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Aligning Course Assessment with Learning Objectives through the

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					ALIGNING COURSE ASSESSM
WITH LEARNING OBJECTIVE
THROUGH THE USE OF COUR
EVALUATION BLUEPRINTS

        Reaching Potential: Assessment as a
        Transformative Process
        Wilfrid Laurier University April 2010
The most common
question from new faculty
members is….




                            2
What should my grading
   scheme look like?




                         3
 Teaching to the Test
Testing to the Teaching




                          4
MOST COMMON FORM OF BLUEPRINTS
RELATE TO TESTS – TABLES OF
SPECIFICATIONS
IMPORTANT TO ASSURE CONTENT
VALIDITY AND FACE VALIDITY IN
TESTS
BLUEPRINTS ARE BASED ON
MATCHING INSTRUCTIONAL
OBJECTIVES / COURSE CONTENT TO
TEST ITEMS IN CORRECT
PROPORTIONS
           ITEMS ARE IDENTIFIED AS
           BELONGING TO TWO
           CATEGORIES



• Level on Bloom’s Taxonomy of
  Learning (1956)
• Detailed course content topics
             KNOWLEDGE


Knowledge is defined as including those
 behaviours and test situations that
 emphasize the remembering, either by
 recognition or recall, of ideas, material, or
 phenomena. Incorporated at this level is
 knowledge of terminology, specific facts
 (dates, events, persons, etc.), conventions,
 classifications and categories, criteria,
 methods of inquiry, principles and
 generalizations, theories and structures.
        UNDERSTANDING

•   Comprehension
    Understanding refers to responses that represent a
    comprehension of the literal message contained in a
    communication. This means that the student is able to
    translate, interpret or extrapolate. Interpretation involves
    the reordering of ideas (inferences, generalizations, or
    summaries). Extrapolation includes estimating or
    predicting based on an understanding of trends or
    tendencies.


    Application requires the student to apply an appropriate
    abstraction (theory, principle, idea, method) to a new
    situation.
•   Questions at the understanding and application level
    subsume those at the knowledge level.
            HIGHER MENTAL PROCESSES


Included at this thought level are the processes of
analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Analysis involves the ability to recognize unstated
assumptions, to distinguish facts from hypotheses, to
distinguish conclusions from statements that support
them, to recognize which facts or assumptions are
essential to a main thesis or to the argument in
support of that thesis, and to distinguish cause-effect
relationships from other sequential relationships.
 Synthesis involves the production of a unique
communication, the ability to propose ways of testing
hypotheses, the ability to design an experiment, the ability
to formulate and modify hypotheses, and the ability to
make generalizations.
Evaluation is defined as the making of judgments about
the value of ideas, solutions, and methods. It involves the
use of criteria as well as standards for appraising the
extent to which details are accurate, effective, economical,
or satisfying. Evaluation involves the ability to apply given
criteria to judgments of work done, to indicate logical
fallacies in arguments, and to compare major theories and
generalizations.
QUESTIONS AT THE HIGHER MENTAL
PROCESSES LEVEL SUBSUME
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
AND APPLICATION LEVELS.
                DETAILED TABLES OF SPECIFICATION
                (TEST BLUEPRINTS) 
                TYPICALLY ARE DESIGNED BASED ON:



•   the list of course objectives,
•   the topics covered in class,
•   the amount of time spent on those topics,
•   textbook chapter topics,
•   and the emphasis and space provided in the text.

In some cases a great weight will be assigned
 to a concept that is extremely important,
 even if relatively little class time was spent
 on the topic.
How can the use of a Table of Specifications benefit your students,
including those with special needs? 


A Table of Specifications benefits students in two ways. First, it improves 
the validity of teacher-made tests. Second, it can improve student learning 
as well. 

A Table of Specifications helps to ensure that there is a match between what
is taught and what is tested. Classroom assessment should be driven by 
classroom teaching which itself is driven by course goals and objectives. 
In the chain below, Tables of Specifications provide the link between teaching
and testing. 
                 Objectives            Teaching  
           Testing  

Tables of Specifications can help students at all
ability levels learn better.

By providing the table to students during
instruction, students can recognize the main
ideas, key skills, and the relationships among
concepts more easily. The Table of
Specifications can act in the same way as a
concept map to analyze content areas.
           COLLABORATE WITH STUDENTS


Teachers can even collaborate with students
on the construction of the Table of
Specifications- what are the main ideas and
topics, what emphasis should be placed on
each topic, what should be on the test? Open
discussion and negotiation of these issues
can encourage higher levels of
understanding while also modeling good
learning and study skills.
             THREE STEPS ARE INVOLVED
             IN CREATING A TEST
             BLUEPRINT


• choosing the measurement goals and
  domain to be covered,
• breaking the domain into key or fairly
  independent parts- concepts, terms,
  procedures, applications, and
• constructing the table.
                   TABLE OF SPECIFICATIONS

    Table of Specifications (Test Blueprint) is a two-way 
    chart which describes the topics to be covered by a test 
    and the number of items or points which will be 
    associated with each topic. 
    Sometimes the types of items are described, as well. A 
    simple table might look like this: 
                           Quiz 2: Animal Farm



                   Facts About the Book    Characters
                                                        Thematic
                         (e.g. Author,       And
                                                        Elements
                          Influence)        Events

    Number of 
                            2                    5         3
     Questions
                              Unit 1 Exam: Amoeba



Bloom's Taxonomy Cognitive                              Analysis or
                              Knowledge   Application
                                                           Synthesis
                                                                        Total
            Level

Classification                   3                            3        6 (24%)


Structure                        5            3                        8 (32%)


Reproduction                     2                            2        4 (16%)


Medical                          2            2               3        7 (28%)


                     Total 12 (48%)       5 (20%)          8 (32%)       25
                     TEST BLUEPRINT (TABLE OF
                     SPECIFICATIONS)
Learning Objective Levels –
Cognitive Domain
                                        % of representation on test

Subject Matter            % of          Knowledge     Comprehension 
                     representation        only 
                      in the unit of 
                          study
   Nature of              30                15              15
    Electricity
   Ohm’s Law              10                 5              5
 Series Circuits          15                15              10
 Parallel Circuits        15                10              5
 Series-Parallel          30                15              5
      Circuits
                        REAL ESTATE BROKER EXAM

Content                 Knowledge   Comprehension   Application   Total   Percentage


Real Estate Law         16          8               8             32      40%

Real Estate Practices   4           12                            16      20%
                                                     

Financing/              8           8               8             24      30%
    Mortgage Markets


Real Estate Math                                    8             8       10%
                                     

Total                   28          28              24            80
                                                                           

Percentage              35%         35%             30%                   100%
                                                                   
         COURSE BLUEPRINTS

• Can be very detailed
• Often used in distance / modular
  learning programs
• Indentify detailed content
  divisions and learning types as
  well as activities and objectives
          COURSE ASSESSMENT
          BLUEPRINTS

• Best of both worlds - test and course
  blueprints
• Allows you to generate an evaluation
  scheme for any course based on valid
  assessment
• Considers learning objectives and
  desired student outcomes in
  assembling your grading scheme
           FOR A COURSE EVALUATION
           BLUEPRINT TO WORK…

• Learning objectives must be detailed,
  clear, and behavior-based
• Consider levels of Blooms’ (or similar)
  taxonomy carefully
• Make sure that the assessment tools
  you choose complement the specific
  learning objectives
          FOR EXAMPLE:


Learning objective:
To demonstrate effective communication
       skills in a group setting.

Appropriate assessment tool:
Peer-evaluated group project

Inappropriate assessment tool:
Multiple-choice exam
         ANOTHER EXAMPLE:



Learning Objective:
Identify all dog breeds, their associated
groups, common breed characteristics and
inheritable conditions.

Appropriate Assessment Tool –
Multiple Choice Exam

Inappropriate Assessment Tool –
Term Paper
                ASSESSMENT TOOLS – GRADING
SCHEME



   Learning       Unit   Term    Group       Final 
   Objective      Quiz   Paper   Project     Exam
   List ……        60%                        40%

   Describe …     20%    40%     20%         20%

   Compare….             50%                 10%

   Design….                      80%         20%

   Explain…..     20%    10%                 10%
                               GRADING SCHEME EXAMPLE

Learning                         Midterm   Applied      Group     Final Exam
Objective                                  Assignment   Project
List the primary symptoms of     60%                              40%
the childhood psychological 
disorders addressed in the 
course.
Describe the effects of these    20%                    20%       20%
disorders on family systems


Compare treatment protocols                50%          40%       10%
for designated disorders.

Design a treatment plan for a              40%          40%        
child with a designated 
disorder given case 
information
Explain the biological           20%       10%                    10%
influences on the childhood 
disorders covered in class.
                                ASSESSMENT TOOLS – GRADING SCHEME
                                        RESEARCH METHODS

Learning                        Quiz 1   Project   Quiz 2   6 Lab         Final Exam
Objective                                                   Assignments
Describe the primary            60%                40%                    30%
research methodologies 
used in the Social 
Sciences
Apply published                 40%                20%      20%           30%
descriptive statistics to 
concrete problems for 
accurate interpretation
Critically analyze the                   40%       40%                    10%
validity and reliability of  
published research 
studies
Compare the validity of                  60%                              30%
different research 
methods to a variety of 
concrete research 
problems.
Using  SPSS to analyze                                      80%            
datasets and interpret 
findings
                      TRY THIS YOURSELF!

Learning     Taxonomy Level   Tool (%)   Tool (%)   Tool (%)   Tool (%)

Objective 
32

				
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