Course Review Information
One major method of evaluating the success of a curriculum is to examine
the fit between the stated learning objectives and the methods of assessing
student learning. John Biggs model of 'Constructive Alignment' provides an
especially good way of doing that.
If an objective requires the student to analyze something and the assessment
method involves a multiple choice question at the 'Comprehension' level
of Bloom's Taxonomy, there is obviously no match between the objective
and assessment method. This is not to condemn multiple choice tests which
can be designed to assess the ability of students to analyze a situation. Biggs
'SOLO Taxonomy' provides a more holistic way of evaluating students written or
The following references provide background on curricula and assessment
practices. Not all assessment has to be done for grading purposes. Angelo
and Cross give a very useful collection of assessment methods that can
be used in the classroom to help students monitor their own learning.
Angelo,T.A.; Cross,K.P. 1993. Classroom Assessment Techniques. Jossey-Bass. ISBN 1-55542-500-3.
Exercises that can be used for non grading purposes to facilitate learner
self-evaluation as well as to give rapid feedback to an instructor on the
success of the student's learning.
Biggs,J. 1996. Enhancing Teaching through Constructive Alignment.
Higher Education 32: 347-364.
A paper, by a former U of A faculty member, that emphasizes the importance
of aligning curriculum objectives, teaching/learning activities and assessment
Biggs,J. 2003. Teaching for Quality Learning at University. 2nd Edition, Open University Press, Buckingham, UK. ISBN 0-335-21168-2
This book gives a good overview of university teaching and summarizes Biggs
work on 'constructive alignment to promote deep learning with assessment using
his SOLO Taxonomy.
Boud,D.; Feletti, G. 1991. The Challenge of Problem Based Learning.
Kogan Page Ltd. ISBN 0-74940-249-0.
A collection of articles on PBL, including the introduction of the
PBL curriculum at Harvard Medical School.
Cheser Jacobs,L.; Chase,C.I. 1992. Developing and Using Tests Effectively.
Jossey-Bass. ISBN 1-55542-481-3.
A good compendium of different methods both objective and subjective.
Diamond,R.M. 1989. Designing and Improving Courses and Curricula
in Higher Education. Jossey-Bass. ISBN 1-55542-129-6.
This text emphasizes the importance of linking the learning objectives
to the assessment methods used.
Everingham,F. 1996. Curriculum Mapping. Centre for Teaching and
Learning, University of Sydney. ISBN 1-86451-266-0.
A computer-assisted curriculum mapping model to promote dimensions
of student learning, such as generic attributes, in complex curricula.
Fraser,K. 1996. Student Centred Teaching: The Development and Use
of Conceptual Frameworks. HERDSA Green Guide No. 18. ISBN 0-908557-37-X.
A primer on the use of concept maps for, amongst other things, course
Hazel, E.; Baillie, C. 1998. Improving
Teaching and Learning in Laboratories HERDSA Gold Guide No. 4. ISBN
This guide has chapters on assessing laboratory work and evaluating
LaSere Erickson,B.; Weltner Strommer,D. 1991. Teaching College Freshmen
(sic). Jossey-Bass. ISBN 1-55542-310-8.
A review of the particular needs of first year students and ways of
Manning,M.; Harris,J..; Maher,W.; McQueen,K. 1998. Learning
in the Field: a Manual for Conducting Field Classes. HERDSA Gold
Guide No. 4. ISSN 1323-4021.
- National Research Council. 2001. Knowing what Students Know: The
Science and Design of Educational Assessment. Washington, DC. National
Emphasizes the importance of aligning assessment with learning objectives and
Nightingale,P.; Te Wiata,I.; Toohey,S.; Ryan,G.; Hughes,C.; Magin,D.
1996. Assessing Learning in Universities. University of New South Wales
Press. ISBN 0-86840-408-X.
A compendium of case histories of assessment methods applied to a wide
diversity of curricular situations.
Further information on this topic can be obtained by contacting John
© University of Alberta, Jun 3, 2004.