Aligning Assessments With Course Outcomes

In this module, faculty learn how to design assessments that most effectively and efficiently allow students to demonstrate mastery of course outcomes. In addition, the module includes techniques to help students prepare to meet assessment expectations.

To satisfy the module requirements, practicing faculty must apply at least one technique, such as revising a course assessment based on the cognitive levels of applicable learning outcomes, developing an assessment blueprint, or creating a course assessment plan.

This module is one of five modules under ACUE’s unit on Designing an Effective Course and Class.

Advising Subject Matter Expert

Thomas Angelo
Professor, Educational Innovation and Research
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Module References

Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Angelo, T. A. (1995). Improving classroom assessment to improve learning. Assessment Update, 7(6), 1–2, 13–14.

Angelo, T. A. (2012). Designing subjects for learning: Practical, research-based principles and guidelines. In L. Hunt & D. Chalmers (Eds.), University teaching in focus: A learning-centred approach (pp. 93–111). Melbourne, Australia: ACER Press.

Biggs, J. B., & Tang, C. S-k. (2007). Teaching for quality learning at university (3rd ed.). Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.

Brown, S., & Race, P. (2012). Using effective assessment to promote learning. In L. Hunt & D. Chalmers (Eds.), University teaching in focus: A learning-centred approach (pp. 74–91). Melbourne, Australia: ACER Press.

Carnegie Mellon University, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation. (n.d.). Whys and hows of assessment. Retrieved from

International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. (2014). Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives and writing intended learning outcomes statements. Retrieved from

James, R., & McInnis, C. (2001). Strategically re-positioning student assessment: A discussion paper on assessment of student learning in universities. Centre for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Melbourne. Retrieved from

Kan, C. K. (2010, August). Using test blueprint in classroom assessment: Why and how. Paper presented at the 36th International Association for Educational Assessment (IAEA) Annual Conference, Bangkok, Thailand. Retrieved from

Myers, C. B., & Myers, S. M. (2007). Assessing assessment: The effects of two exam formats on course achievement and evaluation. Innovative Higher Education, 31, 227–236.

Nilson, L. B. (2010). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

O’Brien, K. (2010, October 3). The test has been canceled: Final exams are quietly vanishing from college. The Boston Globe. Retrieved from

Popham, W. J. (2003). Test better, teach better: The instructional role of assessment. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Reiner, C. M., Bothell, T. W., Sudweeks, R. R., & Wood, B. (2002). How to prepare effective essay questions: Guidelines for university faculty. Retrieved from

Stiggins, R. J. (1997). Student-centered classroom assessment (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

Suskie, L. (2009). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Twigg, C. A. (2003). Improving learning and reducing costs: New models for online learning. EDUCAUSE Review, 38(5), 28–38.

Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (expanded 2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.