George Brown is a retired professor from the University of Nottingham

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Why is alignment important?

The alignment of assessment with other features of a course is the basis of course design and central to effective assessment. The model shown in Figure 1 summarises the relationships. If the aims are unclear then the system crumbles. Clear and realistic outcomes provide students with a good guide to what has to be learnt and lecturers with a guide on how to teach and what learning opportunities to provide. Relevant learning opportunities help students to achieve the learning outcomes. Effective assessment methods and tasks are related to the learning outcomes and the methods of learning. If the criteria are too fuzzy or unduly specific then it is difficult for assessors to ensure consistency of judgement and for students to fulfil the demands of the assessment task. Without close links between feedback, criteria and the assessment tasks, lecturers cannot help students to achieve the learning outcomes of a course or a programme.

Figure 1: Aligning Assessment

Intended Learning Outcomes
Methods of Learning

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