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Assessment: ILOs and PLOs

Institutional Learning Outcomes


ILOs and Core Competencies are the measurable skills, abilities, knowledge, and/or values that every Otis graduate, regardless of major, will be able to do or demonstrate as a result of completing an Otis education. (Adopted Spring 2013)

Complete documentation and evidence is located on the Student Outcomes site.

WSCUC Core Competency FAQs

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Each Department creates their own PLOs that grow from the ILOs.

For complete lists of all Department PLOs and evidence of student work that demonstrates each PLO, see the Student Learning Outcomes site.

Curriculum Mapping

Otis College of Art and Design

Department Curriculum Map






Otis 101





Otis 201





Otis 301





Otis 401





I = Introduces     P=Practices     A = Advanced


Otis College Matrix

Writing A Learning Outcome

Learning outcomes (LO) describe what student are able to do (knowledge, skills, values, behaviors, “habits of mind”) as a result of a course or program.

Generally there are two types of student learning outcomes (SLO)—Course Learning Outcomes (CLO) and Program Learning Outcomes (PLO). PLOs describe what the program as a whole is expected to achieve and tend to be more general. CLOs describe what a student is expected to be able to do as a result of course, are more specific, and are written by instructors to align with the PLOs.

3 types of learning outcomes:

  • Knowledge, ideas, beliefs, facts (cognitive)
  • Skills and abilities (performative)
  • Values, attitudes, emotions (affective)

Why should you care?

  • Better learning, less time wasted, can set high expectations
  • Better performance—students know where you want them to go
  • Focused and strategic teaching
  • Assessment

Most common problem with LOs—not assessable or internal and can’t be observed or demonstrated. Too vague or too specific.

Verbs to avoid: understand, appreciate, comprehend, grasp, know, see, accept, be aware of, be conscious of, learn, perceive, value, get, apprehend, be familiar with

Questions to ask if your outcomes are good:

  • Is the LO observable?
  • Can you and the students know when it is achieved?
  • What evidence would  you need to see if it’s been reached?
  • What sorts of behaviors or performances would you associate with someone who has reached the state?
  • If a student completed your course only having mastered these outcomes would you consider your course a success?
  • Why do these LOs matter to you or your dept?
  • How do these LOs build on what has come before in the program?
  • How do these LOs prepare the students for what comes after?

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