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Assessing APSS Students Learning Outcomes. Dr Charles C. Chan 28 Sept 2001. Action. In addition to traditional assessment e.g., GPA Development of a multiple domain structure of student learning outcomes in social work education Cognitive attainment Behavioral competence

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assessing apss students learning outcomes

Assessing APSS Students Learning Outcomes

Dr Charles C. Chan

28 Sept 2001

seminar01102003/workshop on cognitive attainment01102003.ppt

  • In addition to traditional assessment e.g., GPA
  • Development of a multiple domain structure of student learning outcomes in social work education
    • Cognitive attainment
    • Behavioral competence
    • Mortal/ethical judgment


Learning Outcomes

Moral/ ethical


seminar01102003/workshop on cognitive attainment01102003.ppt

student learning outcome cognitive attainment
Student learning outcome: Cognitive attainment

seminar01102003/workshop on cognitive attainment01102003.ppt

across levels
Across Levels

Grade (Norm-referenced)

seminar01102003/workshop on cognitive attainment01102003.ppt

across levels1
Across Levels

Cognitive Attainment (Criterion-referenced)

seminar01102003/workshop on cognitive attainment01102003.ppt

cognitive attainment and the bloom s taxonomy
Cognitive attainment and the Bloom’s taxonomy
  • The six categories are in hierarchical order, each representing one kind of cognitive functioning
  • Comprehensive: the taxonomy has included six different kinds of cognitive functioning which can review a broader picture of student learning outcomes
  • Mutually exclusive: each category has a clear definition and avoid the occurrence of overlapping of categories, hence reduce ambiguity when using it to evaluate student learning outcome
  • The taxonomy can be applied to student’s written work of all different lengths, subjects and topics. The application scope is wide.

seminar01102003/workshop on cognitive attainment01102003.ppt

  • Recalling memorized information. May involve remembering a wide range of material from specific facts to complete theories. Represents the lowest level of learning outcomes in the cognitive domain. Learning objectives at this level: know common TERMS, know specific FACTS, know methods and procedures, know basic concepts, know principles. 


  • The ability to grasp the meaning of material. Translating material from one form to another (words to numbers), interpreting material (explaining or summarizing), estimating future trends (predicting consequences or effects). Goes one step beyond the simple remembering of material, and represent the lowest level of understanding. Learning objectives at this level: understand facts and principles, interpret verbal material, interpret charts and graphs, translate verbal material to mathematical formulae, estimate the future consequences implied in data, justify methods and procedures.

seminar01102003/workshop on cognitive attainment01102003.ppt

  • The ability to use learned material in new and concrete situations. Applying rules, methods, concepts, principles, laws, and theories. Learning outcomes in this area require a higher level of understanding than those under comprehension. Learning objectives at this level: apply concepts and principles to new situations, apply laws and theories to practical situations, solve mathematical problems, construct graphs and charts, demonstrate the correct usage of a method or procedure.


  • The ability to break down material into its component parts. Identifying parts, analysis of relationships between parts, recognition of the organizational principles involved. Learning outcomes here represent a higher intellectual level than comprehension and application because they require an understanding of both the content and the structural form of the material. Learning objectives at this level: recognize unstated assumptions, recognizes logical fallacies in reasoning, distinguish between facts and inferences, evaluate the relevancy of data, analyze the organizational structure of a work (art, music, writing).

seminar01102003/workshop on cognitive attainment01102003.ppt

  • The ability to put parts together to form a new whole. This may involve the production of a unique communication (theme or speech), a plan of operations (research proposal), or a set of abstract relations (scheme for classifying information). Learning outcomes in this area stress creative behaviors, with major emphasis on the formulation of new patterns or structure. Learning objectives at this level: write a well organized paper, give a well organized speech, write a creative short story (or poem or music), propose a plan for an experiment, integrate learning from different areas into a plan for solving a problem, formulate a new scheme for classifying objects (or events, or ideas).


  • The ability to judge the value of material (statement, novel, poem, research report) for a given purpose. The judgments are to be based on definite criteria, which may be internal (organization) or external (relevance to the purpose). The student may determine the criteria or be given them. Learning outcomes in this area are highest in the cognitive hierarchy because they contain elements of all the other categories, plus conscious value judgments based on clearly defined criteria. Learning objectives at this level: judge the logical consistency of written material, judge the adequacy with which conclusions are supported by data, judge the value of a work (art, music, writing) by the use of internal criteria, judge the value of a work (art, music, writing) by use of external standards of excellence.

seminar01102003/workshop on cognitive attainment01102003.ppt

frequently asked questions faqs
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Do we need take into consideration the level of cognitive attainment in calculating the final mark for the subject?

  • No, the cognitive attainment scale is to be used as supplementary measurements scheme that parallel the present grading system. The attained level in this scheme can be seemingly different from that of the final grading of the subject for many good reasons. The level obtained in cognitive attainment would not be counted as part of the students' GPA.

seminar01102003/workshop on cognitive attainment01102003.ppt

2. Should I correlate the levels of cognitive attainment and the final mark for the assignment?
  • No, as the grading system is a norm-referenced scale while the cognitive attainment scale is a criterion-referenced measurement tool, marks obtained in these two scales can be very different. These two scales should be used independently and markings of one scale should not affect the other one.

3. Should I show the results of cognitive attainment to the students?

  • Yes, indeed it gives additional feedback to students and let them plan their learning objectives.

seminar01102003/workshop on cognitive attainment01102003.ppt

4. Why should I use the cognitive attainment scale on top of the usual general grading?
  • The existing grading system has taken into consideration many cross-setting, between students and even cross-level issues in student performance assessment. It is the most familiar and smooth system in operation for APSS; despite its limitations, many of which, perhaps is inherent in the required structure of a norm-referenced assessment system. The main reason to use the criterion-based cognitive attainment scheme parallel to the existing system is to enhance the present system with a criterion-referenced taxonomy, promised to bring into the teacher-student dyad an added dimension of learning objectives. If administered skillfully, this will have a positive impact on a student's learning motivation and direction, beside the general concern for reaching a higher grade, particularly toward the end of their work.

seminar01102003/workshop on cognitive attainment01102003.ppt