Higher Education

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 531–549 | Cite as

Using the SOLO taxonomy to analyze competence progression of university science curricula

  • Claus Brabrand
  • Bettina DahlEmail author


During 2007 all Danish university curricula were reformulated to explicitly state course objectives due to the adoption of a new Danish national grading scale which stipulated that grades were to be given based on how well students meet explicit course objectives. The Faculties of Science at University of Aarhus and University of Southern Denmark interpreted “course objectives” as “intended learning outcomes” (ILO) and systematically formulated all such as competencies using the SOLO taxonomy that operates with five numbered progressive levels of competencies. We investigate how the formulation of ILOs using the SOLO taxonomy gives information about competence progression, educational traditions, and the nature of various science subjects. We use all the course curricula (in total 632) from the two faculties to analyze and compare undergraduate and graduate courses within each department, and different departments with each other.


Grade scale Intended learning outcomes Competences Progression Curricula SOLO taxonomy 



The authors would very much like to thank Anne Mette Mørcke, Berit Eika, Gitte Wichmann-Hansen, John Biggs, and Catherine Tang for providing extensive and valuable feedback on our SOLO-classification of verbs. Also, thanks to Torben K. Jensen for interesting discussions about our analysis. Finally we also want to thank Gunnar Handal, Henrik Stetkær, and Jens Carsten Jantzen for various help and comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IT University of CopenhagenCopenhagen SDenmark
  2. 2.Steno Department for Studies of Science and Science EducationUniversity of AarhusAarhus CDenmark

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