Curriculum Assessment: Development and Design


If you have designed or redesigned a course, then you have likely taken part in conversations about the course syllabus, and incorporating Active Learning into the course goals. In general, both in the K-12 and college settings, courses are required to have a syllabus prepared in advance, and that the syllabus will be one of the first items in the course that the students review. Typically, the syllabus includes course information and defines expectations and responsibilities. Below are links to a comprehensive checklist of key points to have in all of your courses' syllabi, worksheet guides that offer options for incorporating active learning into your instruction sessions, as well as examples of syllabi from my 2017-2018 courses at the College of St. Scholastica:

Syllabi Examples (My 2017-2018 College of St. Scholastica courses):


Enhancing Learning and More! Through Cooperative Learning (pdf)
Some of education's most demanding objectives include enhancing critical thinking, promoting "deep" (as opposed to superficial) learning, encouraging both self-worth and respect for others, and developing interpersonal effectiveness. This paper describes cooperative learning, an instructional approach designed specifically for these reasons.

Basic Cooperative Learning Structures
Advanced Cooperative Learning Structures

Organizing and Conducting a Class Discussion or Review
Classroom instructors often have as a goal the encouragement of student participation in class. When the students are actively involved in manipulating ideas and information, they have a much greater chance of learning them and remembering them. The ideas presented here should help you get your students responding and learning in class.

Evaluating Discussion
The discussion method of teaching, according to Wilbert McKeachie (1978) and summarized in the review by Smith (1978), has most often been used when goals of instruction are to: stimulate critical thinking, develop interest in further learning and give the teacher information about how well instructional objectives are being met.

The Discussion Class: Interaction Functions
The discussion class is essentially a small group attempting to complete a task. As such, the class can function more efficiently if the individual members are aware of the kinds of actions they can take to make things move smoothly. Each of us has a typical way of acting in a group. Some people like to lead, some act to keep the group focused on the task and some serve to keep the group from taking itself too seriously. Listed here are several different ways people normally act in a group. Which ones describe your own style?

Why Write Objectives? (pdf)
Effective teaching depends upon 1) how clearly the students understand what they are supposed to learn and 2) how accurately that learning can be measured. Well-written objectives can give studetns precise statements of what is expected of them and provide guidelines for assessing student progress.

Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (pdf)
Brief summary of Taxonomy developed by Benjamin Bloom.

Test Construction: Some Practical Ideas (pdf)
General steps in test construction (elaborations for some of these steps are presented in this document).

Curriculum/Lesson Planning & Curriculum Mapping

Planning is a design of what we want to teach and mapping is a look at the course we actually taught. In education, these can be two very different things. To help understand the format and process of mapping, basic templates and skills are described here.

The Difference between Planning & Mapping:

  • planning is organizing content, not mapping.
  • mapping is reporting, not planning.
  • planning is designing the hypothetical (theoretical) curriculum.
  • mapping is revealing the true (operational) curriculum.

Planning Templates (weekly lessons)

Planning Templates (individual lesson)

Mapping Process Templates:

Additional Curriculum Mapping Templates:

Curriculum Map Examples (3 of my 2008-2009 Marshall School courses):

Curriculum Map Examples (My 2017-2018 College of St. Scholastica courses):


Evaluating and Grading Students (pdf)
The topic of this discussion is the design of an evaluation system for your course. Now you may be saying to yourself, "I haven't even met the class yet. How can I and why should I be thinking about how to evaluate them already?"

Pertinent Questions About Grading (pdf)
The grading system an instructor selects reflects his or her educational philosophy. There are no right or wrong systems, only systems which accomplish different objectives.


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