Alignment

Last week’s unit of study presented the idea of alignment. Alignment of assessments, learning objectives, instructional activities and outcomes was all new to me but it was great to learn these things. It reminded me of a teacher I had recently who designed the course work with many activities, mostly essay type. We were asked to actively join in the discussions, submit assignments that required analysis and evaluation, and read tons of articles regarding the subject. Final exam day came and I finally saw my test paper and felt like passing out. The assessment was mostly recalling of facts, facts that we passively discussed. I was also asked to define acronyms of sorts, acronyms that we didn’t even focus on.I tried to answer the test as best as I could but I knew in my heart that I failed it. I was so disappointed at the teacher because I felt like the assessment she gave was misaligned with the instructional activities she provided.

After learning about alignment. It became clear to me that her assessment was inappropriate at all. I wonder if she had reflected on the results of our test as well and asked herself what went wrong. Oftentimes, teachers are so busy at giving difficult exams for the sake of giving those kinds of exam without aligning them with their objectives and instructional plans. And who else suffer but students. Did the result reflect what students have actually learned? No. It is a result of poorly designed assessment.

Moreover, the main purpose of assessment is to improve teaching and student learning. However, some teachers use assessments mostly for summative purposes. If the students performed well, teachers think that it’s because of their effort. But if students failed, then it’s students’ fault. With this kind of thinking, how will the teachers improve their teaching?

Now that I’m equipped with this vital knowledge then I should be able to apply it in my teaching as best as I could. I know that it will take a lot of effort and time in planning a well aligned assessment to objectives, instructional plans and outcomes but I know my students and I will reap the rewards later on.

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