Program Learning Outcomes

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How to Create PLOs | Assessing PLOs | Student Experience with PLOs

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) articulate the learning that should be achieved by the graduates of a program. PLOs should be mapped to the University Learning Goals (ULGs) per University Policy S17-2 [pdf]. In addition, required coursework in the program should be mapped to the PLOs - see the Curriculum Map. The latest PLOs for all programs at SJSU can be found in the University's Academic Catalog

How to Create PLOs

If you are creating PLOs for new programs or revising PLOs for your existing programs, you will find the following tips useful for your needs.

Curriculum Map

A curriculum map is a chart that illustrates the connections between Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) and Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs). A Curriculum Map is an example of planning that begins with the end in mind. The Curriculum Map displayed below also indicates the level learning outcomes are taught in courses and, as a result, also serves to identify any redundancies and/or gaps in outcome coverage. It is not necessary that all courses will address all outcomes; include the outcomes only of highest importance for your course. The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) has developed a curriculum mapping toolkit that includes tips and resources to mapping to the co-curriculum.

Recently Approved Assessment Plans with Curriculum Maps

Sample Curriculum Map Table

CSU System-wide preferred language for the level at which the outcome is addressed includes: Introduced = I, Developed = D, and Mastered = M. You may also identify when outcome assessment data is collected for program-level analysis: Assessed = A.  PLO content may be delivered in more courses in the program than indicated in your Curriculum Map table.

  PLO 1 PLO 2 PLO 3 PLO 4 PLO 5
Course #1 # Title I   I    
Course #2 # Title       I I
Course #3 # Title D       D, A
Course #4 # Title       D  
Course #5 # Title     D, A    
Course #6 # Title   I M, A   M, A
Course #7, 8, 9 # Title   D, A      
Course #10 # Title M, A M   M, A  

Source: CSU System-wide Curriculum Map Template [docx]

Assessing PLOs

PLOs should be assessed using direct assessment methods which will vary depending on the nature of the information sought and program being assessed.  While the exact methods used are for the program faculty to decide, some suggestions and ideas are listed:

Student Experience with PLOs

Students in the program should be aware of and be knowledgeable of the PLOs. To provide a centralized location for all program learning outcomes, the University's Academic Catalog features an institutional learning section, which includes all PLOs. Additionally, each program page in the academic catalog links directly to the appropriate PLOs for each program. However, not all students may engage with the academic catalog directly, so other suggestions include posting them on your website, listing them on your syllabi, or presenting/discussing them in an appropriate required course(s).  As we collect best practices in this area, some examples of emerging efforts are listed below: