases, it may be necessary to identify similar
    outcomes put forward (representing several
    courses) and to generalize to the program level
    based on the faculty input (Nichols and Nichols

Resources for Identifying Program/Department
Learning Goals, continued
  • Standards espoused by professional organizations
    and accreditation organizations
  • Course syllabi (ultimately, the course goals will
    make up the program/department goals)
  • Capstone experiences
  • Existing core assignments or assessments
  • Assessment plans
  • Surveys or interviews of prospective employers
  • Admission criteria for academic programs your
    student pursue after program completion

Steps to Articulating Program/Departmental Goals 
  • An example from the Social Work Department

Strategy WorkshopCollaborating to Develop
Program/Major Learning Goals
Workshop Summary
Another Strategy for Building Consensus
  1. Using the aforementioned strategies, create a
    list of all possible learning goals for a program
    or department.
  2. Distribute the list to faculty members, and ask
    each to check off those goals that s/he thinks
    should be the key goals for the program.
  3. Collect the lists, tally the checkmarks, and
    share the results with the faculty.
  4. Strike those goals with no votes (a group may
    also agree to strike those goals with just one or
    two votes, too).

Another Strategy for Building Consensus
  • 5. Sometimes a few goals will emerge as the top
    vote-getters, and the group will agree to focus
    on them, ending the process.
  • 6. If consensus cannot be reached after the
    first round, redistribute the (possibly
    abbreviated) list with the initial results noted,
    and ask the faculty to vote again.
  • 7. Periodically rotate and assess 3-5 key
    learning outcomes for which faculty consensus
    indicates importance.

Challenges in the Preparation of Statements of
Student Learning Outcomes 
  • Achieving faculty ownership
  • Achieving faculty consensus
  • Limiting the number of statements
  • Backing into educational (and student learning)
    outcomes from means of assessment
  • Revising statements of intended educational
    (student learning) outcomes

Evaluating Program/Departmental Statements of
Learning Outcomes 
  • Consistent with Colleges mission statement
  • (http//
  • Reasonable given the ability of students
  • Clear and accomplishment is ascertainable
  • Singular
  • Rotate when validated

Once learning goals are developed, what next?
  • Curriculum Mapping
  • Choosing an Assessment Strategy
  • Developing and Identifying Assessment Instruments
    that Correspond to Learning Goals
  • Using Assessment Results to Improve Student

  • Nichols, James O. and Karen W. Nichols.  2005.  A
    Road Map for Improvement of Student Learning and
    Support Services Through Assessment.  New York 
    Agathon Press.
  • Suskie, Linda.  2004.  Assessing Student
    Learning.  SF, CA Anker Publishing Co, Inc.
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