Developing Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcome (SLO) statements take the program learning goals and focus on how students can demonstrate that the goals are being met. In other words, SLOs answer the question: how can graduates from this program demonstrate they have the needed/stated knowledge, skills, and/or values. SLOs are clear, concise statements that describe how students can demonstrate their mastery of program learning goals. Each student learning outcome statement must be measurable. Measures are applied to student work and may include student assignments, work samples, tests, etc. measuring student ability/skill, knowledge, or attitude/value.

Criteria for Development

The following criteria can be used to develop and evaluate student learning outcome statements:

  • Student Perspective: statement focus is on what students learn not on what the course covers
  • Clarity: statement is concise and understandable by all interested groups including students, parents, faculty, and others specific to the program.
  • Potentially observable and/or measurable: statement describes how students can demonstrate that they have the knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes/values specified in the goals.


Knowledge:  Students can distinguish between science and pseudo-science.
Skill: Graduates can locate appropriate sources by searching electronic and traditional databases.  
Value: Graduates appreciate the need to vary counseling services to people who are different from themselves with respect to gender, age, culture, sexual orientation, and other significant characteristics.

Tips for Writing Student Learning Outcomes (pdf)