Assessment in a constructively aligned system
The fact students learn what they perceive will be in the assessment, rather than what is in the curriculum, has long been perceived as a problem. However, if we ensure that students are assessed on what we want them to learn, that problem becomes the solution. In a constructively aligned system of teaching, the intended learning outcomes of a course are defined in terms of what students are to do with the content learned. Teaching involves students in learning activities appropriate to achieving those outcomes, and assessment tells us how well students do so. It is important then to define upfront the outcomes intended in teaching a course and to align teaching and assessment accordingly. In this address, I will discuss how teaching and assessment can be designed in a constructively designed system, and how traditional models of assessment deflected attention from issues of teaching and learning to required standards.