Creating Course Outcomes

Outcomes are required for all courses.

COCC Definition (Approved by Academic Affairs October 2013)

Student Learning Outcomes indicate the expectation of skills, competencies, practices, aptitudes, and/or knowledge that, due to active participation in a program, degree, or course, a student will be able to demonstrate by means of a chosen performance indicator.  When writing learning outcomes, educators and planners should consider the following best practices:

• Create a manageable list of outcomes (around 3-6).

• Select action verbs that make outcomes measurable and attainable.

• When possible, compose outcomes from all stakeholders' perspectives, in language all are likely understand (i.e. avoid jargon, when possible).

• When possible (preferably on the syllabus), make alignments between course learning outcomes, Core Themes, program outcomes, and state general education outcomes evident and discernible.

What Are Outcomes?

  • A kind of goal, but generally more specific, referring to a single measurable expected result of instruction.
  • It is a major skill, knowledge, attitude or ability that can be measured and expected as a result of instruction.  They drive how you select teaching strategies and they dictate when and what you will test or assess.
  • They are more general than an objective.
  • A course will usually have between 3 and 6 major outcomes.
  • They should be agreed upon by the faculty in a program and should drive program outcomes.
  • These outcomes should be the same across courses with the same title and number.
  • See examples of outcomes in A Syllabus Template

How do you write Learning Outcomes for Courses?
  1. Begin with an action verb (e.g., write, install, solve, and apply). (See " Action Words")
  2. State the outcome in terms of student performance. For example,
    • Create a career development plan.
    • Demonstrate how to build a basic spreadsheet
For a World History course:
  1. Order series of events in human history by applying knowledge of chronology.
  2. Identify major themes of historical change: changes in forms of transportation, forms from agrarian to pre-industrial economies, or changes in forms of migration.
  3. Use historical inquiry to interpret events, issues, development, relationships and perspectives of history.
  4. Use evidence from primary and secondary sources to understand and describe events, issues, developments, relationships and perspectives.

Examples of College-Wide Common Core Course Outcomes
(from Montgomery College, MD, Developing College-wide Common Core Course Outcomes

AR 127:  Students will be able to distinguish form and content in  2-dimensional and 3-dimensional works of art.

BI 101:  Students will be able to explain the role of natural selection in the development of chemical resistance in microbes, viruses, plants and animals.

EN 102:  Students will be able to apply principles of logical argument and persuasion in their writing.

MA 116:  Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the Central Limit Theorem and sampling distributions and use these to estimate a population parameter.

HE 100:  Students will be able to analyze and evaluate a nutrition food label and the various components of that food label, and use the information to make healthy food choices.

SP 108:  Students will find, identify and apply research materials to their speech presentations.

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