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What is an outcome?

Define what students are expected to learn and redesign the system to make sure they have maximum opportunity to learn it.  (Outcome Based Education: Critical Issues and Answers)

The student appreciates …..    The student will understand …..   The student will value…..

Are these outcome statements?   I would like to give an extensive quote from the book linked above.  Page 12 and following.

quote

  1. What exactly are outcomes?

Outcomes are clear learning results that we want students to demonstrate at the end of significant learning experiences. They are not values, beliefs, attitudes, or psychological states of mind. Instead, outcomes are what learners can actually do with what they know and have learned — they are the tangible application of what has been learned. This means that outcomes are actions and performances that embody and reflect learner competence in using content, information, ideas, and tools successfully. Having learners do important things with what they know is a major step beyond knowing itself.

Because outcomes involve actual doing, rather than just knowing or a variety of other purely mental processes, they must be defined according to the actions or demonstration processes being sought. When defining and developing outcomes, educators must use observable action verbs — like describe, explain, design, or produce — rather than vague or hidden non-demonstration processes — like know, understand, believe, and think.

For example, the possible outcome “explain the major causes of inflation in capitalist economies” implies that to be successful the learner will be expected to develop both the competence of explaining and the knowledge of the major causes of inflation in capitalist economies.

Since outcome-based systems expect learners to carry out the processes defined within an outcome statement, they are careful to build those processes directly into the outcome through demonstration verbs. Therefore, one key to recognizing a well-defined outcome is to look for the demonstration verb or verbs that define which processes the learner is expected to carry out at the end. Without Those verbs, what are called outcome statements lack a clearly defined demonstration process, and without that defined process the outcome statement takes on the character of a goal rather than a true outcome demonstration.

Finally, because outcomes occur at or after the end of a learning experience, it is useful to think of them representing the ultimate result that is sought from the learning. When the notion of an ultimate result is applied to the end of the student’s career in school, rather than to particular segments of curriculum or blocks of time, OBF often uses the term “Exit Outcome.” As we will see illustrated in Chapters 3 and 5, most exit outcomes are defined as broad performance capabilities, rather than as specific curriculum skills. This gives all of the district’s students and staff an ultimate target toward which they can focus and orient their teaching and learning experiences. Specific curriculum knowledge and skills are developed from and around the exit outcomes and directly help students develop those broad performance abilities.

  1. Are there any examples of outcome-based models?

The world is filled with examples of outcome-based models, and some of the more common ones are listed in Figure 1.1.

Outcome-based systems go back at least 500 years to the craft guilds of the Middle Ages in Europe. Over the centuries, these guilds evolved into various forms of apprenticeship training models, and they have been institutionalized as the way to design, deliver, and document instruction throughout today’s business world.

Some contemporary examples of outcome-based models include technical training programs in the military*, flight schools, ski schools, karate instruction, scuba instruction, and any other area of learning where clearly defined competence and performance are essential to carrying out a role effectively.

Other clear examples of performance credentialing are professional licensure of doctors, lawyers, real estate brokers, and cosmetologists, as well as merit and honor badges for Boy and Girl Scouts. Figure 1.1 also lists other examples familiar to millions of older Americans: one-room schoolhouses and parenting. Notice the only contemporary public schooling example is alternative high schools, but this picture is changing as more and more schools and districts initiate OBF, efforts.

While many of these examples differ considerably in terms of their operational features, they do share two key things. First, each model is focused on a clearly defined performance result for learners that is not compromised. Second, in each example WHAT and WHETHER students learn successfully is more important than WHEN’ and HOW they learn it. In short, as noted in the previous answer, successful learning results are more important to instructors in outcome-based models than the schedule they follow or the methods they use.

  1. If outcome-based models are so prevalent outside of education, why don’t more schools use them?

Part of this answer is historical. About a century ago, America’s economy and society were in the midst of a profound change known today as the shift from the Agricultural Age to the Industrial Age. Large-scale immigration and urbanization accompanied this change. Public education also had to be expanded and institutionalized. The template for this new education system had many characteristics of the assembly-line factor)- — at the time considered the most advanced form of productive organization ever developed. Just as factories standardize their production processes around specific tasks at specific work stations on fixed schedules, schools have been compelled, often through law and accreditation procedures, to standardize their delivery systems.

The result of this standardization is the opposite of what outcome-based education promotes. In the Industrial Age model, WHEN and HOW students learn things too often take precedence over WHAT is learned and WHETHER it is learned well. In other words, the clock, schedule, calendar, and program characteristics are fixed, predefined, and unwavering. Yet, the definition and realization of student learning success are vague and highly variable.

However, some types of program > in the present system do focus on clear performance expectations for students, which they teach and assess accordingly. Vocational/technical, business, and performing arts programs are among them. But note that these programs lie outside what is usually considered the system’s most important programs: its core academic curriculum. Academic programs have typically embodied very little of OBEs basic approaches to curriculum design, instructional delivery and learning assessment.

  1. How exactly is being “outcome-based” different from what schools have always done?

When lists of characteristics describe how traditional education systems differ from outcome-based systems, the main differences fall into four key areas:

  • Outcome-based systems build everything on a clearly defined framework of exit outcomes. Curriculum, instructional strategies, assessments, and performance standards are developed and implemented to facilitate key outcomes. In QBE, curriculum, instruction, and assessment should be viewed as flexible and alterable means for accomplishing clearly defined learning “ends.”

In contrast, traditional systems already have a largely predefined curriculum structure with an assessment and credentialing system in place. They usually are not structured around clearly defined outcomes expected of all students. By and large, curriculum and assessment systems are treated as ends in themselves.

  • Time in an outcome-based system is used as an alterable resource, depending on the needs of teachers and students. Within reasonable constraints, time is manipulated to the best advantage of all learners — some students learn some parts of the curriculum sooner, while others accomplish those parts later.

In the traditional system, just the opposite is true. Time defines most system features; it is an inflexible constraint for teachers and students. The schedule and the calendar control student learning and success.

  • In an outcome-based system, standards are clearly defined, known, and “criterion-based” for all students.

As in the Girl and Boy Scouts, all students potentially are eligible to reach and receive full credit for achieving any performance standard in the system. There are no quotas on who can be successful or on what standards can be pursued.

In contrast, the traditional system operates around a comparative/competitive approach to standards linked to a predetermined “curve” or quota of possible successes. Only some students are destined to do well, and only some get access to the most challenging areas of the curriculum. This process of sorting and selecting begins very early in the school years and evolves into an inflexible system of curriculum tracking by high school.

Outcome-based systems focus on increasing students’ learning and ultimate performance abilities to the highest possible levels before they leave school. In other words, OBK schools take a “macro” view of student learning and achievement. Mistakes are treated as inevitable steps along the way to having students develop, internalize, and demonstrate high-level performance capabilities. Working to continuously improve student learning before graduation, outcome-based systems define student achievement, as the highest level of performance a student has been able to reach at any given point in time. Ultimate school achievement is directly reflected in what students can do successfully at or after their formal instructional experiences have ended.

The current system takes quite the opposite approach, testing and permanently grading students every step of the way on all segments of the curriculum. All mistakes become part of a permanent record, which accumulates and constantly reminds students of past errors. The system emphasizes and rewards students for how well they do assigned work at the time it is initially covered in class. Those who are fast and consistent performers emerge with the best grades and records. Those who are slower never get the opportunity to truly catch up because their record of earlier mistakes cannot be erased.

But what is almost never assessed or documented is what either kind of student ultimately can do successfully to match this accumulation of grades.

end quote

Please notice that last statement!

But what is almost never assessed or documented is what either kind of student ultimately can do successfully to match this accumulation of grades.

2 Comments

  1. Marilyn Riddlebarger says:

    Second to last paragraph above change …even step of the way, to..every step…
    …student for bow well… to..how well…

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