Learning Outcome Types and Recommended Assessment Methods

The assessment method one chooses is driven by the thinking skills articulated in the learning outcome to be measured. Depending on whether the assessment is formative or summative, consider how students will receive feedback on their work and what they respond to or incorporate this feedback.

Click on specific assessment methods below to reveal recommended learning technologies that could facilitate such assessments.

The learning outcome types are in order from lower-level thinking (Recall, Understanding) to higher-level thinking (Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, Create).

Learning Outcomes Types and Assessment Methods

Learning Outcome Type1 Definition Action Words for Outcomes Discussion Questions Best Practices Assessment Methods
Recall Retrieve, recall, or recognize knowledge from long-term memory
  • Define
  • Describe
  • Identify
  • Label
  • List
  • Locate
  • Match
  • Name
  • Recall
  • Select
  • State

What do we already know about...?

What did you notice about...?

What are the principles of ...?

How does...tie in with what we learned before?

  • Allow multiple attempts (reiteration)
  • Interleaving
Understand Demonstrate comprehension through one or more forms of explanation
  • Articulate
  • Classify
  • Contrast
  • Clarify
  • Demonstrate
  • Describe
  • Discuss
  • Explain
  • Infer
  • Extend
  • Interpret
  • Paraphrase
  • Summarize

Summarize...or Explain...

What will happen if...?

What does...mean?

How might you demonstrate...?

  • Explicitly share the organization of activities
  • Structure opportunities to connect new learning to prior knowledge and/or lived experience
Apply Use information or skill in a new situation
  • Apply
  • Calculate
  • Change
  • Choose
  • Construct
  • Discover
  • Experiment
  • Illustrate
  • Manipulate
  • Modify
  • Predict
  • Solve
  • Use

What would happen if...?

What is a new example of ...?

How could...be used to...?

What is the counterargument for...?

What would you have done in this situation? What do you think they should do?

How does ....play out in this context?

  • Use rubrics to offer incremental feedback on projects
Analyze Break material into its constituent parts and determine how the parts relate to one another
  • Analyze
  • Appraise
  • Categorize
  • Compare
  • Contrast
  • Debate
  • Diagram
  • Differentiate
  • Examine
  • Experiment
  • Organize

Why is ... important?

What might...have in common?

How are they different?

What are the implications of...?

Explain why / explain how?

  • Scaffold complex tasks 
  • Make evaluative criteria explicit
Make judgments based on criteria and standards
  • Appraise
  • Assess
  • Compare
  • Contrast
  • Critique
  • Defend
  • Determine
  • Discriminate
  • Estimate
  • Explain
  • Interpret
  • Measure
  • Predict
  • Summarize
  • Support

How does ...affect ...?

Why is...happening?

What is the best...and why?

Do you agree or disagree with the statement...? What evidence is there to support your answer?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of...?

What is the nature of...?

  • Design rubric for peer feedback and evaluation and self-evaluation
Put elements together to form a new coherent or functional whole; reorganize elements into a new pattern or structure
  • Animate
  • Arrange
  • Create
  • Construct
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Devise
  • Formulate
  • Generate
  • Modify
  • Outline
  • Produce
  • Reconstruct

What is the solution to the problem of...?

What do you think causes ...?

What is another way to look at...?

  • Offer several, varied exemplars to model and inspire
  • Make explicit criteria for the provision of reflection on/rationale for creative choices

1 Learning outcome types are pulled from  Bloom's Taxonomy.