Quality Matters Standard 3.1 is one of the alignment standards and is an essential (required) standard. It states, “The assessments measure the achievement of the stated learning objectives or competencies.” This standard evaluates the alignment between objectives (course and module objectives) and the assessments.
The course and module objectives delineate what students will be able to achieve by the end of the course or module. The assessments measure whether students have achieved the objectives. Therefore, the assessments should align with the objectives. For those who research, this is similar to creating survey questions that measure the research question or designing a procedure to test the hypothesis.
When choosing assessments to align with your objectives, think about two things:
1. Content - the concept or skill students are acquiring
The content of the assessment should include the concepts or skills stated in the objective. For example, if an objective states students will analyze the characters in a particular book, the assessment should require them to analyze the characters in that book. An essay requiring students to analyze the setting would not align since that is not about the characters.
2. Action or Behavior - what students should be able to DO with that content
Should students be able to recognize concepts, create a new process, or something in between? The action or behavior will vary depending on the level of learning desired. There are multiple levels of learning, such as those as described by Bloom’s Taxonomy. If students need to show understanding at a lower level such as identifying key terms, this can be assessed with a multiple-choice question. However, if students need to apply concepts or skills, more complex questions are needed to assess those skills. If students need to be able to show a higher level of understanding by developing innovative ideas or products, the assessment should require students to create that item.
Below are some examples of aligned objectives and assessments based on three of the six levels of learning in the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. While Bloom’s Cognitive Taxonomy is often used in education, there are other learning taxonomies available. For Quality Matters, it does not matter which taxonomy you use as long as the objectives and assessments align.
|Create||Develop or construct a product or idea||Students will be able to design a nutrition plan to meet the needs of a patient||The assessment would require students to develop the plan that would address the needs of a patient. This might include how many times a day or time of day the patient should eat, sample meals for one or two weeks, types of food that should be eaten or avoided, and how much water should be consumed daily. This could be submitted in multiple ways such as a paper, infographic, or video presentation.|
|Analyze||Decide how pieces are related to each other or break something down into smaller parts||Students will be able to determine the appropriate tests to order for a patient based on presenting symptoms||This could be assessed with a case study where students decide what tests would be needed to make a diagnosis. They could present their findings in a short answer question or presentation. Scenario-based multiple answer questions could be given where students select all of the tests that they would include for each patient.|
|Apply||Implement/execute processes or ideas||Students will be able to perform statistical t-tests||The assessment would provide students a data set they have not previously seen. Students would be instructed to complete a t-test. The student would then complete the t-test and report that answer. This could be completed with a short answer quiz or by submitting a report from the statistical software.|
Below are additional resources and examples for aligning objectives and assessments.
- Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to Align Assessments, Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Louisville
- Bloom’s Taxonomy, Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University
- Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy - Question Starters, Illinois State
- Learning Taxonomy – Krathwohl's Affective Domain
- The Psychomotor Domain
If you would like to work with an eLearning Instructional Designer to select assessments, develop objectives, or discuss other aspects of course design, please submit an Instructional Design Request form.