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Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) and Action Verbs

The purpose of SLOs are to help focus teaching and learning by stating what students should know, value, and be able to do at the end of a class or course of study.  SLOs also serve as the basis for evaluating the effectiveness of the teaching and learning process.  These SLOs are to be stated clearly on the course syllabus. After SLOs are written for a course, suitable assignments and grading rubrics can be developed to determine if, and how well, students attained the SLOs. 

Because SLOs are about what students should know, value, and be able to do, they should be written with measurable outcomes. 

•Students will be able to understand…, analyze…, explain
Avoid writing SLOs that do not have measurable outcomes.

•Students will be exposed to…, have an opportunity to…, will study…

Sample SLOs:

Math: The student will apply course material along with techniques and procedures covered in this course to solve problems.

Communications: The student will demonstrate understanding of the terminology and principles of public speaking through the production and performance of oral presentations and chapter quizzes.

Curriculum and Instruction: The student will explain the interactions of students, teachers, and materials in classrooms and the implications of these interactions for classroom environments.

Computer Game Development: The student will evaluate the game industry and market.

Kinesiology: The student will discuss the interaction of cognitive and motor development throughout the lifespan.

Nursing: The student will learn to assess the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of pain.

Art: The student will analyze his own work and interpret the work of others.

Physical Activity: The student will use swimming as a mode of cardiovascular exercise.

Music: The student will create original works of music.

The following tables list action verbs arranged by the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains.  Use these words or equally active verbs to write your SLOs.

  • Psychomotor Domain
    Level and Action Verbs for Psychomotor Domain 
    Level Action Verbs

    Reflex Movements
    •Segmental Reflexes
    •Intersegmental Reflexes
    •Suprasegmental Reflexes

    react
    respond 
     

    Basic-Fundamental Movements
    •Locomotor Movements
    •Non-Locomotor Movements
    •Manipulative Movements

    climb
    grasp
    jump
    reach
    stand 

    sway
    throw
    twist
    visually track
    walk 

    Perceptual Abilities
    •Kinesthetic Discrimination
    •Visual Discrimination
    •Auditory Discrimination
    •Tactile Discrimination
    •Coordinated Abilities

    Catch
    Explore
    Distinguish between shapes, sounds, fabrics, and so forth by using senses
    write 

    Physical Abilities
    •Endurance
    •Strength
    •Flexibility
    •Agility

     endure
    exceed
    improve
    increase
    maintain
    repeat 
     
    Skilled Movements
    •Simple Adaptive Skill
    •Compound Adaptive Skill
    •Complex Adaptive Skill
     build
    craft
    dance
    drive 
    juggle
    play a musical instrument
    skate 
    Non-Discursive Communication

    •Expressive Movement
    •Interpretive Movement

    Communicate feeling, emotion, and meaning through movement, gestures, and expressions

    References:

    Harrow, A. J. (1972).  A Taxonomy of the Psychomotor Domain – A Guide for Developing Behavioral Objectives. N.Y. David McKay Company, Inc.

  • Affective Domain
    Level and Action Verbs for Affective Domain       
    Level Action Verbs

    Receiving
    (Attending)

    accept
    accumulate
    ask
    attend
    choose

    combine
    control
    develop
    differentiate
    listen (for)

    point to
    receive
    recognize
    respond to
    select

    separate
    set apart
    share

    Responding

    acclaim
    aid
    applaud
    approve
    answer
    augment

    commend
    complete
    comply
    cooperate
    discuss
    examine

    follow
    greet
    help
    perform
    play
    practice

    respond
    select
    volunteer

    Valuing

    accept
    assist
    debate
    defend
    deny

    devote
    help
    increase
    initiate
    measure

    proficiency in
    propose
    protest
    pursue
    relinquish 

    specify
    seek
    subsidize
    support

    Organization

    abstract
    adhere
    arrange
    balance
    codify

    compare
    define
    discriminate
    discuss
    order

    formulate
    integrate
    modify
    organize

    prepare
    systematize
    theorize
    weigh

    Characterization by a Value or a Value Complex

    avoid
    change
    complete
    display

    exhibit
    influence
    internalize
    manage

    practice
    question
    require
    resist

    resolve
    revise
    verify

    References:

    Krathwohl, D.R., Bloom, B.S., and Masia, B.B. (1964). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Handbook II: Affective Domain. NY, NY: Longman Inc.

     

  • Cognitive Domain
    Level and Action Verbs for Cognitive Domain       
    Level Action Verbs (some words may fit in more than one category)

    Remember
    Retrieve  relevant knowledge from long-term memory

    arrange 
    copy
    define 
    describe 
    discover
    duplicate
    enumerate 

    examine
    identify 
    label 
    list 
    listen
    locate
    match

    memorize 
    name 
    observe
    omit
    order 
    outline
    quote

    read
    recognize 
    relate 
    recall 
    recite
    record
    repeat

    reproduce
    retell
    select
    state
    tabulate
    tell
    visualize

    Understand
    Construct meaning from instructional messages, including oral, written, and graphic communication

    ask
    associate
    cite
    classify
    compute
    contrast
    convert
    describe

    differentiate
    discover
    discuss 
    distinguish 
    estimate 
    express
    extend
    generalize

    give example(s)
    group
    identify
    indicate
    infer
    judge
    locate

    order
    paraphrase 
    recognize
    report
    represent
    research
    restate

    review
    rewrite
    select
    show
    summarize
    trace
    translate

    Apply
    Carry out or use a procedure in a given situation 

    apply
    calculate
    change
    choose
    classify
    complete
    compute

    construct
    demonstrate 
    dramatize
    employ
    explain
    generalize
    graph 

    illustrate
    interpolate
    interpret
    judge
    manipulate
    modify
    operate

    practice
    predict
    prepare
    produce
    relate
    schedule

    show
    sketch
    solve
    subtract 
    use
    write

    Analyze
    Break material into its constituent parts and determine how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose 

    analyze 
    appraise
    arrange
    breakdown
    calculate
    categorize
    change
    choose
    classify
    combine
    compare 

    compute
    contrast 
    criticize
    demonstrate 
    design
    detect
    develop
    diagram
    differentiate
    discover
    discriminate

    distinguish
    dramatize
    examine
    experiment
    identify
    illustrate
    infer
    interpret 
    manipulate
    model

    modify
    operate
    outline
    point out
    practice
    predict 
    produce
    question
    relate

    schedule
    separate
    subdivide
    survey
    test

    Evaluate
    Make Judgements based on criteria and standards

    appraise
    arrange
    assemble
    assess
    categorize
    collect
    combine
    compare

    compose
    conclude
    construct
    create
    criticize
    critique
    defend
    develop

    design 
    evaluate
    formulate 
    generate
    hypothesize 
    judge
    justify
    prepare

    rearrange 
    reconstruct 
    relate
    reorganize
    revise
    rewrite
    set up

    summarize 
    synthesize
    tell
    value
    weigh
    write

    Create
    Put elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganize elements into a new pattern or structure 

    argue
    combine
    compose
    construct
    contrast

    develop
    devise
    create
    critique
    design

    estimate
    generate
    integrate
    interpret
    invent

    make
    originate
    plan
    produce
    propose

    recommend 
    synthesize
    transform

    References:

    Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (Eds.). (2001).  A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, New York: Longman.

    Bloom, B.S. and Krathwohl, D. R. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals. Handbook I: Cognitive Domain. NY, NY: Longmans, Green.

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