This study researched the question of alignment between the intended learning outcomes and assessment in the field of engineering education. Based on the initial problem, four research questions were developed that focused on: defining and describing learning outcomes in engineering; defining and describing assessment methods and e-assessment tasks; defining a model for achieving alignment between learning outcomes and assessment; finally, applying the model to link specific learning outcomes with specific assessment methods.
During this study a conceptual model was developed with the goal of providing an answer to the research problem, the ALOA (Aligning Learning Outcomes with Assessment). The model was derived from literature research and included different components directly linked with the research questions.
The ALOA conceptual model was developed with the intention of being used by different stakeholders in Higher Education Institutions. The study defined four different scenarios of implementation of the ALOA model: to verify current alignment in existing courses; to develop an assessment strategy based on statements of learning outcomes; to verify vertical alignment of courses with higher level learning outcomes; to verify horizontal alignment of learning outcomes defined at the same level but in different contexts, as in mobility situations.
The main theoretical findings of the study were related with the clarification of core concepts in terms of assessment methods and assessment tasks. There was also an attempt to structure general information concerning assessment and e-assessment. In terms of the concept of alignment this study contributes with an innovative perspective that includes the clarification of the meaning of alignment and the definition of four criteria for achieving alignment: match, emphasis, coverage and precision