Technologies and the Assessment of Higher Order Outcomes

A Snapshot of Academic Practice in Curriculum Alignment
  • Margot McNeillEmail author
  • Maree Gosper
  • John Hedberg


Alignment between the intended learning outcomes, the teaching and learning activities and the assessment tasks is one of the keys to student engagement, to involve students in a ‘web of consistency’ (Biggs, Teaching for quality learning at university.p 26 2007). While higher order learning such as evaluation, problem solving and creative thinking; espoused as fundamentals of university learning, appear in many graduate attribute statements, previous studies suggest that designing the curriculum to elicit and assess these higher order learning outcomes poses a challenge for academics (McNeill, Gosper and Hedberg, 2010. Emerging Web 2.0 technologies have been heralded as having potential to support this type of assessment, yet in order to take advantage of these affordances, academics need the skills to integrate them into the curriculum to support learning and assessment. This paper reports the results of a survey conducted in an Australian University to explore the types of learning outcomes academics target in their curricula and how technologies are used to assess these outcomes. The results suggest that while many academics intend higher order outcomes, they are less likely to design their teaching activities or assessment tasks accordingly. Amongst the implications of the study is the need to support unit convenors in designing their curriculum to take advantage of the potential for emerging tools to support assessment of higher order outcomes.


Higher-order Results Higher-order Learning Outcomes Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) Assessment Tasks (ATs) Moderate Extent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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