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Competencies and Learning Outcomes
Competency requirements and tools for describing and assessing learning outcomes in public policy and management

This page organizes resources associated with the competencies specified by accrediting agencies and employers, and tools used by universities for assessing learning outcomes pertinent to public policy and management. See links on left navigation bar.

Accrediting bodies often require educational institutions to express the competencies they are aiming to provide students in the form of learning outcomes, and to demonstrate how the learning outcomes are evaluated. For example, see the five NASPAA Domains of Universal Required Competencies (Standard 5.1) and examples of competencies in Annex B of the Self Study Instructions, pages 69-71.

Although student learning in some topics can be adequately evaluated through traditional "pencil and paper" examinations, for other topics it is preferable to evaluate student learning by assessing the results of a course assignment using a grading rubric. For a review of the application of rubrics, see the 2006 On-line Guide prepared by University of Colorado, Denver and Cornell University's Using Rubrics. Interesting examples of rubrics for complex learning outcomes are Washington State University’s 2006 Guide to Rating Critical and Integrative Thinking and Carnegie Mellon’s Rubrics for oral presentations and projects. 

Also worth noting is that all courses listed in Handbook for the University of Melbourne School of Government (and those of other departments as well) have sections on Learning Outcomes and on Assessment. See individual course links on University of Melbourne, MPPM Course Map.

 Key Concepts in Learning Outcomes and Assessment

  Developing Learning Outcomes: A Guide for University of Toronto Faculty (CTSI, Toronto)
  Content, Skills, Values (CTSI, Toronto)
  Characteristics of Good Learning Outcomes (CTSI, Toronto)
  Examples of Learning Outcomes (CTSI, Toronto)

 Recent Articles

  Liu, Q. (2015). Outcomes-Based Education Initiatives in Ontario Postsecondary Education: Case Studies. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
  Lennon, M. C., Frank, B., Humphreys, J., Lenton, R., Madsen, K., Omri, A., & Turner, R. (2014). Tuning: Identifying and Measuring Sector-Based Learning Outcomes in Postsecondary Education. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.

 Assessment Resources

  Classroom Assessment Techniques (CELT, Iowa State)
  How to Assess Students’ Learning and Performance (Eberly Center, Carnegie Mellon)
  Tool Kit from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment
  Rubric Bank (University of Hawaii, Manoa)
  Developing Learning Outcomes: A Guide for Faculty (Shorter version) (CTSI, Toronto)

Important Notices
© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance