Center for Instructional

Innovation and Assessment

2007

2008

Learning Outcomes | Definition | Course Outcomes |
---|---|---|

Identification | Accurately identifies and interprets evidence. | I assign four small projects where students use real data to examine a hydrologic question (e.g., precipitation variability in the watershed). Students analyze the data, interpret the results, and summarize everything in a scientific report. The inquiry experience and report writing allows students to practice and understand the core concepts of the scientific process. |

Alternative Consideration | Considers major alternative points of view. | Through writing projects students offer explanations for the patterns they observe in the data. |

Accurate Conclusions | Draws warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions. | Each student draws conclusions about their interpretations and how the process in question (e.g., evaptranspiration) affects the timing and magnitude of streamflow in the watershed. The process helps them validate the theory that they learn during lectures. |

Justification | Justifies key results and procedures, and explains assumptions and reasons. | Students justify the results of their analyses and conclusions by revealing their thinking and understanding in writing. If students do not fully understand a concept, it will become apparent in their writing. |

**Source**: Adapted from the California Academic Press's Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric (HCTSR).

Learning Outcomes | Definition | Course Outcomes |
---|---|---|

Identifying Need | Recognizes and articulates the need for information, identifies potential sources, considers the costs and benefits, and reevaluates the nature and extent of the information need. | The analysis of hydrologic processes in a watershed requires digital spatial data and meteorological data that students access through web-based archives supported by government agencies such as NOAA, USDA, and the USGS, and universities. |

Search Strategies | Considers major alternative points of view. | Through writing projects students offer explanations for the patterns they observe in the data. |

Evaluating | Draws warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions. | Each student draws conclusions about their interpretations and how the process in question (e.g., evaptranspiration) affects the timing and magnitude of streamflow in the watershed. The process helps them validate the theory that they learn during lectures. |

Synthesis | Justifies key results and procedures, and explains assumptions and reasons. | Students justify the results of their analyses and conclusions by revealing their thinking and understanding in writing. If students do not fully understand a concept, it will become apparent in their writing. |

Responsibility | Accurately identifies and interprets evidence. | I assign four small projects where students use real data to examine a hydrologic question (e.g., precipitation variability in the watershed). Students analyze the data, interpret the results, and summarize everything in a scientific report. The inquiry experience and report writing allows students to practice and understand the core concepts of the scientific process. |

**Source**: Adapted from the Association of College and Research Libraries' Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.

Learning Outcomes | Definition | Course Outcomes |
---|---|---|

Mathematical Information | Represent mathematical information symbolically, visually, numerically, and verbally. | The science of hydrology involves physical principles that are quantified with mathematical formulations. Hydrologic data display spatial and temporal patterns that are analyzed with statistical techniques. |

Mathematical Methods | Use arithmetical, algebraic, geometric, and statistical methods to solve problems. | Students apply algebraic and trigonometric expressions, graphs, derivatives, integration, and to a small degree, differential equations to analyze hydrologic processes. Statistical and frequency analysis techniques are used to examine time series data sets. |

Mathmatical Models | Interpret mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables, and schematics, and draw inferences from them. | Students simulate and predict hydrologic outcomes using mathematical models of hydrologic processes. Students code some of the models themselves using Excel or ArcGIS software, or in certain cases apply "canned" software. They also analyze and interpret data by creating graphs and tables of data. |

Estimate and Check | Estimate and check answers to mathematical problems in order to determine reasonableness, identify alternatives, and select optimal results. | Students use mathematical models to explore the relative sensitivity of variables on hydrologic processes and analyze the physical reasonableness of model outputs. |

Mathematical and Statistical Limits | Recognize that mathematical and statistical methods have limits. | Students compare results from generalized empirical models to more complex physically-based models to determine the limitations and potential weaknesses of simplified models. Students also learn that model accuracy is inherently correlated to the quality of the input data; hence they develop an appreciation for error propagation when modeling natural systems. |

**Source**: Based on the Mathematical Association of America's quantitative literacy requirements for all students who receive a bachelor's degree.

Learning Outcomes | Definition | Course Outcomes |
---|---|---|

Rhetorical Knowledge | Focuses on a clear rhetorical purpose and responds appropriately to the needs of varied audiences and situations. | Students examine hydrologic problems that are summarized in a technical report having Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion sections. Although the reports have different topics, each report follows the same scientific paper organizational format, so through repetition and feedback the students learn how to write the elements of a scientific report. |

Critical Analysis | Develops, examines, situates, and communicates a reasoned perspective clearly to others. | Writing technical reports forces students to communicate their thinking in words. As students advance from project-to-project, they will discover that learning the science is highly correlated to their ability to express their thinking in writing. |

Composing Processes | Understands writing as a recursive process that involves drafting, re-thinking, editing, reconceptualizing. | I restrict the text of student reports to two pages to make the writing/revision process easier for me. Instead of one long term paper, these small reports are graded efficiently and returned to students so that they can apply lessons learned to their next project report. I read each report and offer comments using a writing template as a guide. |

Convention Knowledge | Uses appropriate conventions for documentation and for surface features such as syntax, grammar, usage, punctuation, and spelling. | By using a writing template and through revision feedback, students learn the more mechanical things that define good scientific writing, such as using appropriate technical jargon, grammar, and developing figures and tables. I restrict the text of student reports to two pages to encourage students to write in a clear and concise style because technical writing is typically read and assimilated quickly. |

**Source**:

Adapted from Western Washington University's Learning Outcomes for Writing II.