Student Learning Outcome

Assessment starts with explicit student learning outcome statements.  These statements outline what the faculty expects students to know and be able to do upon degree completion.  Bloom’s revised taxonomy for categorizing levels of cognitive development commonly occurring in educational settings is a useful model in which to structure educational goals. A summary of the taxonomy is below.


Skills Demonstrated


observation and recall of information

knowledge of dates, events, places

knowledge of major ideas

mastery of subject matter

Question/Activity Cues:
list, define, tell, describe, identify, show, label, collect, examine, tabulate, quote, name, who, when, where, etc.


understanding information

grasp meaning

translate knowledge into new context

interpret facts, compare, contrast

order, group, infer causes

predict consequences

Question/Activity Cues:
summarize, describe, interpret, contrast, predict, associate, distinguish, estimate, differentiate, discuss, extend


use information

use methods, concepts, theories in new situations

solve problems using required skills or knowledge

Question/Activity Cues:
apply, demonstrate, calculate, complete, illustrate, show, solve, examine, modify, relate, change, classify, experiment, discover


seeing patterns

organization of parts

recognition of hidden meanings

identification of components

Question/Activity Cues:
analyze, separate, order, explain, connect, classify, arrange, divide, compare, select, explain, infer


use old ideas to create new ones

generalize from given facts

relate knowledge from several areas

predict, draw conclusions

Question/Activity Cues:
combine, integrate, modify, rearrange, substitute, plan, create, design, invent, what if?, compose, formulate, prepare, generalize, rewrite


compare and discriminate between ideas

assess value of theories, presentations

make choices based on reasoned argument

verify value of evidence

recognize subjectivity

Question/Activity Cues
assess, decide, rank, grade, test, measure, recommend, convince, select, judge, explain, discriminate, support, conclude, compare, summarize

In addition to student learning goal statements, assessment criteria must be determined.  These criteria explain where the knowledge or skill is taught, how it is demonstrated and at what level students are expected to achieve.  Samples of student learning outcomes and assessment criteria are listed below.  A sample of a student learning goal planning sheet using Bloom’s Taxonomy is provided at the end of this manual.