Monday, September 8, 2008

Constructive alignment and assessment - Activity 2

This is the second activity in the series prepared by Catherine Tang where we can have a go at designing assessment tasks.

Constructive Alignment and Assessment Tasks

Assessment practices have a strong effect on what and how students learn – the backwash effect on learning. A positive backwash encourage appropriate learning approach to achieve the intended learning outcomes, while a negative backwash sends the wrong signals to students so that they use strategies irrelevant to achieving the intended learning outcomes. Constructively aligned assessment tasks have a positive backwash effect as they require students to deploy the verbs specified in the intended learning outcomes. Students see the relevancy between assessment tasks and what they are supposed to learn and hence are more likely to be motivated to actively engage in appropriate learning approaches. Details of Constructive Alignment and designing constructively aligned assessment tasks can be found in Biggs & Tang, 2007.

Activity 2: Designing an assessment task or tasks for one of your course ILOs

(Adapted from Task 11.3, Biggs & Tang, 2007, p. 243)

Refer to an ILO you have written in Activity 1 and design one or possibly more assessment task(s) that will appropriately assess this ILO. To help you check the alignment between the task(s) and the ILO, identify what the students are required to do in order to complete the assessment task(s). The student activities required to complete the assessment tasks should be aligned to the ILO.

Course ILO: ..................................................................................................

Assessment task

(Specify the nature of the task)

Student activities to complete the task




Now double check if the student activities are aligned to the verbs nominated in the selected course ILO.

After designing the task(s), you will need to write the grading criteria for each of the tasks (details see Biggs & Tang, 2007, Chapters 10, 11).

Please share with us any experience of designing and implementing constructively aligned assessment that you have.

Reference: Biggs, J. and Tang, C. (3rd ed) (2007) Teaching for Quality Learning at University. Open University Press/McGraw-Hill Education, Maidenhead, UK.

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