Student Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes help faculty and students come to a common understanding about the purpose and goals of a course or academic program. By providing clear and comprehensive learning outcomes, faculty begin to provide a transparent pathway for student success.

Learning outcomes are the cornerstones of course design and assessment, and help students focus on what is important. Learning outcomes can also be considered an inclusive teaching practice as they can help clarify expectations for all students.

As stated in the campus Institutional Plan for Assessing Student Learning, course and program learning outcomes are required for all courses and programs.

Further, learning outcomes are required in academic program approval and review, course approval, and in group instruction course syllabi.

Academic Program Learning Outcomes

View student learning outcomes for each UW-Madison undergraduate and graduate academic program in The Guide. Click on the program of your choosing to find its outcomes. Academic program learning outcomes should:

  • describe what students are expected to know or be able to do upon completion of a program.
  • be observable and measurable.
  • contribute, or map to, the UW-Madison Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs).
  • be readily available to students through The Guide.
  • be assessed and reviewed by the faculty on a regular basis.

Course Learning Outcomes

Course learning outcomes should:

  • state what students are expected to know or be able to do upon completion of a specific course.
  • be clearly stated and relate specifically to the topics, assignments, exams and other assessments in the course.
  • be observable and measurable.
  • contribute, or map to, program-level learning outcomes.
  • be outlined in the course syllabus, reviewed with students at the beginning of the course and referenced throughout the duration of the course.

Upcoming Workshops

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Writing Outcomes

Find tips and resources for writing course and program student learning outcomes.