Handout: Assessing Multiple Outcomes
|Explore your draft ILOs. Which could be matched up and covered within the same assessment. How will you judge each different outcome across different domains?
We need to ensure that all of our outcomes can be assessed. It’s common practice to only write outcomes that are going to be assessed and only assess those outcomes that have been written. So, it is important when we design them, that they are as flexible, from an assessment perspective, as possible. I am going to explore one example, a fairly extreme example, of a postgraduate level course that had all of these outcomes. There are actually 10 outcomes in total for this particular course.
Now you may find that you have institutional limits on how many assessments you can have and how many outcomes you can have. What is important for my perspective is to make sure that you are fairly and accurately assessing the skills and abilities that you want the student to acquire.
If you write your outcomes well, and you address the particular domains that we’ve been discussing in this course, it’s possible to assess multiple outcomes through a single assessment. Historically, you will find that institutional experience, perhaps your experience, has been that it’s very difficult to assess multiple outcomes in a single assessment. Particularly if they are all intellectual skills.
We’ve encouraged people not to write compound outcomes with multiple verbs in them, and you end up trying to assess several different skills using the single assessment task. And that becomes harder. If we write our outcomes, using the full range of domains, it’s possible to then subdivide them and group them up and write single assessments to cover a number of different skills.
Now, this really applies in most of those disciplines where some degree of subjective assessment is required. A marker is going to make some judgements based on an assessment rubric. I just want to explore with you this example, just by way of illustrating an extreme. And it’ll give you an idea as to how you might be able to use a similar approach when you start writing your own outcomes.
So I’ve grouped these outcomes together. They address different domains. You’ll be able to pause the video and look through them in some detail, make yourself familiar with them, and then look at the assessment task that was drafted towards these outcomes. Now the assessment draft is essentially a phrase, a sentence that basically says what you are expecting the student to be able to do with these outcomes.
In this case, it’s about engaging with debate. They want to explore some of the facets of online, distance and flexible learning, and learn to advocate for a position, to hold a position to declare a position. It’s very much a subjective assessment task.
And so the first year, this is the task or the question that students were asked to complete.
They were asked to produce two brief, short briefings, for a head of department, as though they were writing for the head of department, real-world assessment. And they were asked to explore two different facets, the different modes of learning and a hundred per cent online distance learning mode. So it’s not a particularly complex task, but it’s defined against those outcomes.
The students would have that assessment task in front of them and they would see what the outcomes were. They would then go away and they would complete that, they would be an associated marking rubric. And we would then mark that assessment. The next year, I wouldn’t want the students to be faced with the same assessment task because they might borrow, or plagiarize, other students’ work, they might copy and paste it from somewhere else and it needs to be a real-world example wherever possible. So the next year I would simply change, I wouldn’t change the outcome, I wouldn’t change the task. I would literally change the question. And so this year the student is asked to develop two learner personas, the same rough weighting in terms of word count. The same marking rubric would probably be still relevant, but the students would evidence their work the way, they’re gonna meet those outcomes, slightly differently.