Developing Student Learning Outcomes
Once the lesson objective is determined, the outcome is created. In order to identify the outcome for the lesson, teachers must use their knowledge of students' environmental influences, including cultural heritage, as well as students' abilities in writing, speaking, listening, reading and viewing.
For example, if a group of students is unfamiliar with the content of the sample paragraph used to measure mastery of capitalizing proper nouns, they will be distracted, therefore interfering with the students' abilities to demonstrate what they know and are able to complete the objective taught. A paragraph on Tsunamis in different parts of Asia may be familiar to several students, but a paragraph on popular foods in different cultures is a better choice, since the different cultures are represented within the group of students in the class.
Here are some helpful pointers on developing learning outcomes that avoid distractions and provide an optimal outcome for students to show mastery of learning:
During the development of outcomes:
- focus on product, not process
- ask yourself, "What do I want students to do with the new knowledge?"
- what are all students able to do already and how can these mastered skills be utilized in this outcome?
After the outcomes are created:
- Are the students required to apply skills not yet taught to produce this outcome? If the answer is yes, revise the outcome.
- Are the students familiar with the format of the product expected? If the answer is no, revise the outcome.
Consider this: a second grade class is given an assessment in multiple choice format. They are unfamiliar with that format and struggle to figure out what is expected in choosing a response. In this case, the format is not matched to students' abilities. The outcome is either changed so it is presented in a familiar format, or the students are exposed to this format before it is used as a learning outcome to show evidence of learning.
- Ask yourself, "Are students able to do this without requiring application of additional, unfamiliar skills not yet taught?
- Can students on all levels independently apply the objective to successfully produce this outcome created?
These self-reflective questions will assist in developing focused, effective learning outcomes that contribute to quality teaching, learning and assessment of students' abilities in the general education classroom.