Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

As part of a broader effort to ensure that our graduate programs are cutting edge in both content and form and to maximize student success, our campus is committed to developing and assessing Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) for all graduate programs.  In doing so, we are committed to several principles:  (1) one size does not fit all, that is, each department or program should develop its own PLOs and assessment mechanisms, (2) an incremental approach in which assessment focuses on the areas that are of greatest interest to program faculty and students, and (3) good faith effort that enables programs to strive for improvement rather than to showcase areas in which they are already excellent.

PLO Timeline

In 2011-2012, five departments – Anthropology, Criminology, Law & Society, Education, English and Mathematics — developed PLO documents and assessment plans that could serve as models for the rest of the campus. Their documents are available hereWASC representatives met with representatives of our pilot programs and provided favorable comments. UCI’s Graduate Council developed a guideline to assist in development of specific learning outcomes for each graduate program, along with evaluative measures.

In 2012-2013, the Graduate Council required all graduate programs to define program learning outcomes, while the pilot working group moved forward with assessment.

In 2013-2014, graduate programs were asked to begin assessing PLOs, with an eye to gathering data that will allow programs to make targeted improvements.

UCI WASC Review links:

Examples of other institutions: