We all know that writing outcomes for courses and even individual lessons can be daunting. One of the problems is simply writing a sentence and using a good verb! We all want our objectives/outcomes to be measurable, and choosing the right verb is what determines how an outcome will be measured.
If you write (A successful student will…):
Use verbs correctly.
What does “use” mean? Will the student be writing? Making an oral presentation? Brainstorming? A better verb might be:
Correct verbs within a paragraph.
Write a plot outline with correct verbs.
Then, when it’s time to assess the students, faculty will be able to look at observable proof. Perhaps: what a student wrote (did the correct the verbs within the paragraph? Were the verbs in their plot outline correct?) and match up assessment activities with objectives.
Another trick with objectives is just what the previous paragraph says – match up assessments to the outcomes. And again, it all comes down to the verbs.
If your outcome says: Add two-digit numbers successfully.
But your assessment is: Write about the invention of addition by the Summarians.
The assessment is not measuring the outcome. Doh!
So where am I going with all this…
Verbs used in outcomes are important and should be selected carefully. Avoid vague terms such as “use” or “know”. How would you measure if someone “knows how to graph a math equation”? Rather, these verbs below might be helpful (and this is *not* meant to be a comprehensive list of verbs):
|The Helpful Hundred – Planning for Instruction|
|Smaldino, Lowther, and Russell (2008) suggest 100 verbs that highlight performance. Each of these verbs is observable and measurable, making them work quite well in writing objectives for learning. This is not to say that these 100 verbs are the only ones are can be used effectively; however, they provide a great reference.|
|Source: Smaldino, S. E., Lowther, D. L., & Russell, J. D. (2008). Instructional Media and Technologies for Learning (9th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.|