Programmatic Student Learning Outcomes

While the TAL instructional program is not credit-bearing with full-time equivalent students (FTES), the department does have shared student learning outcomes (SLOs) for various aspects of our activities. All TAL faculty participate in the first year experience curriculum and provide general reference/research help. These areas most clearly lend themselves to shared learning outcomes.

Subject specialist library faculty are responsible for partnering with particular academic programs to provide students with learning experiences focused on inquiry, research, and curiosity. There is more variability here in terms of learning outcomes. Subject specialists can use departments’ shared SLOs as a framework for their subject specific work. In addition, library faculty have worked with college faculty on drafting and revising SLOs related to information literacy, critical thinking, and other major learning outcomes. These partnerships have resulted in not only learning experiences and materials but also assessment efforts within majors.

Drafting learning outcomes that are applicable to all aspects of TAL is especially challenging since the curriculum exists out of the typical boundaries of credit-bearing, degree granting programs. However, TAL’s focus on developing the student-scholar as both an information consumer and knowledge producer indicates that the primary focus is not merely the development of research skills or information literacy. Instead, research skills and information literacy are the manifestation of the habits of mind, dispositions, and approaches of a student-scholar. With this in mind, TAL’s learning outcomes are divided into two categories: the development of the student-scholar (and beyond the academy, the lifelong learner) and the skills and abilities needed to use and create information.


Becoming a student scholar/engaged community member

As a result of learning experiences from TAL faculty, CSUSM graduates will have the dispositions and habits of mind of engaged members of their regional and global community. They will:

  • Demonstrate engagement in the scholarly process

  • Display characteristics of a student-scholar identity

  • Describe actions of a lifelong learners



Above Standard

Meets standard

Approaching standard


Engagement in the scholarly process

Pursues scholarly inquiry as an engaged actor in the scholarly process

Participates in the scholarly inquiry process

Articulates the variations of the scholarly inquiry process

Describes common steps in the scholarly inquiry process

Student-scholar identity

Values role as participant in knowledge creation as student-scholar

Participates in knowledge creation as student-scholar

Articulates the characteristics of the student-scholar.


May demonstrate characteristics of student-scholar.

Demonstrates awareness of student-scholar as user and creator of knowledge

Dispositions and habits of mind as student-scholar

Consistently approaches inquiry as a student-scholar


Critical user of information as well as knowledge creator.

Inconsistently demonstrates a variety of characteristics of student-scholars

Describes a variety of dispositions/ habits of mind of student-scholars.


Awareness of dispositions/ habits of mind of students-scholars

(e.g. research doesn’t happen in one sitting)


Information use and creation

As a result of the learning experiences from TAL faculty, CSUSM graduates will:

  • Identify issues, perspectives, or problems clearly and in multiple contexts.

  • Distinguish between relevant/credible sources, ideas, and information.

  • Analyze and consider multiple points of view, perspectives, or solutions with a comparative approach.

  • Formulate clear and well-stated plans, solutions, or outcomes using logical conclusions.

  • Act ethically when using information.



Above standard

Meets standard

Approaching standard



Clear method of distinguishing between fact/opinion and credible/relevant


Sophisticated understanding of multiple perspectives

Distinguishes between fact and opinion


Evaluates sources/ideas as credible/relevant


Recognizes multiple perspectives

Recognizes fact and opinion as categories


Awareness of multiple perspectives


Limited ability to distinguish fact from opinion


Limited understanding of credible/relevant sources/ideas


Unable to recognize multiple perspectives


Articulates sophisticated arguments, plans, or solutions using inductive/deductive reasoning skills and methods

Articulates logical arguments, plans, or solutions using inductive and/or deductive reasoning skills and clear method(s)

Articulates possible arguments, plans, or solutions with imprecise reasoning

Articulates possible arguments, plans, or solutions with little or not logical approach


Provides logical conclusions/finished ideas informed by a full range of evidence from multiple and suitable sources


Reasoning reflects complexity and avoids fallacies

Provides logical conclusions/ finished ideas informed by multiple sources


Avoids fallacious reasoning

Provides logical conclusions/ finished ideas that are loosely tied to evidence from sources of varying credibility


Demonstrates some fallacious reasoning

Provides logical conclusions/ finished ideas that are not tied to evidence


Limited range of evidence/sources


Demonstrates fallacious reasoning


Provides appropriate attribution of information

Appropriately attributes information sources, but with some inconsistencies

Provides attribution of some information sources in some instances

Provides minimal attribution of information sources


A sample of research published by TAL librarians on assessment in academic libraries is below.

Sonntag, G. and Meulemans, Y.N.  (2004). “Planning for assessment.” In B. Avery (Ed.) Assessing Student Learning Outcomes for Information Literacy Instruction in Academic Institutions. Chicago, IL: American Library Association Publishers.