Alignment of Course Objectives and Assessment Items: A Case Study

Alignment of Course Objectives and Assessment Items: A Case Study

Kenneth Lightfoot (Thomas Edison State College, USA) and David Schwager (Thomas Edison State College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-870-3.ch007
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This case study examines how achieving close alignment between course objectives and course assessments should be an essential goal in the course design/revision process regardless of what mode of delivery is involved. By examining the revision of two courses (Western Civilization I & II) offered at Thomas Edison State College, the authors demonstrate how the application of sound instructional design principles to achieve this alignment resulted in the measurable improvement of student learning outcomes. The major issue examined in this study is how to achieve a close correlation between what a course states that a student should be able to do after successful completion, what practice it offers them to achieve this proficiency, and how they are assessed to determine what level of proficiency they have attained.
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Setting The Stage

Western Civilization I and II have long been a part of the Thomas Edison State College’s curriculum. (These courses are available for students to take as either online courses or in the Guided Study program which is print-based. Since the online version is organized into modules and therefore contains modular objectives not featured in the Guided Study version, this case study focuses on the former.) Each course is taken over a twelve-week semester and is organized into six modules. Each course requires students to complete six written assignments, one for each module, and take a midterm and final examination. In addition, students in each course must also take part in three graded discussions as part of their assigned work.

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