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Students' perceptions of constructive alignment: validation of a data collection instrument

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Fitzallen, N and Brown, N and Biggs, JB and Tang, Catherine, Students' perceptions of constructive alignment: validation of a data collection instrument, Proceedings of the International Conference on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 2017, 1-2 February 2017, Kuala Terengganu, pp. 19. (2017) [Plenary Presentation]


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Abstract

Quality curriculum design, based on evidence of best practice, is essential for university units if they are to achieve the learning outcomes intended for students. An important quality indicator in curriculum design and teaching strategies generally, is Constructive Alignment (Biggs & Tang, 2011; Higher Education Academy, 2009; Kandlbinder & Peseta, 2011). Constructive alignment is based on (a) the constructivist theory that the construction of knowledge is through the activities of the learner, and (b) the principle of alignment from curriculum theory (Biggs & Tang). It has been adopted across the world, and is one of the five most commonly taught concepts in foundation units for higher education learning and teaching (Kandlbinder & Peseta).

Given the applicability of constructive alignment to curriculum design, it is often the focus of quality assurance and quality enhancement activities in universities. However, when undertaken, degree of constructive alignment is assessed predominantly by resource intensive mapping exercises by academic staff. Studentsí voices in such activities are rare, and where students have been involved in the evaluation of alignment, the process has been complex and time consuming (Kuhn & Rundle-Thiele, 2009; Wang, Su, Cheung, Wong, & Kwong, 2013). In the latter study, Wang and colleagues classified units as exhibiting high and low alignment by interviewing teachers and students and examining course documents. Assessing the degree of constructive alignment in units in this way is painstaking, so a data collection instrument that draws on studentsí perceptions that is quick and easy to administer is likely to be a distinct advantage for the refinement and development of learning experiences and for quality assurance purposes.

To gather student voice, a Constructive Alignment Learning Experience Questionnaire [CALEQ] was developed. The goal is to use this tool to gather evidence of studentsí perceptions of a given unit in relation to: (1) the intended learning outcomes of the unit, (2) how well the teaching/learning activities in that unit help students achieve those outcomes, (3) how well the assessment tasks address what students are supposed to learn, and (4) how feedback given to students supports expected learning. Reported here are the outcomes of the validation process undertaken to determine the extent to which the questions in CALEQ measure studentsí perceptions.

Item Details

Item Type:Plenary Presentation
Keywords:Constructive alignment
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education Systems
Research Field:Higher Education
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Learner and Learning
Objective Field:Learner and Learning Processes
Author:Fitzallen, N (Dr Noleine Fitzallen)
Author:Brown, N (Professor Natalie Brown)
Author:Biggs, JB (Professor John Biggs)
Author:Tang, Catherine (Professor Catherine Tang)
ID Code:124151
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2018-02-09
Last Modified:2018-03-13
Downloads:0

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