Learning Objectives

Writing Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are at the center of the learning experience, much like the sun is at the center of the universe. Many people mistakenly place the content at the center much like scientists formerly placed the earth at the center of the solar system.

Learning objectives should answer the following questions:

An example of this type of objective might be:

Given a week-long unit on the water cycle, students will be able define the phases of the cycle flawlessly.

Objective tips:

 

Table of Specifications

So, how do we get our assessment questions to correlate with our classroom objectives? One way is to use a Table of Specifications. I use a Table of Specifications that incorporates Bloom's Revised Taxonomy of Higher-Level Thinking. It looks something like this:

 
Remember
Understand
Apply
Analyze
Evaluate
Create
Objective 1            
Objective 2            
Objective 3            
etc.            

Fill in the objectives on the left and then complete the table with the question numbers from the assessment that fulfill those objectives. For example:

 
Remember
Understand
Apply
Analyze
Evaluate
Create
Define phases of the water cycle #1, 2, 3          
Identify variables affecting the water cycle       #4, 5    
Find examples of the water cycle     #6      
etc.            

Match the questions to the levels of Bloom's taxonomy by examining the verbs used in the questions. For example, questions with verbs like define or recognize would definitely be "Remember" questions, whereas questions with verbs like organize or determine why would be "Analyze" questions. (See the Revised Taxonomy). Reviewing an entire test in this manner would ensure content validity - or in other words, ensure that the questions on the test matched the content taught in class. Also, it is a time to checking to make sure that the questions cover more than factual recall.

 

 

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