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Learning Outcomes and Assessment - Achieving Constructive Alignment Treforest April 2016

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Learning Outcomes and Assessment - Achieving Constructive Alignment. CELT seminar, Treforest, April 2016, Richard Oelmann University of South Wales.

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Learning Outcomes and Assessment - Achieving Constructive Alignment Treforest April 2016

  1. 1. © University of South Wales Learning Outcomes and Assessment - Achieving Constructive Alignment CELT Seminar (Treforest 14/4/16) While you are waiting… Cryptic towns: 1. A Dirty Place To Swim 2. Ship's Company 3. Old Car 4. If North Is Starboard
  2. 2. © University of South Wales Richard Oelmann Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching Senior Learning Technologist Previously – taught on Primary Initial Teacher Training Previously – Deputy Head Teacher
  3. 3. © University of South Wales Assessment and Learning Outcomes
  4. 4. © University of South Wales CELT Assessment Seminars • Assessment for Learning at USW • Learning Outcomes and Assessment (Achieving Constructive Alignment) • Developing Innovative Assessment • Delivering Effective Feedback http://slideshare.net/RichardOelmann
  5. 5. © University of South Wales Seminar Summary Constructive alignment (Biggs, 1996, Biggs & Tang, 2011) is an outcomes-based methodology for designing, promoting and assessing deep student learning. It is predicated on the belief that the student constructs his or her own learning through engaging in relevant learning activities (hence constructive). Alignment refers to what the teacher does, which is to create appropriate learning environments. This specifically involves selecting the most appropriate teaching and learning activities and assessment tasks for each of the learning outcomes. In its most rudimentary form, this selection is governed by the main verb in the outcome statement. In a more sophisticated form, verbs in learning or curriculum objective statements are typically used as a basis for alignment and refer to the specific steps (or component activities) that collectively lead the students towards the outcomes (Biggs & Tang, 2011; Jackson et al., 2003). This session will look at how we can develop modules using the principles of constructive alignment in order to promote good teaching and thus deep student learning.
  6. 6. © University of South Wales Why is Assessment Important? “[A]ssessment…has a powerful influence on learning and…changes to assessment may have a greater influence on students’ learning than other changes to the curriculum. Assessment innovations are therefore needed to improve the quality of learning outcomes...” (Boud, 2006) “students can, with difficulty, escape from the effects of poor teaching, they cannot (by definition, if they want to graduate) escape the effects of poor assessment.” (Boud, 1995, p.35)”
  7. 7. © University of South Wales What our students say: “Only those [tutors] who gave more novel ways [of assessment] …would explain to us that [the assessment] is to build up our skills etc but I think coursework and exams are there as its traditional, and there are no explanations behind the questions …it’s just like, this is the coursework, do it … no explanation at all.” Glamorgan Year 3 LLB student
  8. 8. © University of South Wales Aligning Objectives, Teaching Methods and Assessment Learning takes place through the active behaviour of the student: it is what he does that he learns, not what the teacher does. Tyler, RW (1949) Basic principles of curriculum and instruction University of Chicago Press Constructive Alignment of learning outcomes and assessment is predicated on the belief that the student constructs his or her own learning through engaging in relevant learning activities (hence constructive)
  9. 9. © University of South Wales Aligning Objectives, Teaching Methods and Assessment If students are to learn desired outcomes in a reasonably effective manner, then the teacher's fundamental task is to get students to engage in learning activities that are likely to result in their achieving those outcomes... It is helpful to remember that what the student does is actually more important in determining what is learned than what the teacher does. Shuel, TJ (1986) Cognitive conceptions of learning Review of Educational research, 56, 411-436
  10. 10. © University of South Wales Constructive Alignment LOLearning and teaching activities Designed to meet LO LO Intended Learning Outcomes LO Assessment Methods Designed to Assess LO Biggs(1999) Teaching for Quality Learning at University, (SRHE and Open University Press, Buckingham
  11. 11. © University of South Wales Constructive Alignment
  12. 12. © University of South Wales Key Decisions First we get the objectives straight, what the students have to do. Then we decide how to get them to do it. Assessment serves a double purpose: it checks the quality of learning, and for students, it defines what is to be learned. Biggs, JB (1999) What the student does:Teaching for quality learning at university Open University Press
  13. 13. © University of South Wales Aligning curriculum objectives, teaching/learning activities and assessment tasks Activity
  14. 14. © University of South Wales Curriculum Objectives Order the objectives below – which would be assessed as higher skills? Rank them as A,B,C or D • Compare • Solve • Understand main ideas • Relate to principles • Name • Hypothesise • Analyse • Explain • Classify • Elaborate • Describe • Apply to 'far' domains • Reflect • Cover topics a-n • Memorise • Generate • Learn procedures • Apply to 'near' domains
  15. 15. © University of South Wales Aligning curriculum objectives, teaching/learning activities and assessment tasks Curriculum Objectives expressed as verbs A Reflect, Hypothesise, Generate, Apply to 'far' domains, Relate to principles B Apply to 'near' domains Analyse, Compare, Explain, Solve, Understand main ideas C Elaborate, Classify, Cover topics a-n, Describe D Learn procedures, Name, Memorise Teaching/Learning Activities Designed to elicit desired verbs - Teacher controlled - Peer controlled - Student controlled Assessment Tasks Evaluate how well the target verbs are drawn out and used in context The highest level of verb to be clearly manifested becomes the final grade
  16. 16. © University of South Wales Blooms Taxonomy BLOOM B S (ed.) (1956) Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, the classification of educational goals – Handbook I: Cognitive Domain New York: McKay
  17. 17. © University of South Wales Designing Curriculum Objectives In designing curriculum objectives, it helps to use verbs to specify the activities we want the students to perform. These activities become the objectives. In aligning instruction – the verbs are:  Identified in the objectives  Drawn out in the chosen teaching/learning activities  Embedded in the assessment tasks
  18. 18. © University of South Wales The Nature of Understanding Declarative knowledge – knowledge you can talk about Functioning knowledge – knowledge you can put to work In designing curriculum objectives, there is always a tension between coverage and depth of understanding.
  19. 19. © University of South Wales Teaching/Learning activities → Forms of Learning
  20. 20. © University of South Wales Assessing Student Learning Assessment is the most important single component in the system:  Why we assess  What we assess  How we assess  Who is involved
  21. 21. © University of South Wales What is Assessment? In higher education, ‘assessment’ describes any processes that appraise an individual’s knowledge, understanding, abilities or skills
  22. 22. © University of South Wales USW Assessment Policy • To introduce a standard and consistent idea across the University and a focal point to implement change • Aim: ‘ Assessment FOR Learning’ “ to develop a learning environment which promotes the student learning experience, facilitates the acquisition of competence in a range of relevant skills and leads to increased learner autonomy.” http://celt.southwales.ac.uk/documents/download/297/
  23. 23. © University of South Wales Key principles from the policy • Principle 1: Assessment design should drive and promote effective learning • Principle 2: Assessment is fit for purpose and methods are valid in measuring achievement against learning outcomes • Principle 3: Requirements of assessment are clear and timely • Principle 4: Assessment standards are best understood through active dialogue between staff and students • Principle 5: Students should engage with assessment standards seamlessly as part of their course in order to internalise those standards and calibrate their own learning
  24. 24. © University of South Wales Key principles from the policy • Principle 6: Ongoing formative feedback based on dialogue and integrated into learning and teaching develops high level learning and improves assessment prospects. Summative feedback should be timely, be aligned to the learning outcomes, and should feed forward • Principle 7: Assessment loads must be balanced and achievable within appropriate timeframes, with a presumption towards fewer more challenging assessments • Principle 8: Students learn in different ways, and should be challenged to do unfamiliar things, so there should be variety in assessment across a course
  25. 25. © University of South Wales Key principles from the policy • Principle 9: Assessment judgements (i.e. marks/ grading/ classification) should be reliable and trusted, which involves developing shared understandings/professional judgements in course teams on assessment standards • Principle 10: That assessment is secure • Principle 11: That assessment is designed to minimise opportunities for academic malpractice including plagiarism • Principle 12: That some assessment in each level is based on real life ‘live’ briefs and simulation, that take learners out of the classroom, builds confidence, motivation and skills for employability
  26. 26. © University of South Wales Assessment Criteria An assessment criterion can be defined as what a student must do to demonstrate that the learning outcome has been achieved
  27. 27. © University of South Wales Constructive Alignment Revisited LO Learning and teaching activities Designed to meet LO LO Intended Learning Outcomes LO Assessment Methods Designed to Assess LO Biggs(1999) Teaching for Quality Learning at University, (SRHE and Open University Press, Buckingham
  28. 28. © University of South Wales So how do we do it? • Redesign the learning outcome in the light of what you believe students will need to do in the assessment (iteratively) • Try your assessment outline out on a non-specialist before sharing it with your students • Focus of assessment must always be about the learning process of the student and not simply on content of knowledge
  29. 29. © University of South Wales Need to avoid • Hidden assessment criteria • Assuming the students can read your mind • Assessment where there are no apparent links to learning outcomes • Grading based on something that is not explicit in the criteria
  30. 30. © University of South Wales Marking v Assessing A criterion-referenced qualitative approach demands holistic assessment, using the same framework used for formulating objectives. Do your assessments assess coverage or understanding?

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