Student Learning Outcomes

Grand Valley State University uses student outcomes as the primary measure of assessment within each unit: Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for academic programs and Student Centered Outcomes (SCOs) for co-curricular units.


What are Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)?

"Student learning outcomes or SLOs are statements that specify what students will know, be able to do or be able to demonstrate when they have completed or participated in a program/activity/course/project. Outcomes are usually expressed as knowledge, skills, attitudes or values" (Canada College).

SLOs are measurable statements of the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and habits of mind that students acquire as a result of the learning experience. SLOs define the fundamental student learning competencies for a program. SLOs focus on learning outcomes (content mastery, skills) that students should know or be able to demonstrate upon completion of the program.


What are Student Centered Outcomes (SCOs)?

SCOs are a measurable statement based on intentionally designed activities, programs, and services that foster and support student success outside of the classroom environment. SCOs are intended to be used by co-curricular entities such as advising centers and student services units.


Student Outcomes Assessment at GVSU

The university has adopted the Skills Learning Outcomes of the General Education Program as institution-level SLOs for undergraduate students. Assessment of these outcomes is coordinated and overseen by the General Education Committee.

Each program/unit with curricular(undergraduate and graduate) or co-curricular activities is required to formulate learning outcomes for their students, to be reviewed at the start of each Strategic Plan period. For each learning outcome, programs/units determine action steps needed to assess each outcome and establish how they will measure progress. Each program/unit is expected to report progress annually regarding assessment of SLOs and SCOs. Assessment of SLOs/SCOs are reviewed every two years by the University Assessment Committee


Institution-level Undergraduate SLOs

1. Collaboration

Collaboration - work together and share the workload equitably to progress toward shared objectives learned through structured activities that occur over a significant period of time.

Students will:

  • Use knowledge of group dynamics to select appropriate roles.

  • Use knowledge of group management to create effective plans.

  • Successfully follow the group's plan.

  • Assess contributions of self and others to the group dynamics.

2. Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking – use systematic reasoning to examine and evaluate information and ideas and then synthesize conclusions to propose new perspectives and solutions.

Students will:

  • Assess relevant information, perspectives and assumptions.

  • Construct logical conclusions based on reason and evidence.

  • Formulate novel approaches or create innovative interpretations.

  • Evaluate the novel approaches or innovative interpretations.

3. Ethical Reasoning

Ethical reasoning – use a decision-making process based on defining systems of value.

Students will:

  • Recognize ethical issues when presented in a complex situation.

  • Demonstrate understanding of key concepts and principles underlying various systems of reasoning.

  • Accurately apply ethical theories and terms to situations.

  • Demonstrate the ability to deal constructively with ambiguity and disagreement.

4. Information Literacy

Information Literacy – identify, access, evaluate, and synthesize multiple forms of information.

Students will:

  • Articulate the specific information needed.

  • Access information using appropriate search tools.

  • Evaluate the quality, usefulness, and relevance of the information.

  • Ethically communicate synthesized information.

5. Integration

Integration – synthesize and apply knowledge, experiences, and multiple perspectives to new, complex situations.

Students will:

  • Connect academic theories with personal experiences to illuminate both.

  • Draw conclusions connecting examples, facts, and/or theories from more than one field of study.

  • Generalize skills, abilities, theories, or methodologies for solving problems in new contexts.

6. Oral Communication

Oral Communication – effectively communicate verbally with a public audience across a variety of contexts.

Students will:

  • Develop content appropriate to the presentation.

  • Organize the content in a logical manner appropriate for the intended audience.

  • Demonstrate evidence of rehearsal during the formal presentation.

  • Demonstrate effective formal presentation skills.

7. Problem Solving

Problem Solving – design and evaluate strategies to answer open-ended questions.

Students will:

  • Construct clear and insightful problem statements that prioritize relevant contextual factors.

  • Identify multiple approaches for solving the problem within the given context.

  • Design and fully explain solutions that demonstrate comprehension of the problem.

  • Evaluate the feasibility of solutions considering the context and impact of potential solutions (e.g., historical, ethical, legal, practical).

8. Quantitative Literacy

Quantitative literacy - competently and confidently work with numbers.

Students will:

  • Interpret information appearing in different forms (e.g., graphs, tables, equations, and text).

  • Evaluate assumptions or biases associated with the chosen method.

  • Solve quantitative problems using appropriate techniques.

  • Draw valid conclusions based on data analysis and critically evaluate conclusions made by others.

9. Written Communication

Written communication – write effectively for multiple purposes and audiences.

Students will:

  • Develop content that is appropriate to a specific disciplinary or professional context, drawing upon relevant sources.

  • Organize written material to suit the purposes of the document and meet the needs of the intended audience.

  • Express ideas using language that meets the needs and expectations of the intended audience.

  • Use conventions of grammar, punctuation, usage, formatting, and citation appropriate to the specific writing situation.

Page last modified October 2, 2018