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What are SLOs?

  • Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)s describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation.
  • SLOs relate to the knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors that students acquire as they progress through the program.

Primary and Secondary SLOs

Each required course in a degree program needs to articulate 3 Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for assessment purposes:

– 2 SLOs in a Primary Degree Goal area
– 1 SLO in a Secondary Degree Goal area

Use Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning or Bloom’s Taxonomy
– SLOs complete the statement . . . 
“By the end of this course (successful/passing) students will be able to _______.”
– Active verbs are effective for SLOs

Thinking SMART about SLOs


– Clear and definite terms describing abilities, knowledge, values, attitudes, and performance


– It is feasible to get the data; data are accurate and reliable; it can be assessed in more than one way

Aggressive but Attainable

– Has potential to move the program forward


– Describe what standards are expected from students or the program/service


– Describe where you would like to be within a specified time period

The Taxonomy of Significant Learning

When creating SLOs, remember the taxonomy:

Plain-Text Editor

From L. Dee Fink “Creating Significant Learning Experiences” (2003) San Francisco: Jossey Bass. (p. 30).

More about the Taxonomy

Taxonomy of Significant Learning
Foundational knowledge – understanding and remembering information and ideas
Application – skills, thinking (critical, creative, and practical), managing projects
Integration – connecting ideas, people and realms of life
Human dimension – learning about oneself and others
Caring – developing new feelings, interests and values
Learning how to learn – becoming a better student,
inquiring about a subject, self-directed learners
(Fink, p. 30)