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Program Student Learning Outcomes

PLOs are statements (typically four or fewer) that summarize the result of successful completion of a sequence of courses or series of activities. NVC analyzes student success on program outcomes so that we can utilize that information to identify what works well and improve what doesn't.  The analysis of data to improve programs and services provides opportunities for collegial dialogue and collaboration.

PLOs are created by discipline faculty and appear in the college catalog.

When developing Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) remember:

  • PLOs should provide comprehensive but broad statements about what a student will be able to do, know, perform, think, or demonstrate as a result of successful completion of a sequence of courses or series of activities.

  • When developing PLOs, think beyond your classroom and consider the skills your students will need to be successful in their academic or professional next steps.

  • There is not a mandated number of PLOs for programs. Faculty should develop as many or as few as the program requires.


Course alignment maps are used to determine which courses have content that meet each of the program-level outcomes. This allows faculty to develop a holistic picture of how every course in the curriculum fits with other courses and with program goals for student learning. 

By identifying courses that have curriculum that support the PLOs, faculty can develop course level outcomes and then develop broader, program level outcomes. Conversely, faculty can develop outcomes statements for each course that aligns with the PLO.


Departments determine how program-level outcomes align with certificates and majors to ensure that regular assessment of student progress toward achievement occurs at all levels. 

Example: Hospitality


By using the results from PLO assessment, programs can implement changes directed at improving student learning.

PLO Assessment Methods:

  • Exit survey or exam

  • Focus Group

  • Evaluate a Culminating Performance or Portfolio

  • Evaluate a Capstone Course

  • Tabulate the percentage of students who pass their boards/industry certifications.

  • "Upward Assessment": CLO to PLO maps can be utilized to generate reports that show relevant course level assessment results, identify patterns, and draw conclusions regarding the central question asked by program level assessment. Faculty analyze and discuss the report, then record important findings.

Examples of Program-Level Assessment Results: