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Office of Academic Assessment

Information on equity-minded assessment of student learning at Emerson, including resources, programming, and reports.

Writing Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes specify what students will know, be able to do, or be able to demonstrate when they have completed a course or program. The resources below provide guidance for writing learning objectives, and can be used at the assignment, course, and/or program level. 

Bloom's Taxonomy

Bloom's Taxonomy

Bloom's Taxonomy has long been central to our understanding of how students learn, how they demonstrate that learning, and how we as instructor can assess that learning. While Bloom's Taxonomy has been updated a number of times since its creation in the 1950s, it remains in most visualizations a hierarchical depiction of knowledge acquisition and demonstration. 

This more recent version abandons the pyramid for a series of nested circles:

In addition to the resources below that demonstrate the benefits of using contemporary representations of Bloom's Taxonomy to shape student learning outcomes, below you will also find a few recent scholarly works that encourage instructors to rethink how we understand student learning to encourage the incorporation of broader ways of knowing.

Fink's Taxonomy of Significant Learning

Fink's Taxonomy of Significant Learning

"Unlike Bloom's original and revised taxonomies, Fink's is non-hierarchical, with each element interacting with one another to 'stimulate other kinds of learning' (Fink 2005). Fink also includes elements that would be classified as 'affective' under Bloom's taxonomy, such as 'caring' and 'the human dimension.' Similar to the revised Bloom's taxonomy, Fink recognizes the importance of metacognition as a dimension of learning."


Medicine Wheel Framework

Switching from Bloom's Taxonomy to the Medicine Wheel

One recently published alternative to Bloom's Taxonomy, by Marcella LaFever, aims to incorporate indigenous ways of knowing into how we think about, value, and evaluate student learning.

NILOA's Transparency Framework

Student learning outcomes statements clearly state the expected knowledge, skills, attitudes, competencies, and habits of mind that students are expected to acquire at an institution of higher education.

Transparent student learning outcomes statements are:

  • Specific to institutional level and/ or program level
  • Clearly expressed and understandable by multiple audiences, including students
  • Prominently posted or linked to multiple places across the website
  • Updated regularly to reflect current outcomes
  • Receptive to feedback or comments on the quality and utility of the information provided