Module 3 ALIGNMENT: Weaving Assessment, Learning, and Instruction

Purposes of Assessment

For the most part in my past experience as a learner, I knew I was assessed using the two natures of assessment which are supplemented by the term; Assessment FOR learning and Assessment OF learning. A term Assessment is used to mean a set of actions undertaken by the teacher and student to gather information.

During my elementary days, at the beginning of the period, we were given a PRE-TEST. The score in this test is important for the teachers to determine at what level of knowledge we already have (and doesn’t have). This could also be the pre-requisite guide in planning what to teach in order to achieve learning objectives. With this experience, I have learned that the assessment FOR learning is used in making decisions that affect teaching and learning in the short-term future. The stage where this can be usefully considered in getting information for instruction is conducted before learning stage.

At the end of the last period, here comes the summative test. This is the time where the Assessment OF learning is for decisions regarding determination and assignment of grades. This also includes reporting on ways students are assessed, reporting and interpreting assessment results. The test usually happens on the last grading period where we were given a POST-TEST. This test is to measure and evaluate student learning at the end of periodical periods and compare against the score we got from the pre-test.

Assessment is essential in education to better appreciate the need to learn and understand assessment principles. Teachers need to take an active role in making decisions about the purpose of assessment and the content that is being assessed. They spend a lot of time doing assessment for students to be able to know not only the basic reading and arithmetic skill that will allow them to face a world that is continually changing. I have learned that students exert much effort when they are being assessed because it is needed to improve their learning. I am a living proof of it.

In a world where there is so much to be done, I felt I strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do – Dorothea Dix. I like this thought. I know I am learning every day. I believe that we are born to learn. But we learn in different ways through life experiences. In this module, I have learned that the primary purpose of assessment is to improve performance of a learner. This will become effective when it reflects the fact that learning is a complex process that is multi-dimensional, integrated and revealed in persons’ performance over time.

After studying this module, I found myself saying YES! I like to see myself changing my approach on assessment over time. I would like to have my own design of assessment in the future. And as a future educator, I want to educate not only the student’s minds, but their hearts as well through life experiences.

Alignment in Assessment

Why do I need to learn assessment and alignment?

In this module, I gained another knowledge that learning assessment is more than testing students and assigning grade. It is a system that provides feedback about student learning. Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy is the approach in assessment that can be used to align course objectives, activities and assessment with each other.

Alignment is the connection between learning objectives, instructional activities and assessment as illustrated below:



Proper alignment keeps the educator going in the right direction. If objectives, activities and assessment are not in alignment, consequences are:

  1. The course may be fragmented and ineffective.
  2. The students spend on activities that do not lead to intended goals.
  3. An educator may over-estimate or under-estimate the effectiveness of instruction
  4. The students received mixed messages about what they should learn.

We know that alignment is important and one way is to use a learning taxonomy, as what I’ve mention a while ago. To present you, the diagram shows below is the illustration of Bloom’s Taxonomy.


Here, we recognize the cognitive domains in Bloom’s pyramid, which illustrates that thinking occurs at different levels of complexity. This revised Bloom’s Taxonomy serves as a matrix with types and levels of knowledge and helps the teacher to plot a good combination of course objectives, planning instruction and choosing assessment.

Alignment may seem simple, but it is more difficult when activities are gradually happens along the way. Yes, it can be a challenge to choose what learning activities that effectively accomplish learning objectives. But what is more important is that the student have learned.


 Goldner, S. (2014).  Purposes of Classroom Assessment. [YouTube video].


Gathering Evidences, Components and the Assessment Cycle

Ways of gathering evidences<!–

How Cycle

  • Formative – those undertaken while student learning is taking place; the purpose or which is to improve teaching and learning; designed to capture students’ progress toward institution- or program-level outcomes based on criteria and standards of judgment
  • Summative – those obtained at the end of a course or program; the purpose of which is to document student learning for transcripts and for employers, donors, legislators, and other external audiences; designed to capture students’ achievement at the end of their program of study and their undergraduate or graduate education based on criteria and standards of judgment
  • Direct – evidence of student learning which is tangible, visible, self-explanatory; prompt students to represent or demonstrate their learning or produce work so that observers can assess how well students’ texts or responses fit institution- or program-level expectations
    • Example: performances, creations, results of research or exploration, interactions within group problem solving, or responses to questions or prompts
  • Indirect – evidence which provides signs that students are probably learning, but the evidence of exactly what they are learning is less clear and less convincing; capture students’ perceptions of their learning and the educational environment that supports that learning, such as access to and the quality of services, programs, or educational offerings that support their learning
    • Example: student satisfaction, alumni, and employer surveys
  • Objective – one that needs no professional judgment to score correctly (although interpretation of the scores requires professional judgment); examples: multiple-choice, true-false exams
  • Subjective – yield many possible answers of varying quality and require professional judgment to score
  • Traditional – the kinds of tests that have been around for decades; e.g., objective tests, ‘blue book’ essay questions, and oral examinations
  • Performance – ask students to demonstrate their skills rather than relate what they have learned through traditional tests; e.g., field experiences, laboratory and studio assignments, projects.  Also called authentic assessments when asking students to do a real-life task.  Have two components: (i) the assignment or prompt that tells students what is expected of them and (ii) a scoring guide or rubric used to evaluate completed work.
  • Embedded – program assessments which are embedded into course work
  • Add-on – assessments which are in addition to course requirements; e.g., assemble a portfolio, take a standardized test, participate in a survey
  • Local – created by faculty and/or staff
  • Published – those published by an organization external to the institution and used by several institutions
  • Quantitative – use structured, predetermined response options that can be summarized into meaningful numbers and analyzed statistically; place interpretative value on numbers; e.g., the number of right versus wrong answers
  • Qualitative – use flexible, naturalistic methods and are usually analyzed by looking for recurring patterns and themes; e.g., reflective writing, notes from interviews and focus groups; place interpretative value on the observer; e.g., observations of group interaction or an individual’s performance in a simulation

Components of Assessment

Steps which underlie the assessment of student learning:

  1. Develop learning objectives/outcomes
  2. Check for alignment between the curriculum and the objectives/outcomes
  3. Develop an assessment plan
  4. Collect assessment data
  5. Use results to improve the program
  6. Routinely examine the assessment process and correct, as needed

The Assessment Cycle

Assessment Cycle Promoting IE

    • Goals for learning – express intended results in general terms.  Used to describe broad learning concepts; e.g., clear communication, problem solving, and ethical awareness.
    • Objectives for learning – express intended results in precise terms.  Used to describe specific behaviors students should exhibit; e.g., “graduates in speech communication should be able to interpret non-verbal behavior and to support arguments with credible evidence”.

Outcomes Assessment Plan 

Student learning outcomes, should derive from the objectives which flow from the goals and mission of the program.  An Assessment Plan includes all these components and focuses on the assessment of each learning outcome and how the evaluation of the results of the assessment are used for program improvement





Module 2: Frameworks for Assessment of Student Learning

The last time I wrote on my blog, I defined assessment as an evaluation method that are graded and measured with tools. In this module, I gained a broader understanding with regards to gathering evidences, components of assessment and the assessment cycle.

Sound evidence is a must to provide meaningful information to consider that the assessment is an effective one. As I was reading the ways of gathering evidence by UCONN, I realized that there are a lot of ways but not all were used to measure learning outcomes. By establishing learning objectives, choosing the right assessment tool is necessary. When you assess, you should select different assessment tools that fits the course program. There’s no such thing as “one size fits all”. This goes with ensuring that students have sufficient opportunities to achieve these outcomes.

I also learned about the different components that make up an assessment. In assessment of student learning, components serve as the building block that is required to complete or finish an activity or a course program. Components of student learning outcome consist of: Goal, Student Learning Outcome, Method of assessment, Performance targets, Assessment results and Use of assessment results.


Figure 1 Components of student learning outcome

Student learning outcomes, should derive from the objectives which flow from the goals and mission of the program.  An Assessment Plan includes all these components and focuses on the assessment of each learning outcome and how the evaluation of the results of the assessment are used for program improvement.

After identifying the components here comes the cycle. Components are connected within a cyclical process and not in linear arrangement. Here, I understand that assessment should undergo in cyclical rather than linear progression. Why did I say that? It’s because it is repetitive with continuous improvement and development of a certain program. I also compare it with a spiral shaped or a wheel. In terms of how this is reflected in teaching and learning, it means that our learning will pass through same areas of study repeatedly over time.  Learning therefore is continually deeper with every cycle you are part of.

Similarly, what is learned as we cycle around the wheel of learning is what is there for us that time around.  We will come back to essentially the same lesson on the next cycle so there are no ‘beginner’s learnings’ or ‘advanced learnings’ as such.  There are the learnings you get this time, and there are the learnings you will spot next time, and there are some learnings it will do you well to face more than once.  If you keep going around the wheel long enough, you’ll see it all eventually.

I have been working for many years to help my family. I became their provider. After graduation I started working and haven’t been given a chance to pursue my studies. I graduated my bachelor in Business Administration and wanted to pursue it to master’s degree. But it didn’t happen. All because, what I wanted is to help my family, until I realized that I have something to do to make my future plans happen the way I wanted it to be. Good thing is, distance learning is a helpful tool to continue studies without going to school everyday and attend classes in a classroom setting. With this experience in life, I must say that I have improved something, that I had my own plan and action. I didn’t stay for what I believed before. There is always room for improvement. All you have to do is assess yourself and follow the cycle.



Module 1: Assesments Basics

As a new student taking up an education units, this subject (Principles and Methods of Assessment) was just new to me. Before, what I understand about assessment is just merely an evaluation that is graded and measured by giving systematic tools such as an examination or Tests.

Another kind of Assessment I know and have been through but turned out to be meaningless to me, was when I was assessed by a Canadian Expert in applying for a working VISA. Sadly, my credentials did not meet the requirements, so I guess it’s the reason why the result was an application for a student VISA only.

A lot of resources was given by Teacher Malou. As part of my learning, I even posted my notes in one of the categories here entitled “Basic Terminologies used in Assessment” which can also be found at On that page you’ll see all the Definition of Terms.

I’d like to share from the compilation of definition in Eric Soulsby assessment notes, wherein it was noted that assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning & development. This one has been closely similar to the one I thought was the meaning of assessment.

By reading the entire resources provided, I realized that words and terms were often used interchangeably. Obviously, each term was distinct from the others. I cited an example to clarify the distinctions from the suggested resources of our dear FIC. Below is some of it:

 Assessment VS.  Evaluation

Distinctions Assessment Evaluation
Process Assessment of a process means we are understanding the state or the condition of a process through objective measurements and observations Evaluation is determining the value of something.
Timing More of an ongoing process. It is formative. More of a final process. It is summative.
Focus of Measurement Known as process-oriented. That means it focuses on improving the process Known as product-oriented. That means it focuses on the quality of the process
Administrator and Recipient The relationship administrator and recipient share in assessment is reflective. There are internally defined goals. The relationship administrator and recipient share in evaluation is prescriptive as there are standards that are externally imposed
Findings For identifying areas that need improvement. Judgmental in evaluation as they come to an overall score
Modifiability of Criteria Criteria are flexible in assessment as they can be changed Criteria are fixed in evaluation to punish the failures and reward the success.
Relationship between the students The students are trying to learn from each other The students are trying to defeat one another.
Standards of Measurements Standards are set to reach ideal outcomes Standards are set to separate better and worse.

The best part I understand about the difference of assessment from evaluation is the table that shows comparison of characteristics. It is the dimension and distinction in each other. Below shows the table I mentioned a while ago:

Comparison of Characteristics
Assessment vs Evaluation

Assessment Evaluation
Cyclical – ongoing to improve learning
final to gauge quality
How learning is going
What’s been learned
Internally defined criteria/goals
Externally imposed standards
Identify areas for improvement
Arrive at an overall grade/score
Flexible –
Adjust as problems are clarified
Fixed –
Determine success or failure in reaching desired outcome

Assessment in education is done in order to improve the process. The assessment pays attention to learning, teaching, as well as the outcomes.

A good example of the distinction from assessment to evaluation is when it comes to the TIMING. An assessment can be a small paper given to the students by the lecturer. Some give the test at the beginning of the course to find out what the students know already about the subject. During my elementary days, it was called Pre-test. ( I finally realized now why there are rumors about the test that you should at least have a lower grade from pre-test and a higher grade from the Post-test). Either way, it is not only for the benefit of the students but also to the lecturer to have a general idea on how to arrange the course content to suit the needs of the student.

On the other hand, evaluation when it comes to TIMING, is the final process that is determined to understand the quality of the process and this is graded. This type of test was called Post-test (again, this was the term used in my time in elementary days).

To sum it all according to my learning, Assessment, in relation to educational and instructional concept is a continuous systematic process of gathering , analyzing and interpreting of evidences done to identify areas that needs improvement in students with regards to what they have learnt. These are set to achieve ideal outcomes as well. Assessment in education should be precise and accurate using correct measurement called Direct measures such as exams/tests, papers, projects, presentations, portfolios, performances, etc.

Thank you for reading!

Kindly post your replies, comments or suggestions if you have. All will be highly appreciated.

Happy learning!






Basic Terminologies used in Assessment



Evaluation is a judgment by the instructor or educational researcher about whether the program or instruction has met its Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO).


A method to determine a student’s ability to complete certain tasks or demonstrate mastery of a skill or knowledge of content. Some types would be multiple choice tests, or a weekly spelling test. While it is commonly used interchangeably with assessment, or even evaluation, it can be distinguished by the fact that a test is one form of an assessment.


Grading could be considered a component of assessment, i.e., a formal, summative, final and product-oriented judgment of overall quality of worth of a student’s performance or achievement in a particular educational activity, e.g., a course. Generally, grading also employs a comparative standard of measurement and sets up a competitive relationship between those receiving the grades.


Measurement is the process of knowing about physical qualities of objects and individuals such as length, weight, height, volume, density, and so on.


The standard by which students performance is evaluated. Performance criteria help assessors maintain objectivity and provide students with important information about expectations, giving them a target or goal to strive for. (New Horizons for Learning)


Learning objectives are brief statements that describe what students will be expected to learn by the end of school year, course, unit, lesson, project, or class period. In many cases, learning objectives are the interim academic goals that teachers establish for students who are working toward meeting more comprehensive learning standards. Learning objectives are also a way to establish and articulate academic expectations for students so they know precisely what is expected of them. When learning objectives are clearly communicated to students, the reasoning goes, students will be more likely to achieve the presented goals. Conversely, when learning objectives are absent or unclear, students may not know what’s expected of them, which may then lead to confusion, frustration, or other factors that could impede the learning process.


Operational statements describing specific student behaviors that evidence the acquisition of desired knowledge, skills, abilities, capacities, attitudes or dispositions. Learning outcomes can be usefully thought of as behavioral criteria for determining whether students are achieving the educational objectives of a program, and, ultimately, whether overall program goals are being successfully met. Outcomes are sometimes treated as synonymous with objectives, though objectives are usually more general statements of what students are expected to achieve in an academic program. (Allen, Noel, Rienzi & McMillin, 2002)


Constructs vary in their ease of measurement, with some constructs being relatively easy to assess and others requiring more subtle or indirect measurement. The construct is a proposed attribute of a person that often cannot be measured directly, but can be assessed using a number of indicators or manifest variables. Constructs are also discussed under other labels, such as theoretical constructs or latent variables, which are interchangeable terms.


When important decisions are made based on test scores, it is critical to avoid bias, which may unfairly influence examinees’ scores. Bias is the presence of some characteristic of an item that results in differential performance for individuals of the same ability but from different ethnic, sex, cultural, or religious groups.

 Assessment VS.  Evaluation:

Comparison of Chracteristics
Assessment vs Evaluation
Assessment Evaluation
Cyclical – ongoing to improve learning
final to gauge quality
How learning is going
What’s been learned
Internally defined criteria/goals
Externally imposed standards
Identify areas for improvement
Arrive at an overall grade/score
Adjust as problems are clarified
Determine success or failure in reaching desired outcome

Measurement vs Evaluation

Measurement is the process of knowing about physical qualities of objects and individuals such as length, weight, height, volume, density, and so on. On the other hand there are circumstances where measurement is not possible. This is where evaluation is done on the basis of either comparison or assessment. Evaluation helps in passing judgment about policies, performances, processes, and so on.


Reliability VS. Validity

  • Reliability refers to the reproducibility of a measurement. Validity refers to the similarity between the experiment value and the true value.
  • Reliability is related with the consistency of the measurements whereas validity is focused more on how accurate the measurements are.
  • By saying “a sample is reliable,” it doesn’t mean it is valid.

• Reliability is related with precision, whereas validity is related with accuracy.



Direct measures are regularly employed to measure learning in the classroom. Direct measures are those that measure student learning by assessing actual samples of student work. Examples include: exams/tests, papers, projects, presentations, portfolios, performances, etc. Because direct measures capture what students can actually do, they are considered best for measuring levels of achievement of student learning on specific outcomes.

Indirect measures provide a less concrete view of student learning; for example, attitudes, perceptions, feelings, values, etc. Indirect measures imply student learning by employing self-reported data and reports. Indirect measures help to substantiate instances of student learning. Indirect measures include surveys, interviews, course evaluations, and reports on retention, graduation, and placement, etc. Indirect measures are best situated at program or university level assessment. These measures are commonly in conjunction with direct measures of student learning.

Norm-referenced / criterion-referenced test

Norm-referenced tests are designed to rank test takers on a “bell curve,” or a distribution of scores that resembles, when graphed, the outline of a bell—i.e., a small percentage of students performing poorly, most performing average, and a small percentage performing well.

In elementary and secondary education, criterion-referenced tests are used to evaluate whether students have learned a specific body of knowledge or acquired a specific skill set. For example, the curriculum taught in a course, academic program, or content area. If students perform at or above the established expectations—for example, by answering a certain percentage of questions correctly—they will pass the test, meet the expected standards, or be deemed “proficient.”



Continuing education, makes sense!

Each person have different reasons for continuing their education. Every one has their own purpose. I maybe one of them. So, is this making sense?

According to Paulo Freire, he believed that “education makes sense because women and men learn that through the learning they can make and remake themselves”. For other people, it’s all about more money and different life. For me, continuing education is important. Here’s why:

  1. Be more qualified for the position – because employers now are looking for the most qualified candidates for the job.
  2. Gain confidence – A good leader should have a complete confidence that will help expand not only their horizons, but with others (especially as an educator).
  3. Improve discipline – the higher the education is, the more focused we are to get things done.
  4. Security in the future – any credentials, we earn, stays with us for life.
  5. Better lifestyle – A degree will help us push through and separate us from the status quo.


What more can I say, It really does make sense.