/ Frost Center for Data and Research

Common Learning Outcomes

The curriculum is designed to fulfill four common learning outcomes for any student who graduates from Hope College.

These outcomes align to our philosophy of education and the Hope College Mission. Student attainment of these outcomes is primarily assessed with institutional surveys and direct measures of student learning. The Common Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan identifies the measures used, frequency of assessment and review of assessment results for each learning outcome.

Outcome OneThe ability to understand, communicate, and critically appraise differing ways of knowing
In addition to demonstrating a mastery of a fundamental body of information, all Hope graduates should possess the ability to examine, evaluate, understand, use effectively and communicate knowledge. Knowledge, in this case, encompasses discursive thought, sensory experience and such symbolic languages as mathematics and the perceptual image. These modes of knowing constitute tools or processes which teach students how to learn. The student should be able to make critical judgments: to discern assumptions and premises; to examine and evaluate arguments, generalizations, hypotheses and methods; to identify biases and contradictions; to assess the validity of conclusions drawn from information and assumptions; and to recognize and make appropriate distinctions among aesthetic experiences and responses. The achievement of this objective requires that the students demonstrate fundamental skills in clear and persuasive written and oral communication; sensitive and critical reading, listening and viewing; precise perception; application of mathematical principles and procedures; and use of research facilities and library resources.
Outcome TwoA broadened awareness and heightened sensitivity through direct experience with aesthetic, historical, theoretical, technological, cultural, and religious perspectives
Through direct experience with a variety of aesthetic, historical, theoretical, technological, cultural and religious perspectives, the students’ awareness and sensitivity should become increasingly broader and deeper as well as coherent. Experiences with various forms of artistic exploration and expression should heighten their aesthetic awareness and appreciation for symbolic modes of communication. An understanding of the achievements and failures of the past should deepen their critical appreciation of contemporary society. Exposure to scientific modes of inquiry should enhance their understanding of the natural world and the role of human beings in that world. Knowledge of various disciplinary methodologies should sharpen their understanding of the relationship between means of inquiry and the nature of the results obtained. An understanding of modern technologies should provide them with a practical appreciation of their usefulness and the ability to distinguish between their appropriate use and their potential misuse. Experience in the varied means of human communication – linguistic and artistic, denotative and symbolic – should further their understanding of both the human individual and human culture. Cross-cultural experiences and acquaintance with current affairs should lead to their heightened awareness of and sensitivity to gender issues, American minority and world cultures, international viewpoints and the variety of issues calling for social justice. Experience with and knowledge of systems of belief should provide them with an understanding of historical Christianity and with the roles of religion in the world.
Outcome ThreeThe ability to engage in intensive study in an academic discipline or within an interdisciplinary program
Sustained, orderly exploration of an academic discipline or within an interdisciplinary program, commonly referred to as a "major," should contribute not only to the development of the students’ power of understanding, but also to a broadening of their intellectual concerns. Through intensive study, the students are exposed to the major discoveries and the most significant thought in the field, to sound methodological and technical procedures and to the contributions of the discipline to humankind's fund of knowledge. Through internship or other forms of experiential learning, the students become familiar with current practices and challenges in the field. In these ways, the students should experience what it means to be active and creative members of their discipline.
Outcome FourA sense of interrelatedness of knowledge, experience, and responsibility
An understanding of different value systems and an awareness of interpretive pluralism in all disciplines should characterize the students’ educational growth. At the same time, as the students become increasingly aware of the interdependent aspects of human experience and knowledge, they are encouraged to develop and to articulate a personal philosophy of life which will provide meaning and coherence in their learning, experiencing and decision-making. In particular, the students should understand how such a philosophy of life can be informed by a Christian world-view and its implications regarding the nature and use of thought, knowledge, skills, work and leisure. From within the context of their own discipline and personal philosophy of life, the students should remain open to the totality of human experience, seeking always an integration that leads to a responsible, purposeful and fulfilling life.