eLumen: What are ISLOs, PSLOs and CSLOs?

Article Type: General Information


  • What are Institutional Student Learning Outcomes (ISLOs), Program Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs ), and Course Student Learning Outcomes (CSLOs)?


  • A Student Learning Outcome (SLO) is a succinct statement of an educational goal that students are expected to demonstrate during their time in college. SLOs are scored through student assessments and the student performance is improved through a program improvement process that incorporates multiple data points.


Accreditation agencies introduced Student Learning Outcomes at the turn of the last century as a way to bridge internal academic practices and external expectations for clear information about what students and graduates know and can do. Assessment of well written SLOs provide:

  • A statement of the learning opportunities of a given course or program
  • Data on how to improve instructional programs
  • The transferable skills, knowledge, and attitudes of a student

Institutional Student Learning Outcomes (ISLOs)

  • At the institutional level, student learning outcomes can provide a statement of the educational mission of the school or the general education outcomes that all students will acquire regardless of what major, concentration, degree, certificate, or other outcomes at Metropolitan State.
  • ISLOs are student learning outcomes designed for the institution as a whole. These are broadly-defined achievements expected of all students in all disciplines at a school. ISLOs can be grouped into classes, to support multiple institutional missions (CTE, Gen Ed) as well as to provide multiple models of assessment (VALUE Rubrics, for instance, in addition to ISLOs). 

Program Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs)

  • A Program Student Learning Outcome addresses the outcomes of a certificate or degree, the mission, and values of a department, or the requirements of a professional standards body or program accreditor.   

Course Student Learning Outcomes (CSLOs)

  • A Course Student Learning Outcome defines the transferable knowledge, skills, and attitudes a student should gain from a single course.