Course SLOs

This webpage explains how to compose clear course-level student learning outcomes (Course SLOs) and provides answers to frequently asked questions. For information related to program-level student learning outcomes (Program SLOs), please visit here.

Necessary components in a course SLO

Each course has a set of goals, or course student learning outcomes (Course SLOs), which describe, in an observable manner, what students at different stages of the course will know and be able to do.

To build clear SLOs, the FCC strongly recommends using action verbs from the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy and following the SMART framework.

  • Specific: 
    • Please clearly state the subject matter or skill students will learn in this course.
  • Measurable:
    • Each outcome must be clearly tied to an assignment, exam/quiz, or activity that is graded.
  • Attainable:
    • The results can be realistically achieved by students in a defined time frame. SLOs of 100- and 200- level courses are usually associated with more basic levels in the cognitive dimensions and knowledge dimensions in the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. SLOs of upper-level courses are generally associated with the advanced levels in the taxonomy.
  • Result-driven:
    • The expected performance target should be clearly stated such as “70% of students receiving C or higher on the [assessed assignment],” etc.
  • Time-bound:
    • The time when an outcome is assessed with particular assignments should be stated such as “at the end of the semester” or “one-third through the semester,” etc.

How to fill in SLO information in Curriculog

Curriculog divides the SLO statements into three textboxes: (1) “Student Learning Outcomes,” (2) “Assessment Method and Performance Expected,” and (3) "How does this course align with the student learning outcomes articulated for the program(s) it serves." Below is an SLO example from GEOL – 200 The Age of Dinosaurs, with explanations following the SMART framework.

(1) Student Learning Outcomes

course SLO example

Note: The goal stated in this SLO is specific on the knowledge subject (basic taxonomic groups within Dinosauria) and the outcome (identify), an action verb in Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. Identifying basic taxonomy is also attainable for a 200-level course.


(2) Assessment Method and Performance Expected

course SLO assessment and performance target example
Note: the assessment method for SLO1 is measurable through a taxonomy test, midterm exam, final exam, and the “Dig Site Report.” The result is clearly communicated with “70%” and “80%.” The assessments are also time-bound as suggested by “3/4 through the course”, “midterm,” and “final.”


(3) How does this course align with the student learning outcomes articulated for the program(s) it serves.

How a course aligns with the SLOs of the program it serves
Note: Because the proposed course is a core course of the Paleontology Concentration under the Geology major, the originator clarified how the course aligns with not only the major but the concentration. Some programs list their concentration SLOs as part of the program SLOs while others list them separately. In either case, please simply state the alignment between the proposed course and some of the program/concentration SLOs. Please note that the alignment is between the course itself and the program SLO(s), not between the course's specific SLOs with the program SLOs. The complete list of all programs' SLOs can be found here.

For additional course SLO examples from various schools, please click here.


  • How many course SLOs are needed for each course
          Each course should have at least two SLOs. It is common to have three or four. These SLOs can either address various subjects in the course or cover different cognitive dimensions in the Bloom's Taxonomy
  • How many assessment methods are needed for each course SLO?
          One assessment method for each SLO is usually acceptable. However, it is desirable to have multiple assessment methods for one SLO, especially when those assessment methods are spread out in terms of format and time of a semester. 
  • Can multiple SLOs be assessed through the same assessment method, for example, the final exam?
          Yes. However, it is desirable that SLOs are assessed through various activities and artifacts at various points of time during a semester
  • What is the relationship between general education SLOs and the course SLOs of a general-education course?
          A course should have its own course SLOs, assessment methods, performance expectations, as well as alignment with the program it belongs to regardless of whether it fulfills a general education requirement. If a course happens to also fulfills a certain general education requirement, it should also align with one or more of the SLOs of the general education area to which it belongs. General education SLOs can be found here.
  • SLOs of a cross-listed course
          Two undergraduate courses or two graduate courses that are cross-listed are essentially the same course with different prefixes and course numbers. Therefore, the two cross-listed courses should share the same set of course SLOs. The two courses should also share the same assessment methods and performance expectations.
          However, because the two courses are cataloged under different programs, in their respective Curriculog proposals, when asked “How does this course align with the student learning outcomes articulated for the program(s) it serves?” they should be aligned with their respective programs’ SLO(s).
          When cross-listing an undergraduate course with a graduate course, the SLOs and assessment measures of the graduate course should be different and more advanced than the cross-listed undergraduate course. For details, please consult the College's course number policy.

  • If a proposed course also fulfils a General Education requirement, can I use the General Education SLOs as the course SLOs?
          No, because General Education SLOs and course SLOs serve different purposes. Course SLOs outline what students will achieve through the specific course, while a course’s General Education SLOs explain the type of general competency that students will gain through this course. The College’s General Education curriculum is divided into seven areas including First Year Writing, Foreign Languages, Classical or Modern, History, Humanities, Mathematics/Logic, Natural Science, and Social Sciences. Please follow the link to find the General Education SLOs for each area. If a course is approved by the General Education Committee and the Faculty Senate to fulfil one area of the General Education requirement, the course should list the relevant General Education SLOs and the courses SLOs in its syllabus, which should be included with the course’s Curriculog proposal.
          General Education SLOs do not narrowly focus on skills, techniques, or procedures specific to a particular occupation or profession; particularly for those 300-400 level courses designated as General Education courses. Because General Education SLOs are college level, they focus on General Education competencies such as communication , critical thinking , information technology , quantitative reasoning , scientific reasoning , applied ethics, etc.
          For example, with the communication competency, a competent communicator can interact with others using all forms of communication, resulting in understanding and being understood. Outcomes are achieved (measured) results of what was learned and they describe significant and essential learning that students have achieved and can demonstrate at the end of a learning event. For example, for communication competency, an SLO will be: Students will demonstrate the ability to: (1) understand and interpret complex materials; (2) assimilate, organize, develop, and present an idea formally and informally; (3) use appropriate verbal and non-verbal responses in interpersonal relations and group discussions.