San Diego Mesa College

Review of Current Outcomes


Reviewing or Developing New Course Outcomes

  • Course learning outcomes are the “big ideas” students should be able to articulate, to put into action, or to utilize (theoretically or pragmatically) after their course
  • As a general institutional practice at Mesa, COA recommends that faculty construct two to four outcomes per course.
  • Faculty should establish clearly written learning outcomes that define expectations for students enrolled in the
  • Creation and modification of Learning Outcomes is the responsibility of all discipline faculty.
    • Full-time faculty should construct and agree on the Outcomes for the courses they offer and
    • Adjunct faculty should be part of the conversation, as they will also be assessing the outcomes for their

Make them Measurable

Course learning outcomes need to be measurable: they should be able to be assessed in a way that provides qualitative and quantitative data. Faculty should be able to report how many students assessed were successful (quantitative data), and they should be able to provide a narrative of the results, including a description of the assessment context (qualitative data). Discussion of both the qualitative data and the quantitative data within the Program or Department will provide valuable information for curriculum and pedagogical planning within the program or department, as well as evidence of student learning.

Plan for Authentic Assessment

The ASCCC defines authentic assessment as something that “simulates a real world experience by evaluating the student’s ability to apply critical thinking and knowledge or to perform tasks that may approximate those found in the work place or other venues outside of the classroom setting.” Such a definition indicates that the best kinds of assessment may not merely be multiple choice questions on a test; be creative in the design of your assessment process utilizing scenarios that engage critical thinking, conceptual understanding, and active production.

Organize your Assessment Processes

Most likely, your outcomes are covered in several courses/service areas so that responsibility for achieving acceptable performance falls on several faculty/staff/administrators. The question of who does what, how, where, and when to facilitate assessment is important. It is advisable for faculty/staff/administrators with common functions related to a specific outcome to discuss what precisely each one does to help the students succeed. This discussion will help identify gaps and redundancies that can be eliminated to better align the efforts and maximize success.

Last Updated: August 1, 2017
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