Writing Objectives Presented by: RASHIDA KAUSAR BHATTI 09-925
What is Assessment? • Assessment is the systematic basis for making inferences about the learning and development of students. • Assessment is one component of program evaluation
Why Assess Learning & Development in Student Affairs? • Demonstrate importance of Student Affairs to higher education community • “We are committed to preparing students to become educated and enlightened citizens who will lead productive and meaningful lives.” – JMU Mission Statement • Promote student development • Developmental goals related to academic goals
Make Assessment Meaningful • Think about why you go to work everyday. • How do you want your students to be transformed as a result of your program? • Expand your conceptualization of your program’s goals and objectives beyond the cognitive domains. • Include complex constructs, orientations, values, and attitudes.
Establishing Objectives Selecting/ Designing Instruments Collecting Information Analyzing/ Maintaining Information Using Information Stages of the Assessment Process
Establishing Objectives • This is the hardest step! • In order to create a successful assessment program, clear program goals and objectives must be established and agreed upon. • Objectives drive the assessment process; assessment methods are based on the objectives that are being measured
Workshop Objectives • Upon completion of the workshop, participants will be able to: • Write the correct definition of objective. • State three reasons why objectives are written for courses or programs. • Name the four parts of a good objective. • Rewrite a poorly written objective so that it conforms to the ABCD method.
Why Does My Program Need Objectives? • Provide focus • Provide a means for assessing student success • Allow for self-evaluation
Objectives not tied to the mission?Impossible! • Program objectives should always agree with the program’s mission and philosophy • Objectives are the vehicle for measuring the different components of the mission and philosophy • Since mission statement and philosophy should highlight the most important aspects of a program, they are natural focuses of assessment
Using Objectives to Design Assessments • Objectives dictate the type of assessment to conduct • Looking at the action verb in the objective should indicate the appropriate means of measuring that objective • Example: “recognize”: may indicate matching, multiple choice, etc.– lower-level thinking • Example: “demonstrate”: may indicate a performance assessment, or higher-level demands
Assess ALL Objectives • EVERY objective MUST be measured • Data must be available to show evidence that each objective has been measured • Data can come from standardized objective measures, performance assessments, checklists, or other methods
Assessing Objectives • All of the objectives need not be assessed each year • Decide which objectives to assess in a given year based on program needs or decision-making • Some objectives may be assessed more than others
What is an objective? • Objectives refer to expected or intended student outcomes • Specific knowledge, skills, or attitudes that students are expected to achieve through their college experience CARS Website
General expectations of student outcomes Can be broad and vague Example: Students will understand the General Education requirements at JMU. Statement of what students should be able to do, or how they should change developmentally, as a result of instruction or program More specific; measurable Example: Upon completion of orientation, students will be able to list the five General Education clusters. Goals vs. Objectives Trice (2000) pp. 21-22
Goals and Objectives • Goals can be seen as the broad, general expectations for the program • Objectives can be seen as the means by which those goals are met • PROBLEM: Some program objectives are written as broad and immeasurable.
Goals and Objectives: Example • Goal: Understand the concepts that contribute to career decision-making. • Objective 1: Upon completion of the career and life planning course, students will be able to match a list of JMU majors to appropriate career choices. • Objective 2: Upon completion of the career and life planning course, students will be able to state their own “work personality” as measured by the Work Abilities,Values, and Interests (WAVI) Inventory.
Write objectives that specify • Behavior or activity to be performed by the student • Conditions under which this behavior takes place • Minimum level of acceptable performance Sax (1989), p.65
Student-Focused Outcomes • Objectives should be worded to express what the student will learn, know, or do as a result of instruction or how the student will change developmentally as a result of program – NOT what the instructor or program will do for the student • BAD Objective: Provide students with knowledge about how the library works. • BETTER Objective: After taking the Research Methods course, students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of how the library works by finding ten sources for a research paper in Carrier Library.
Reasonable Objectives • Objectives should be reasonable; that is, they should reflect learning or development that the student can accomplish in the course or program. • BAD Objective: Students will demonstrate open-mindedness for all cultures by strongly agreeing with all of the items on the Open-Mindedness Inventory (OMI). • BETTER Objective: Upon completion of the Study Abroad program, participants will show an increase in open-mindedness through a 10-point increase on the OMI.
Observable, Measurable Objectives • Student learning and development should be assessed with an observable, measurable objective. Objectives such as “know” and “understand” are not observable. • BAD Objective: Students will know about JMU’s alternative spring break program. • BETTER Objective: Students will be able to describe JMU’s ASB program. • OR: Students will be able to evaluate the impact of the ASB program.
Specific Objectives • Objectives should specify the criterion of acceptable student performance. • BAD Objective: The student will learn how to take better notes. • BETTER Objective: Students from the study skills course will demonstrate mastery of note-taking techniques by correctly using at least three different note-taking methods for classroom lectures.
Subject Matter: Discipline-related subject matter that students are expected to learn such as vocabulary, principles, and theories Erwin (1991), pp. 37-39 Developmental: Cognitive developmental objectives – higher-order thinking skills Affective developmental objectives – attitudinal, personal and social dimensions nurtured through the college experience Subject Matter vs. Developmental Objectives
Developmental Objectives • Can be difficult to assess • Measured only indirectly – through behavior that represents the attitude or value • Usually takes longer than one semester for people to change developmentally • Terms or constructs may be vague Erwin (1991), p. 43
Bloom’s Taxonomy Less complex More complex
Bloomin’ Verbs Trice( 2000) p. 81; Grendler (1999), p. 69
Verbs for Developmental Objectives Example: Upon completion of service learning orientation, freshmen will volunteer for community service at least 10 hours per semester. From “Mager’s Tips on Instructional Objectives”
Another Example • It may take more than one objective to get at “a sense of social responsibility”. • Example: Upon completion of service learning orientation, freshmen will show a ten-point increase on the Social Responsibility Index (SRI).
The ABCD Method • A = Audience • What population are you assessing? • B = Behavior • What is expected of the participant? • C = Conditions • Under what circumstances is the behavior to be performed? • D = Degree • How well must the behavior be performed? To what level? From “How to Write Clear Objectives”
The ABCD Method: Example • Objective: Given the opportunity to work in groups, students will develop a positive attitude towards working in groups, as measured by a two-point increase on an attitudinal survey given at the beginning and end of the course. Adapted from “How to Write Clear Objectives”
Common Mistakes • Vague behavior • Example: Have a thorough understanding of particle physics. • Gibberish • Example: Have a deep awareness and thorough humanizing grasp on… • Instructor behavior • Example: Train students on how and where to find information. From “Mager’s Tips on Instructional Objectives”
Summary • Ask yourself: What is the intended result of the program in terms of the participant? • Objectives will answer: • What should the participant be able to do? • Under what conditions? • How well?
Summary • Write student-oriented learning and development objectives • Use action verbs that are measurable • ALL objectives MUST be assessed • Be realistic • Be specific
References: Chohan S.S., (1989), Innovations in Teaching and Learning Process. Masjid Road, Jangpura, New Delhi, India. Shahid,S.M.(2000) Modern Approaches to Teaching, Majeed Book Depot, Urdu Bazar, Lahore. Wheeler,D.K.(1983) Curriculum Process (1983),13th Edition, Hoddor and Stoughton.UK.