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ERIC Number: ED555528
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 23
To Imagine a Verb: The Language and Syntax of Learning Outcomes Statements. Occasional Paper #24
Adelman, Clifford
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment
This essay provides language-centered principles, guidelines and tools for writing student learning outcome statements. It is focused on syntax and semantics, and takes considerable issue with both the lack of such guidance in earlier literature and specific words, phrases, tenses, voices, and abstraction in diction levels, along with ellipses and tautologies, that one reads in extant attempts to set forth such learning outcomes. While placing the verb at the center of all student learning outcomes, it distinguishes between active and operational verbs, voting for the latter on the grounds that they are more likely to lead, naturally and logically, to assignments that allow genuine judgment of student performance, and offers, as more constructive cores of student learning outcomes, 20 sets of operational verbs corresponding to cognitive activities in which students engage and faculty seek to elicit. Lastly, it advocates strategies for involving umbrella national academic organizations and accrediting organizations in realizing its vision.
National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. 340 Education Building MC 708, 1310 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820. Tel: 217-244-2155; Fax: 217-244-5632; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment