Aligning assessment with Threshold Learning Outcomes in the Creative and Performing Arts

Assessment in Music

Mapping stages

Stage one
In the first stage of the process, the team collated the learning objectives for each undergraduate assessment item and mapped the relationship between these assessment tasks and the nineteen Griffith University Graduate Attributes (GGAs). These were further aligned with the Creative and Performing Arts Threshold Learning Outcomes according to the equivalencies and overlaps between these sets of statements identified earlier by the team. This process was made less arduous by the reporting functions in Griffith University’s Electronic Course Profile System, which allows all the core courses in a program to be selected, then every assessment item in all those courses can be extracted with the Griffith Graduate Attributes assessed by each of these assessment activities included. The initial analysis indicated that all Griffith Graduate Attributes (and by extension, CAPA TLOs) were assessed repeatedly in all the programs studied.

For example, in the Bachelor of Popular Music (BPM) program, a comparison of mapping data from semester two, 2011 and semester two 2012 reveals that the least frequently assessed Griffith Graduate Attribute was E1, Awareness of and respect for the values and knowledges of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Peoples which was assessed twice in the 2012 course profiles. On average, Griffith Graduate Attributes were each assessed more than 20 times in semester 2 2011 in the 34 assessment activities analysed, and more than 18 times in semester 2 2012 over 23 assessment items. This translates to the Threshold Learning Outcomes in the Creative and Performing Arts being assessed between 28 and 34 times across the duration of the degree program.

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If the claims in course profiles are valid, then the required learning outcomes are being thoroughly assessed in this program.

The test applied in consideration of the validity of a claim that a particular Griffith Graduate Attribute was being assessed by a particular assessment item was that all students achieving a pass mark for that assessment item would have demonstrated that attribute, not that they might possibly have demonstrated that attribute. An analysis of the initial mapping of assessment items revealed that existing claims for alignment seemed excessive. Particularly noticeable were the large number of courses that claimed to be assessing for capacity to recognize, reflect and engage critically on social, cultural and ethical issues, and apply local and international perspectives.

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Stage two
With regard to the results of data collection in stage one, a form of consensus moderation was requested whereby QCGU staff members responsible for the design of course profiles consulted with another academic to ensure they were in consensus as to the claims made for the assessment of Griffith Graduate Attributes and where necessary, modify selected assessment practices to improve alignment. A second mapping was then conducted. Assessment tasks were further categorised to align with the new Griffith Assessment type titles.


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