On Friday, I attended a six hour-long meeting focusing on student learning outcomes. It made me ponder some recent examples I have of the outcomes that different people expect for student learning. All of these examples are from colleagues, near and far:
- The withdrawal and fail rates for these courses are too high. You need to figure out how to help more students succeed in these courses - a dean, remarking upon a track of pre-med/pre-professional courses.
- You guys need to fail more students. Not enough of the students are learning what they need to succeed in our courses. - a professor, remarking upon the same track of pre-med/pre-professional courses.
- I was concentrating on my music and my surfing instead of your class. - a student responding to a professor chiding the class on poor exam performance.
- Zero hours outside of class. Zero homework done. This class does nothing to prepare students for the tests. - student response to a post-exam survey asking for amount of time spent studying, amount of homework completed, and constructive criticism for the professor.
I think I'll go drink hot cocoa now.