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SLOs & C&I
SLOs vs SPOs SLO Review Process SLO Forms & Checklist

Outcomes and Curriculum Design – What’s the Connection?

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between a student learning outcome (SLO) and a student performance objective (SPO).

SLOs focus on the big picture to describe the broadest over-arching goals for the class. There should only be a few of them. They are the specific observable characteristics developed by local faculty that allow them to determine or demonstrate evidence that learning has occurred as a result of a specific course, program, activity, or process.

SPOs (Student Performance Objectives), formerly known as TMOs (Terminal Me asurable Objectives), are the particular set of objectives that move the student through the content/competencies. These are specific skills that you may teach in order to achieve the outcome.

SLOs are not the same as SPOs. SLOs represent a broader set of skills, knowledge or attitudes that the students take with them when they leave the course, program or institution. If they are the same, faculty need to look at the two and decide which are truly SLOs and which are SPOs. In some cases they may be similar; however, the SLO should be broader. If it is not, or there are more SLOs than SPOs, faculty should look at the course carefully and determine which are which.

For Example:

The SLOs for MATH 125 are:

  1. Perform operations on real numbers and algebraic expressions.

  2. Apply and follow the mathematical principles, operations and strategies to write, solve, graph, and interpret linear equations.

  3. Apply and follow the mathematical principles, operations and strategies to solve nonlinear equations.

  4. Solve application problems by using critical thinking.

Photo of math equations written in pencil.

The SPOs for MATH 125 are:

  1. Use the fundamental operations to solve problems involving integers and polynomials.

  2. Set up and solve application problems using linear equations and inequalities in one variable.

  3. Graph linear equations and inequalities in two variables on a rectangular coordinate system.

  4. Solve systems of linear equations and application problems in two variables using graphical and algebraic methods.

  5. Use the properties of integral exponents to simplify algebraic expressions.

  6. Factor trinomials and the difference of two squares.

  7. Use the fundamental operations to simplify polynomial and rational expressions.

  8. Solve equations and application problems involving rational expressions.

  9. Graph parabolas by using a table of values.

  10. Simplify complex expressions and solve equations involving radicals.

  11. Solve quadratic equations and application problems by factoring, extraction of roots, completing the square, or using the quadratic
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