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Templates for Developing Parallel Goals and Objectives for Student Learning

Course Objectives

At Capital Community College, faculty focus on classroom activities meant that assessment language was most easily applied at the course level. In the first year of the assessment initiative, many departments revised their course outlines to include a section on student learning objectives. This required making a distinction between the traditional syllabus (identifying items that teachers intend to cover) and performance-based objectives (identifying items of core knowledge students are expected to display).

Program Goals

The move to the program level has been slower in those programs where graduation requirements are composites of discrete courses that can be taken in different sequences, at different colleges, and sometimes under the instruction of adjunct teachers who might not participate in department discussions. The task is to agree collegially on a limited number of key competencies that students should be able to demonstrate by the end of a program. This requires finding a useful level of specificity, one that can both organize the necessary parts of the program into coherent general categories and at the same time can form the basis for measurement of specific performances.

Cross-curricular goals

In a 2001 spring training workshop, groups of faculty worked separately on defining goals for three programs and were then intrigued to find that the goals they drafted showed four common themes:

  • Display attitudes appropriate for next step (transfer or employment)
  • Communicate effectively (in speaking or writing)
  • Solve problems effectively (using logical, mathematical, or scientific reasoning)
  • Use technology appropriately
These common themes may indicate a core for cross-curricular assessment, facilitating examination of our general education program.

The linked pages include templates in use for defining and coordinating course objectives and program goals. You will need Adobe's Acrobat reader to view these .pdf pages.


Comments on and illustrations of the following topics are available through these links:
  • Engaging Faculty by finding a common language between assessment planners and teachers.
  • Templates for course objectives and program goals.
  • Assessment Policy for incorporating assessment into college structures.
  • Five Year Plan for the development of a replicable pattern and sustainable pace

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