The assessment of your students and the strategies you use to measure their learning, need to be driven by the learning objectives for your course. In other words, what you assess needs to be determined by your instructional objectives and the extent to which the learner has achieved those objectives.

        When you write an objective for a course, you are specifying a measurable behavior that the student should be able to demonstrate, something that is an observable outcome after they have completed the instruction. A learning objective generally has four components:

1. Who is the audience? The audience is the person whose behavior you are observing and it is usually the learner. (A for audience)
2. A description of what the student will be able to do (B for the behavior)
3. The conditions under which the student will perform the task or the catalyst for the task (C for conditions or catalyst )
4. The criteria for evaluating student performance, which is how will you determine the extent to which learning is achieved (D for the degree of the performance desired)

        OK, let’s put this altogether for an online class called Writing Hardware Documentation

        For example, the overarching course objective (most likely found in the course description) is: This course examines techniques used to prepare and write operator manuals, maintenance and service manuals for all types of consumer products.

Now let’s demonstrate the ABCD part of writing one good objective for this course.

At the completion of this course, the learner (A) will be able to analyze audience needs and develop content accordingly, (B) given the assigned readings from the text, discussion participation and commentaries posted online (C).

Achievement of these objectives will be successfully demonstrated in a student produced hardware manual or product guide that earns a grade of 70% or better (D).

        In this example, the final assessment for the class involves the production of a short hardware guide or manual which demonstrates comprehensively the synthesis and understanding of the course content.


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