Student Learning Outcomes
“Student learning outcomes” describe what students should know or be able to do upon completing an academic experience, course, program, or degree. Pacific’s degree programs list key program-level student learning outcomes in their Academic Catalog materials, often also making them available on program webpages. Those program outcomes are achieved through course-level learning outcomes provided in course syllabi.
Program faculty assess student learning for these desired outcomes in a variety of ways, including through graded course assignments, through periodic as well as cumulative exams, and through projects, internships, clinical placements, and capstone or thesis experiences that often challenge students to integrate and apply their learning in novel ways under complex, real-world conditions.
Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
- Critical Thinking
- Application of degree knowledge and skills
- Social Responsibility
- Diverse and Intercultural Perspectives
While every educational program at Pacific has distinct aims and attributes, all programs also share certain underlying educational aims, which are reflected in a set of Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) that we internally track and use to provide Pacific faculty with yet another basis for discovering if student learning will benefit either from curricular improvements or additional support.
To identify Institutional Learning Outcomes, in 2021-22, the Pacific community underwent an extensive process of auditing its many, diverse academic programs across bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels, to discover what would arise as some of the most critical elements shared by all programs. Challenged to find common ground among programs as diverse as a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Doctorate in Optometry, the Pacific community necessarily looked to broad learning aims that could still authentically capture essential aspects of every Pacific education.
In spring 2022, the faculty endorsed, and the administration ratified, a set of five Institutional Learning Outcomes. Each program determines what the ILO terms mean within the program’s field, appropriately integrates them within the curriculum, and assesses student learning and proficiency for each element at the point within the program that represents the highest level of development within the respective curriculum – frequently at the capstone/thesis or clinical/professional placement level. Going forward, each program will, annually, submit aggregated, anonymous student learning assessment data for each ILO, so that the faculty and supporting staff can get this unique big-picture perspective on education across the curriculum. The annual results will be incorporated into Pacific’s broader annual institutional effectiveness assessment and planning process.
We know, based on already-existing learning assessment, that Pacific’s student achievement is cause for celebration. However, we believe it is important to be always on the lookout for new ways to identify educational improvements that can benefit students.