Program Educational Goals and Learning Outcomes

The core of the program assessment process is the establishment of a program’s educational goals and learning outcomes, which guide curriculum design, teaching, and assessment. This flowchart illustrates a simple logical process for program assessment.

Program Educational Goals

  • answer the question: what does your department want students to be and to do as a result of completing this program?
  • are broad, general, and provide a framework for more specific learning outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

  • specify how broad educational goals can be achieved
  • include knowledge, skills, abilities, values, etc. the program hopes students will achieve upon completion
  • specify the content or skill that students are expected to acquire and describe how the students are expected to use that content or skill (verb + noun)
  • are measurable, use specific and observable verbs ( e.g.,” explain”, “apply”) instead of generic ones, (e.g., “understand”, “ learn”) to clearly indicate the particular process the students will be expected to carry out
  • are outcome-driven, state what the students are to do instead of what the instructor is to do (e.g., “students will do …” instead of “provide students with …”)

Here are some examples of program educational goals and learning outcomes written by program directors here at UIC for your reference when you write your program’s educational goals and learning outcomes. Some of the examples include assessment methods, which may help to think about how your program learning outcomes will be assessed.

Here are some specific and observable verbs that you can choose to use when you state program learning outcomes. These verbs are organized according to Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Use this Program Educational Goals and Learning Outcomes Form to write program educational goals and learning outcomes and follow the instructions on the form.