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The Role of Instructional Objectives in Student Assessments

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  • 0:01 Let's Talk About Objectives
  • 1:15 Objectives and Assessment
  • 2:28 Formative and…
  • 3:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laura Gray

Laura has taught at the secondary and tertiary levels for 20+ years and has a Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning.

In this lesson, we'll define the term 'instructional objectives' and discuss their role in the assessment process. In addition, we'll differentiate between formative and summative assessments.

Let's Talk About Objectives

Many teachers, especially those who are just starting out, loathe the idea of writing objectives. It's just not something that comes naturally to a lot of us. However, from the moment we walked into our very first university-level education class, we were bombarded with the idea that instructional objectives, also called learning objectives or behavioral objectives, were of the utmost importance.

And to a large degree, this is true.

Instructional objectives, which must always be measurable and observable, serve several functions. First, they improve communication between:

  • Our students and us
  • The students' parents and us
  • The school administration and us

This is because they state, categorically, what a student will be able to do at the end of a particular lesson or unit. Second, they help us to choose appropriate learning activities and teaching materials. We would be hard-pressed to know which types of resources to use if we didn't have some idea of what our students should be expected to do at the end. Finally, they drive the assessment process. Yes, you read that correctly. They literally drive the entire assessment process. Without objectives, we would have absolutely no idea what to test our students on, much less what should be asked on the test.

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