Rethinking Assessment of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education


QQI’s Green Paper on Assessment of Learners and Learning emphasises the primary significance of learning outcomes in articulating the principal educational goals of a programme and the importance of alignment of approaches to teaching, learning and assessment to support - and enable demonstration of - their attainment. As signifiers of the standards of knowledge, skill and competence associated with an award, learning outcomes must be comprehensible at an appropriate level to learners, to teachers/instructors, to wider disciplinary communities of practice and to other key stakeholders. In addition, assessment strategies must be sufficient to validly and reliably demonstrate achievement of those standards.

The Green Paper notes that “writing intended learning outcomes statements is an art” and that “providers at all levels frequently find it challenging to articulate – and demonstrate – curricular support (including formative and summative assessment), for intended programme learning outcomes”. It identifies particular challenges in consistent interpretation of learning outcomes and in ensuring a focus on learning outcomes at the programme-level.

This workshop will explore the context for, and challenges in, the use of learning outcomes in an Irish higher education context and develop participants’ expertise in the development and assessment of learning outcomes. It is aimed at individuals involved in assessment (including academic staff and external examiners), programme development and review, and quality assurance.