Course Outcomes at Pierce College are approved through the Learning Council, and can be found for each course taught by going to the Course Manager (https://inetapps.pierce.ctc.edu/CrsMgt/Login.aspx.) Log in using the same information you use for Instructor Briefcase.
Among the 21 Essential Standards we Review during our QA-QM Lite Reviews, two stick out. Both are related to outcomes. The Standards are 2.1 and 2.2. In this entry, I’ll address Standard 2.1.
Standard 2.1 states “The course learning objectives, or course/program competencies, describe outcomes that are measurable.”
The Annotation for Standard 2.1 tell us, “Measurable course learning objectives or competencies precisely and clearly describe what learners will learn and be able to do if they successfully complete the course. Course objectives or competencies describe desired learner mastery using terms that are specific and observable enough to be measured by the instructor. At some institutions, learning objectives or competencies may be called “learning outcomes.””
What does this mean? Learning outcomes are very important and are used in all Pierce College courses to provide a way to assess student mastery of the course materials. Since course outcomes are approved at the Learning Council, we cannot change them without going through the proper process. We still have to use them in our courses, though. During a Review the Reviewers will look at the course-level outcomes to see if they are measurable. If the course outcomes are not measurable, Reviewers may make some suggestions for improvement that could be taken to the department during a curriculum review to see if updating the outcomes is desirable.
Reviewers also review the outcomes as the outcomes are referred to time and again during the Review, when looking at activities, assessments, tools and even learning material to see how each support the outcomes, or are supported by the outcomes.
If 85% or more of the outcomes are measurable, great! Sometimes, however, they don’t hit the 85% level. So the second part of Standard 2.1 comes into play – looking at the module or learning unit outcomes to determine if they are measurable. If the module-level outcomes are measurable, Standard 2.1 is met and the Review proceeds.
However, if there are no outcomes listed, or if the course-level outcomes are not measurable *and* the module-level outcomes are either missing or not measurable, the Review stops. Normally the Review Chair (a QM trained Master Reviewer) will contact the faculty member to discuss the issue and steps needed to continue with the Review.
To wrap this up – course level outcomes are critical for student success. They help us (and the student) determine what they need to master or understand of the course material to be successful in the course.. For course design and in a QM Review, we use course level outcomes as the cornerstone upon which all other elements of a course is built. Without the course level outcomes, we cannot effectively build a course. So, ensure your course has its outcomes listed prominently, and use them for reference as your students work through your course.