Learning and Teaching Academic Standards: Threshold Learning Outcomes in Science

Luby Simson invited Brian Yates and Jo Kelder to the University of Canberra to host a workshop on the Learning and Teaching Academic Standards (LTAS) Science Project.

Brian and Jo presented Threshold Learning Outcome (TLO) statements and sought feedback and comments from the Faculty of Applied Science community at the University.

Brian noted in his introduction that:

  • The LTAS Project aims to define Threshold (or minimum) Learning Outcomes (TLOs) for disciplines or programs of study in higher education.
  • Learning outcomes are clear statements of what a graduate is expected to know, understand and be able to do as a result of learning (Australian Qualifications Framework).
  • All recent graduates of a given discipline are expected to meet these TLOs. However, recognising diversity across the sector, institutions may specify additional TLOs that reflect the particular characteristics of their degree programs.

The workshop discussed these TLOs:

The second part of the workshop explored how these TLOs might be assessed. The workshop attendees discussed mapping and constructive alignment in relation to these items.

I valued enormously the opportunity to participate in this workshop. It refocussed my interest in the philosophy of science, constructivist (George Kelly) approaches to understanding ‘the person as scientist’ (see Postscript below) and the didactic potential of using first principles to fuel learners’ passions for science.

This is a copy of Brian’s presentation 2011LTAS Workshop Presentation.

Other useful links are:

Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Home Page

Draft Science Standards Statement (December 2010)

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Postscript

Kenny (1984) observes that:

Kelly’s preferred image of the person was to see him as a scientist, by which he meant that it is not only the professional scientist who wants to predict and control the universe, but that every human person has a similar aspiration. From this point of view everyone is involved in seeking to predict and control the flow of events in which they are involved. Each person has expectations, anticipations, hypotheses to test and experiments to conduct. The individual differences that we find between alternative personal viewpoints are the type of differences which are to be found in the theoretical disagreements among scientists, and it is these differences which lead us to attempt different experimental enterprises.

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