Learning Outcomes

After reading the article “ Enhancing curriculum and delivery:linking assessment to learning objectives” by Combs, Gibson, Hays, Saly, and Wendt I came to the following conclusions:

It is most important to make sure that your objectives or learning outcomes are measurable and allow for flexibility if needed. I also understood the article to say students need to have the knowledge behind them to asses whether they are meeting learning objectives correctly. I came to this conclusion when the authors said “ …objectives is being met based on students’ perceptions of their current ability. While this instrument and methodology could be used at the undergraduate level, we believe that it is most appropriate for the graduate level where students have the experience needed to accurately assess the importance of particular learning objectives.” (Gibson, Combs,Hays,Saly and Wendt,2008,pg.87). I am sure you are wondering why I bring this up, but I did so because it became clear to me through this that students aren’t going to know if they have the ability to meet learning objectives unless they are clear and concise. So I turn your attention to the same information through our textbook authors observations in Chapter 6.

“1. Are the objectives composed of only learning outcomes, and

not learning activities?

a. If yes, go to Step 2.

b. If not, eliminate the learning activities or replace them with

the learning outcomes.

2. Are the learning outcomes stated in overt observable terms?

a. If yes, go to Step 3.

b. If no, replace the unobservant outcomes with indicators of

the outcomes. Remember, because this almost always

results in more specific objectives, you may have to write

several overt objectives to adequately ‘‘sample’’ the covert

learning outcome.

3. Now that you have all overt learning outcomes listed, are they

the simplest and most direct ways to measure the learning


a. If yes, you now have a useful list of instructional objectives

that will serve as a basis for a content-valid test.

b. If no, rewrite the indirect or complicated means of

measurement so that they are as simple and direct as

possible. Once you have done so, you have the basis for a

content-valid test.

FIGURE 6.1 Checklist for written objectives.” (Kubiszyn 115)


Kubiszyn gives us a great model to implement both the clear and concise writing of outcomes and blending this with the Course Assessment and Enhancement Model mentioned by Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education authors it appears to me that there are plenty of tools to blend well written objectives and a model for improviing a course through the five phases mentioned in the article. The five phases are : 1. course design, assessment tool pre-course, modified course delivery, assessment tool post-course and enhancements.

Blending the two is of importance because if you take the time to focus on the objectives and making your course the best possible then you can make evaluations that fit each your class and the objectives.

So Keeping these important factors in mind I came up with learning outcomes that follow the advice mentioned in the multi authored article previously that made sure the outcomes had action along with a specific goal in mind.

My Learning Outcomes

1. The students will be able to construct a written essay. The essay will demonstrate the development of written ideas.

2. Use style guides (such as APA Manual) for proofreading and editing.

3. Evaluate the primary focus of a given piece of writing.

To assess my learning outcomes I will use 1 essay test item , 2 multiple choice items and one true or false item. I also additionally added a journal entry so as to have something to add to a student portfolio should entries be needed.

I chose to have my pretend lesson on a piece of what some would call “classic” literature as I feel the most connected to reading and writing assignments and I wasn’t sure how to correctly construct a strictly reading assignment with these outcomes. I also chose a literature lesson because it seems to fit with the Library side of my intentions with my Ashford MAED.

The essay item will support learning outcome one “ The students will be able to construct a written essay. The essay will demonstrate the development of written ideas”.

Students will use Jack London’s Call of the Wild to answer the following essay prompt.

Essay Question:

Compare the roles of John Thornton and Judge Miller. Who, from the novel’s point of view, is the better master? Defend your answer.

Journal Entry: Choose a theme from the novel such as loyalty,instinct, or joy of work and describe the instances of this theme, providing examples through quotes in the book.

The essay question and journal entry  will also allow students to work on meeting learning outcome 2 which I wrote for them to learn to use style guides such as APA for proofreading and editing. The journal entry will also provide a chance to focus on a primary focus of a piece of writing as theme is a good place to focus when looking at literature.

Multiple Choice Questions:


What is Spitz’s full name?

a) Spitzbegen.

b) Vonglowerspitz.

c) Abramaspitz.

d) Spitzer.


Where does Buck live at the beginning of the book?

a) Colorado.

b) Arkansas.

c) Arizona.

d) California.

I chose the previous multiple choice questions because they are questions that before they answer them the students could possibly have a chance for some knowledge building through defining things such as what spitz’s name is or the terrain/geography of the area where Buck lived at the beginning of the book. This of course would all depend on how much background activity was required for the grade/level in the study guide or lesson plan I devised.

True False

1. John Thornton saves Buck from certain death.

2. The Yeehats are a Native American tribe.


SparkNotes: The Call of the Wild: Study Questions & Essay Topics. (n.d.).SparkNotes: Today’s Most Popular Study Guides. Retrieved May 22, 2013, from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/call/study.h


The Call of the Wild Multiple Choice Test Questions | BookRags.com. (n.d.).BookRags.com | Homework Help, Book Summaries, Study Guides, Essays, Lesson Plans, & Educational Resources. Retrieved May 22, 2013, from http://www.bookrags.com/lessonplan/callw


4 thoughts on “Learning Outcomes

  1. Martina; I like your learning outcomes. Unless I overlooked it, you did not share with us what grade level you would be working with.

    • Henry, No you didn’t miss it!! I originally wrote this post in Word on my computer and copy and pasted it into WordPress, because I’m not fully comfortable with WordPress yet and I guess the information that had been my original starting point didn’t make it into my highlight , copy , and paste. The plan was to use this with either high middle school (think 8th grade) or a high school literature/reading class. I am sure I could adapt the outcomes to various grade levels depending on the material being read, I just hadn’t looked that far into it.
      Thanks, Martina

  2. Martina,

    Great post! My question for you is, how would you measure your learning outcome #’s one and three? I personally would not know how to measure them, so I am curious as to what you would do.

    Thank you,


    • Johanna,
      As for outcomes one and three typically for one there would be some sort of prompt, or at least this has been my past experience with this type of outcome. Much like the instructor guidance sections on our Ashford classes. Giving you enough to start to think about it but not neccesarily giving you everything you would need to complete an essay or assignment. As for outcome three there would be specifics as well as to what is the theme main idea etc. and those would what the article is focusing on. I hope that I have helped you better understand my apparently vague learning outcomes. Thank you for pointing out that you didn’t know how to measure them so I can figure out how to better convey what I actually want to accomplish.


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