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Linking assessment to learning outcomes

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... task design, explicit education and appropriate monitoring of academic honesty. ... Typical learning outcomes in higher education ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Linking assessment to learning outcomes


1
Linking assessment to learning outcomes
  • Cynthia Deane
  • Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology
  • 28 April 2008

2
Assessment
  • A way of finding out what our students know and
    can do (UCC Portfolio, 2002)
  • Assessment is the process of gathering and
    discussing information from multiple and diverse
    sources in order to develop a deep understanding
    of what students know, understand and can do with
    their knowledge as a result of their educational
    experiences
  • (Huba and Freed, 2000)

3
Before we start
  • What are your concerns about assessing learning
    outcomes?
  • What challenges do you expect when you make
    changes in the assessment process?
  • What do you want to achieve today?
  • My task to help you come up with a good
    assessment plan for your courses.

4
Some questions for today
  • Why is assessment such a big issue in higher
    education at the moment?
  • How best can balance assessment FOR learning with
    assessment OF learning (formative and summative
    purposes)
  • How do we make sure assessment is fit for
    purpose?
  • What assessment techniques can we use to measure
    different types of learning outcomes?

5
More questions
  • Where can we start if we want to improve the
    alignment between assessment and learning
    outcomes?
  • How can we improve exams so that they test higher
    order skills?
  • How can we make assessment criteria more
    explicit?

6
Later today
  • Interrogating your assessment to check whether
    it follows good practice guidelines
  • Identifying any changes needed to assessment
  • Practice in linking assessment with learning
    outcomes
  • Anything else to include?

7
Trends in assessment
  • Traditional
  • Examinations
  • Lecturer-led
  • Implicit criteria
  • Product assessment
  • Content
  • Decontextualised
  • Convergent
  • Individual
  • Changing approaches
  • Course work
  • Student-led
  • Explicit criteria
  • Process assessment
  • Skills
  • Contextualised
  • Divergent
  • Group
  • Brown and Biggs

8
Assessment IS a big issue
  • Influences
  • Education theory
  • National, international, Bologna
  • Quality assurance, TL strategy
  • Professional bodies
  • Validation HETAC
  • Diverse profiles
  • Context
  • Curriculum philosophy
  • Qualifications frameworks
  • Institutional policy/practice
  • Subject/discipline
  • Course/module
  • Learners

9
Purposes of assessment
  • Educational feedback, diagnosis, motivation,
    guidance, learning support
  • Assessment FOR learning (formative)
  • Managerial selection, grading, certification,
    progression, professional recognition,
    gate-keeping
  • Assessment OF learning (summative)

10
Re-positioning assessment
11
Assessment principles summary
  • Learner centred inclusive, diversity
  • Linked to learning outcomes
  • Performance of understanding
  • Process matches purpose
  • Range of modes, techniques, formats
  • Transparent, fair and equitable to all users
  • Valid, authentic and reliable

12
16 INDICATORS OF EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENT IN HIGHER
EDUCATIONA checklist for quality in student
assessment
  • 1. Assessment is treated by staff and students as
    an integral component of the entire teaching and
    learning process.
  • 2. The multiple roles of assessment are
    recognised. The powerful motivating effect of
    assessment requirements on students is understood
    and assessment tasks are designed to foster
    valued study habits.
  • 3. There is a faculty/departmental policy that
    guides assessment practices. Subject assessment
    is integrated into an overall plan for course
    assessment.
  • (Source Centre for the Study of Higher
    Education, Australia)

13
16 INDICATORS OF EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENT IN HIGHER
EDUCATIONA checklist for quality in student
assessment NB!!
  • 4. There is a clear alignment between expected
    learning outcomes, what is taught and learnt, and
    the knowledge and skills assessed.
  • 5. Assessment tasks assess the capacity to
    analyse and synthesise new information and
    concepts rather than simply recall information
    which has been presented.
  • 6. A variety of assessment methods is employed so
    that the limitations of particular methods are
    minimised.
  • 7. Assessment tasks are designed to assess
    relevant generic skills as well as
    subject-specific knowledge and skills.

14
16 INDICATORS OF EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENT IN HIGHER
EDUCATIONA checklist for quality in student
assessment
  • 8. There is a steady progression in the
    complexity and demands of assessment requirements
    in the later years of courses.
  • 9. There is provision for student choice and
    weighting in assessment tasks.
  • 10. Student and staff workloads are considered in
    the scheduling and design of assessment tasks.
  • 11. Excessive assessment is avoided. Assessment
    tasks are designed to sample student learning.

15
16 INDICATORS OF EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENT IN HIGHER
EDUCATIONA checklist for quality in student
assessment
  • 12. Assessment tasks are weighted to balance the
    developmental (formative) and judgemental
    (summative) roles of assessment. Early
    low-stakes, low-weight assessment is used to
    provide students with feedback.

16
16 INDICATORS OF EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENT IN HIGHER
EDUCATIONA checklist for quality in student
assessment
  • 13. Grades are calculated and reported on the
    basis of clearly articulated learning outcomes
    and criteria for levels of achievement.
  • 14. Students receive explanatory and diagnostic
    feedback as well as grades.
  • 15. Assessment tasks are checked to ensure there
    are no inherent biases that may disadvantage
    particular student groups.
  • 16. Plagiarism is minimised through careful task
    design, explicit education and appropriate
    monitoring of academic honesty.

17
Assessing learning outcomes points to consider
  • Learning outcomes statements of what a learner
    will know, understand, and/or be able to do at
    the end of a learning experience
  • Specify the types of student performance that
    will provide evidence of learning
  • (Assumption you have designed your courses using
    learning outcomes. You now want to find out
    whether students have achieved them. )

18
Backward design
  • Identify desired learning outcomes
  • What should learners know and be able to do?
  • Determine acceptable evidence
  • How will we know they have achieved desired
    outcomes? What measurement?
  • Plan learning experiences and instruction
  • What methods, materials, resources?

19
Assessment choices
  • How best to measure the wide range of learning
    outcomes? Types of test items to include?
  • Written, oral, practical, other techniques?
  • Balance between formative and summative purposes?
  • Continuous and/or terminal?
  • How to manage large groups?
  • Disciplinespecific approaches?

20
Jargon Modes of assessment
  • Formal/informal
  • Formative/summative
  • Continuous/terminal
  • Coursework/examination
  • Process/product
  • Criterion/norm referenced

21
Techniques of assessment
  • Written tests, examinations, assignments
  • Practical skills testing lab/workshop practice
  • Oral interviews, various formats
  • Aural listening tests
  • Project work individual/group research/design
  • Field work data collection and reporting
  • Competence testing threshold standards
  • Portfolio combination of techniques

22
Common techniques in HE
  • Paper/thesis
  • Project
  • Product development
  • Performance
  • Exhibition
  • Case study/critical incident
  • Clinical evaluation
  • Oral exam
  • Interview
  • Research assignment
  • Portfolio
  • Others??

23
Interrogating our assessment
  • Have we included the right mix of learning
    outcomes in our modules? (cf Blooms Taxonomy,
    SOLO taxonomy, for example)
  • How do we know if students have achieved the
    intended learning outcomes is there a good match
    between learning outcomes and assessment? What
    about grading?
  • How can we improve assessment so that it tests
    the intended learning outcomes?

24
1. Evaluating learning outcomes
  • Appropriate to the module/subject/level?
  • Appropriate balance cognitive (higher/lower
    level), affective, psychomotor/performance?
  • Written at threshold standard what is required
    to PASS?
  • Clear, concise, readily understood?
  • Observable, measurable performance i.e.
  • can it be assessed?

25
The right mix of learning outcomes
  • Typical learning outcomes in higher education
  • Knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis,
    synthesis, evaluation (Bloom)
  • Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analysing,
    Evaluating, Creating (Anderson et al)
  • Knowledge Skills and know-how Competence (NQAI)
  • Problem solving
  • Working alone and in teams personal and
    interpersonal skills
  • Communications information literacy
  • Which of these are included in your courses? How
    many are assessed?

26
Focus on cognitive domain
  • Lower order thinking skills
  • Knowledge Simple recall of previously learned
    material
  • Comprehension Ability to make sense of the
    material
  • Next level of thinking
  • Application Ability to use learned material in a
    new situation with a minimum of help or direction

27
Cognitive domain 2
  • Higher order thinking skills
  • Analysis Break material into component parts so
    that its structure may be understood
  • Synthesis Put parts together to form a plan new
    to the learner generalise
  • Evaluation Judge the value of material based on
    certain criteria

28
2. Matching assessment to learning outcomes
  • Typical assessment components
  • Practical tests (range of approaches)
  • Continuous assessment (various forms)
  • Written examinations (various types of items)

29
Matching assessment to learning outcomes
  • Unless the measuring instrument matches the
    thing to be measured, we havent got a chance of
    learning what we want to know (i.e. whether the
    learner has achieved the desired learning outcome)

30
Matching assessment to learning outcomes
  • Unless the measuring instrument matches the
    thing to be measured, we havent got a chance of
    learning what we want to know (i.e. whether the
    learner has achieved the desired learning outcome)

31
The right assessment?
  • Learning outcomes
  • Identify signs and symptoms of MS
  • Formulate food product
  • Identify an area for research
  • Demonstrate good presentation skills
  • Assessment?
  • Make a presentation to peers
  • Prepare a 1000-word research proposal
  • Lab-based project
  • Multiple choice questions

32
Fit for purpose?
  • Apply the unicycle test
  • At the end of this module, the learner will be
    able to ride a unicycle 100m along a level paved
    street without falling off
  • 1. Define unicycle
  • 2. Write a short essay on the history of the
    unicycle
  • 3. Name at least six parts of the unicycle
  • 4. Describe your method of riding the unicycle

33
3. Improving assessment
  • Achieve better balance between two main purposes
    of assessment
  • Assessment FOR learning
  • Formative feedback, diagnosis, motivation,
    guidance, learning support
  • Assessment OF learning
  • Summative selection, grading, certification,
    progression, professional recognition,
    gate-keeping
  • Align assessment more effectively with learning
    outcomes
  • Assess all major course outcomes
  • Select valid and authentic assessment methods to
    test the relevant learning outcomes
  • Ensure that different categories of learning
    outcomes are assessed
  • Do not test any significant learning outcomes
    that are not explicitly stated

34
Standards and grading
  • Write learning outcomes at threshold (Pass)
    standard achievement above this can be graded
    (honours, distinction etc)
  • Learning outcomes tie down what is required to
    pass
  • Remaining 60 allows scope for exploration of
    ideas, creativity, excellence
  • Make clear what performance is needed to achieve
    higher grade levels specify criteria

35
Example
  • Learning outcome
  • design a page layout to a given brief
  • Assessment task (practical test/project)
  • lay out the given information as a book cover
    following the publishers brief
  • Assessment Criteria (how the performance will be
    judged)
  • Clarity of font
  • Appropriate colour combinations
  • Attractiveness of design
  • Match with brief and budget

36
3. Improving assessment
  • Align assessment more effectively with learning
    outcomes
  • Assess all learning outcomes
  • Select valid and authentic assessment methods to
    test learning outcomes
  • Do not test learning outcomes that are not
    explicitly stated
  • Be aware of backwash effect of assessment on
    learning
  • Assess often, use variety of methods

37
A first step - improving exams
  • Work with colleagues to draft questions
  • Decide what you really want to test
  • Dont keep measuring the same things
  • Include data in questions reduce memory
  • Show what assessment criteria will be
  • Use stepped or structured items
  • Make a clear marking scheme
  • Give feedback to students and colleagues

38
Types of exams and items
  • Open-book exams focus on what students can do
    with the information
  • Open-notes exams topics can be given and
    prepared in advance
  • Structured exams (eg MCQs, short answers, t/f,
    fill blanks) can test not just memory
  • Essays subdivide question and show how marks
    allocated teach required skills eg mind maps,
    structure, organisation of material
  • Case study material can be given in advance

39
Some other techniques
  • Reviews, annotated bibliographies
  • Reports lab/field work, research task
  • Projects and assignments individual or group
  • Portfolios
  • Presentations
  • Interview/viva
  • Poster display/exhibition
  • Performance/production of artefact
  • Practical examinations
  • Competence testing authentic or simulated

40
Large-class assessment
  • Concept maps
  • Venn diagrams
  • Three-minute essay/paper
  • Short answer exams
  • Gobbets (chunks of content)
  • Letter to a friend
  • Cloze tests

41
Giving feedback to students
  • Make it quick, clear and focussed
  • Relate it to the assessment criteria and learning
    outcomes
  • Use rubrics or formal marking schemes to show how
    well the requirements are met
  • Steps in feedback
  • Affirm what is done well
  • Clarify ask questions about specific aspects
  • Make suggestions for improvement
  • Give guidance about what learner needs to do next

42
Fit for purpose? Assessing your assessment
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