Articulate Guiding Question(s)

Program Learning Outcomes Assessment

Define guiding questions for inquiry

Inquiry into student learning begins with the question: What do you want to know about student learning in your program? Your approach to inquiring about student learning should help you answer the questions that most interest you and your colleagues.

As with individual scholarship, the question drives data collection and analysis. 


alignment among: purpose of the inquiry; research question(s); types of evidence; and audience with whom you will share the results.


Purposes for Outcomes Assessment Questions to Inform Inquiry Questions to Inform Analyses
Inform planning for the next time a particular course will be taught

What percentage of our graduating students meet (or exceed) our expectations, as expressed in the program learning outcomes statements?

Do these data provide acceptable evidence of students’ ability to:
  • remember / describe / apply / analyze / evaluate / create?
  • think critically?
  • communicate effectively?
Identify students’ areas of strengths and weaknesses within and across a sequence of courses

What are our students’ areas of strengths and weaknesses?

How well can students demonstrate particular skills at different points in the course of study?

What can we learn—from the data we have—about students’ achievement of program goals?

What does the evidence indicate about alignment between courses?

Confirm or disprove general impressions we have about our students’ learning in relationship to learning outcomes statements How can we confirm or disprove general impressions that our students aren’t achieving our expectations, as expressed in the program learning outcomes statements? What do these data suggest about what students know and can demonstrate?