Today’s universities measure student learning outcomes (SLOs) through in-class assessments targeting the micro and macro level of a learner’s knowledge acquisition.

At the micro level, these assessments take the form of quizzes, mid-term and final exams, and evaluations of assignments submitted by students. At the macro level, SLOs feed into what administrators expect every student, regardless of specific curriculum, program, or major, to master in order to graduate. These are not skills-specific necessarily; they are ideals. These are the outcomes that students should be able “to know, think, or do across all courses” by the time they graduate.

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The success or failure of a university’s macro-level SLOs is later assessed (voluntarily) during the accreditation process via one of the nation’s six regional accreditors. This assessment is something that the vast majority of the colleges and universities in the United States undertake currently to earn and maintain campus-wide accreditation.

About the Author:

Troy Markowitz serves as Sr. Director of Business Development at Instructure. He was previously the Vice President of Academic Partnerships at Portfolium, acquired by Instructure in 2019. The Portfolium Network is a space where students can showcase their achievements to potential employers and connect with other Folio users. Troy has over a decade of experience in senior leadership positions at technology and consulting firms such as McKinsey, BDO, and EMC and currently is a contributor to Forbes, among others, writing primarily about the gap between education and the workforce.