Learning and Development Outcomes

The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) promotes standards to enhance opportunities for student learning and development from higher education programs and services. Responding to the increased shift in attention being paid by educators and their stakeholders from higher education inputs (i.e., standards and benchmarks) to the outcomes of students attending higher education, in 2003 CAS articulated sixteen domains of learning outcomes. However, in 2008 after the publication of Learning Reconsidered 2 (2006), CAS reviewed the learning outcomes it had promoted and decided an integration of both learning outcome documents would enhance the profession’s efforts in promoting student learning and development. Consequently, CAS hosted a “think tank” involving writers of Learning Reconsidered 2, CAS directors, and prominent practitioners and faculty members in student affairs to make recommendations for a revised learning outcomes document.

Upon recommendations of the think tank, CAS revised the student learning and development outcomes into six broad categories (called domains):

  1. Knowledge acquisition, construction, integration and application
  2. Cognitive complexity
  3. Intrapersonal development
  4. Interpersonal competence
  5. Humanitarianism and civic engagement
  6. Practical competence

To comply with CAS standards, institutional programs and services must identify relevant and desirable learning from these domains, assess relevant and desirable learning, and articulate how their programs and services contribute to domains not specifically assessed. For each of the domains, CAS offers examples illustrating achievement of the student learning outcomes.

This learning outcomes model further defines or clarifies each of the six domains by identifying learning outcome dimensions. Offering dimensions of learning within corresponding domains allows for amore focused assessment approach based on institutional mission and priorities. The revised CAS learning outcomes document heightens the differentiation of interpersonal competence and interpersonal development (though certainly the two influence each other), highlights the integration of humanitarianism and civic engagement, and adds the dimensions of global perspective and technological competence to important learning outcomes.

The CAS Board of Directors reviewed and approved the six domains, learning outcome dimensions, and examples of learning and development outcomes at its October 2008 meeting. The domains and learning outcome dimensions are be embedded in each functional area standard.

Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (2009). CAS learning and development outcomes. In L. A. Dean (Ed.), CAS professional standards for higher education (7th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Download the CAS Learning and Development Outcomes