What college course learning outcomes SHOULD be…

I have suggested previously that NO college level course should have learning outcomes that are written at the lower cognitive levels.  Working from Bloom’s Taxonomy, a college level course learning outcome should NOT be to define, explain, describe, discuss, list or identify.  College level courses should require students to analyze, apply, synthesize and evaluate new knowledge and concepts.  They should be expected to use new knowledge, concepts and skills not simply remember or comprehend them.

The question or issue typically raised is almost always similar to, “Students must acquire basic skills and knowledge before they can operate at higher cognitive levels regarding that content.”  That is absolutely true.  However, my argument is that basic skills and knowledge are pre/requisite to achieving higher order outcomes; students that achieve higher order outcomes of a course will have implicitly demonstrated mastery of the pre/requisite skills.  So, listing the lower order skills as outcomes is both unnecessary, and from an assessment perspective, undesirable. Continue reading

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Academic Freedom & Institutional Course Assessment Procedures

The difference between an outcome and an objective is critical.  I have argued before that indifference to the distinction could present significant issues.  Without the clarity between the two concepts, the development process could yield a long mish-mash of “outcomes” for a course that both complicate institutional efforts to report assessment outcomes at the course level and potentially erode the academic freedom, creativity and responsibility of faculty.  Consider an example . . .

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Measuring Outcomes for Institutional Assessment

Measuring Time

The previous post highlighted differences between Outcomes vs. Objectives for Institutional Assessment.  As promised, I hope to further clarify the differences by engaging the next step in the institutional assessment planning process: defining and planning assessment methods for a previously developed outcome.  Describing the assessment methods and measures, that may be used will further distinguish between outcomes, assessment, and objectives/tasks within institutional assessment.

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Outcomes vs Objectives for Institutional Assessment

I’ve written previously about the difference between outcomes and objectives.  During a recent institutional effectiveness workshop, I’ve come to the conclusion that the same issue exists when assessing administrative units.  From what I’ve experienced and seen, current institutional effectiveness and continuous improvement practices for the administrative assessment efforts lead to the same blending of outcomes and objectives that I’ve observed and noted on the instructional side of the house.  A few examples and an explanation of how to approach it differently . . .

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A changing focus… Learning & Assessment in Higher Education

CHANGE!  My online, professional digital footprint is changing, evolving, updating.  EdTechatouille, the focus of the site for the past 6+ years, is disappearing into the background.  I have given the site a slight makeover to highlight my current professional focus and interest: learning and assessment in higher education. It’s a subtle change to the presentation of the site, but the substantive change is significant.

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