Planning and Assessing

Planning for Continuous Improvement & Assessing Learning Outcomes

Assessing and evidencing learning outcomes are inher­ently complex tasks that are best approached through a comprehensive process, involving multiple methods and stakeholders (Green et al., 2009). When implemented effectively, learning outcomes assessment can provide evi­dence of student learning and progression, and prioritize recommendations for continuous curriculum improvement (Cummings et al., 2008).

One of the core focuses of learning outcomes assessment is to develop a process for continuous quality improvement in our academic programs (Knight, 2002). Assessing stu­dent perceptions of their learning throughout and at the end of their program of study can be an integral compo­nent in the development of a plan for continuous curricu­lum improvement. It can also be advantageous to evaluate the input and perceptions of multiple-stakeholders.

Learning outcomes are central to the development of an efficient and effective framework for continuous improve­ment of the curriculum. The following 5-step framework (below) can help programs manage an outcomes-based approach to curriculum development. For further details related to these steps, please download The Learning Outcomes Guide.

5 Essentials Graphic



Cummings, R., Maddux, C.D., and Richmond, A. 2008. Curriculum-embedded performance assessment in higher education: maximum efficiency and minimum disruption. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 33: 599-605.

Green, W., Hammer, S. and Star, C. 2009. Facing up to the challenge: why is it so hard to develop graduate attributes. Higher Education Research and Development 28: 17-29.

Knight, P.T. 2002. The Achilles' heel of quality: the assessment of student learning. Quality in Higher Education 8(1): 107-115.