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Designing Course Assessment Requirements

Course Assessment Requirements: “Constructive alignment”
"Students learn what they think that they will be assessed on, not what is in the curriculum”.  - J. Biggs (2002)

Following the logic of “constructive alignment”, the assessment requirement and its criteria should align with your course learning outcomes and the instructional practices you use.   Are you evaluating what you have told students they will learn?
What message/s does your present grading scheme send to students about learning priorities?

•    Revisit the student learning outcomes for your course.  What can students do to demonstrate that learning? Individually? Or in a group? How can you (or the individual student, or peers) grade that learning? 
•    Utilize both low and high stakes grading: online quizzes are ideal for low-stakes grading; high stakes grading, such as highly-weighted final exams, requires more security and proctoring

What grading criteria will you use?
Specifying grading criteria for an assignment can assist students in preparing a better outcome (paper, project, assignment).  By transferring those criteria into a grading rubric, you will
-    create a clearer task description, 
-    reduce time explaining the assignment and answering questions about it
-    reduce the time spent grading, and
-    give students more precise feedback, by returning a copy of the rubric with the evaluator’s comments to the student with the piece of work.

Want to discuss this further? Instructional Developments’ Consultants, Dr Kim DeBacco and Dr Lisa Berry are also available to discuss your assessment design practices.

Biggs, J. (2002). Aligning the Curriculum to Promote Good Learning. Constructive Alignment in Action: Imaginative Curriculum Symposium, LTSN Generic Centre.


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