Using Biggs’ Model of Constructive Alignment in Curriculum Design

The main theoretical underpinning of the outcomes-based curriculum is provided by Biggs (2003). He calls the model constructive alignment which he defines as:

…coherence between assessment, gt strategeachinies and intended learning outcomes in an educational programme. (McMahon & Thakore 2006)


As currently articulated, the model is attributed to Biggs (2003, 1999) but the essentials were formulated by Tyler (1949) some 50 years earlier – and elaborated in the 1980s by Shuell (1986). At its most basic, the model requires alignment between the three key areas of the curriculum, namely, the intended learning outcomes, what the student does in order to learn, how the student is assessed. This is expressed in Figure 1 with a concrete example given as Figure 2.

Figure 1: A Basic Model of an Aligned Curriculum.

"Figure 1: A Basic Model of an Aligned Curriculum."

Figure 2: An Example of Constructive Alignment in a Curriculum

Examples of Alignment from Different Modules

Learning Outcomes:
On completion of this module students should be able:
Assessment Methods Teaching/Learning Activities
To identify the main signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Multiple Choice Questions Lecture on various signs/symptoms,In class exercises/quizzes on terminology.
To formulate end products using selected ingredients Poster Display 15%Presentation of end product 85% Lecture presenting case studies of the design history of some market leaders.Students plan own project and present as poster.

Student projects on food formulation.

To develop and identify an area for research in the discipline 1,000 word research proposal Presentation of examples of research questions,Student discussion groups on research areas.
To demonstrate effective presentational skills In-class graded presentation Practices sessions in the class,Peer-assessment, using set criteria, of others in class.
Title of Module: Evaluating and Reflecting on your Teaching.
On completion of this module you should be able to:
Critically reflective written report containing the following:
Teaching / Learning Activities
Monitor, evaluate and reflect on your teaching and the learning of your students Evidence of having completed the prescribed mentoring – observation cycleA reflective statement of personal and professional gains made from the peer observation process Introductory Group Tutorial – Revision of critical reflection theory (from previous modules).Seminar: Introduction to Peer Observation and the use of a Learning Contract.

Peer mentor sessions.

Use a range of methods to gather student feedback. Evidence of having received and responded to student feedbackA reflective statement of what has been achieved as a result of gathering feedback from students. Workshop:Methods of Gathering Student Feedback

Project: Collecting Student Feedback (using a variety of methods)

Contribute to the debate on the links between research and teaching. Formatively assessed by tutor comments in forum. (In preparation for formal assessment of this outcome in a future module.) On line forum

Biggs actually suggests that teaching and learning activities are designed second and the assessment regime third (page 30). If this sequence is adopted, it is important that activities are designed which enable students to learn how to demonstrate achievement at the highest level described by the outcomes. This can be done by focusing on the verbs within the outcomes that express “the very best understanding that could reasonably be expected” (page 28). (See Figure 3)

Appropriate verbs can be discovered or derived by relating the model to a learning taxonomy. The two most commonly used are that devised by Bloom (1956) as revised by Anderson et al (2001) and that devised by Biggs & Collis (1982). (See Figure 4)

Figure 3: Adapting the Model to Allow for Differential Levels of Achievement.

"Figure 3: Adapting the Model to Allow for Differential Levels of Achievement."

Figure 4: Relating the Constructive Alignment Model to Learning Taxonomies.

Bloom’s Taxonomy
(As revised by Anderson et al 2001)
Biggs’ Proposed Levels of Attainment Biggs & Collis’ SOLO Taxonomy
Synthesis / Creation
design, organise, formulate, propose.Evaluation
judge, appraise, evaluate, compare, assess.
A: The very best understanding Extended Abstract Thinking:
distinguish, analyse, calculate, test, inspect.Application
apply, use, demonstrate, illustrate, practice.
B: Highly Satisfactory Relational Thinking:
explain, describe, discuss, recognise.
C: Quite Satisfactory Multi-structural Thinking
comment upon
define, list, name, recall, record
D: Just a Pass Uni-structural
E: Fail Pre-structural

A better fit with what Biggs says elsewhere in his book, however, is that the assessment regime needs to be thought out before the teaching and learning activities. This is because for students, assessment defines what is important in the curriculum and they will learn what they think will be assessed.

As Biggs put it:

… students learn what they think they will be tested on. This is backwash, when the assessment determines what and how students learn more than the curriculum does. In a poorly aligned system, where the test does not reflect the objectives, this will result in inappropriate surface learning. (Biggs 2003: 140)

Biggs notes that if the assessment regime does not properly reflect curriculum objectives then the result will be inappropriate “surface” learning. He then goes on to propose that educators use the inevitability backwash to secure effective educational reform.

You can’t beat backwash, so join it. Students will always second-guess the assessment task and then learn what they think will meet those requirements. But if those assessment requirements mirror the curriculum, there is no problem. Students will be learning what they are supposed to be learning. Ibid: 210.

This concept of backwash is a key element of, and justification for, the adoption of Bigg’s Model of Constructive Alignment because it is validated by a great deal of independent research (Atkins et al 1993, Ramsden 1992, Scouller 2000).

This does not, however, in anyway diminish the importance of the other two components of the curriculum. Any review or revision of any one of the three components of an aligned curriculum requires a matching review or revision of the other two. Where a curriculum is not aligned – i.e. where there is a discontinuity between any two of the components – it is likely that there will be a mismatch between intention and product.

At a more complex level, constructive alignment requires a balance and synergy between:

  • the professional goals of the teachers
  • the wants and needs of the students
  • the curriculum
  • the teaching methods used
  • the assessment procedures used and the method or report results
  • the psychological and social climate of the classroom (learning milieu)
  • the psychological and social climate of the institution.

Each of these components needs to work towards the common goals.

Imbalance in the system will lead to poor teaching and surface learning. Non alignment is signified by inconsistencies, unmet expectations, and practices that contradict what we preach (Biggs 2003: 26)

Figure 5: Examples of Alignment from Different Modules

Learning Outcomes:
On completion of this module students should be able:
Assessment Methods Teaching/Learning Activities
To identify the main signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Multiple Choice Questions Lecture on various signs/symptoms,In class exercises/quizzes on terminology.
To formulate end products using selected ingredients Poster Display 15%Presentation of end product 85% Lecture presenting case studies of the design history of some market leaders.Students plan own project and present as poster.

Student projects on food formulation.

To develop and identify an area for research in the discipline 1,000 word research proposal Presentation of examples of research questions,Student discussion groups on research areas.
To demonstrate effective presentational skills In-class graded presentation Practices sessions in the class,Peer-assessment, using set criteria, of others in class.

Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK)

dok_blooms_comparison_Page_1.jpgThe Common Core Standards are the cornerstones of the Smarter Balanced and PARCC assessments, Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (scale of cognitive demand) and Blooms Revised Taxonomy (levels of intellectual ability) are the framework and the structures that will be used to evaluate students. Assessing curriculum, developing formative assessments, evaluation curriculum, and evaluation of students knowledge at the highest levels is being shared by two progressive cognitive matrices. Depth of knowledge, and complexity of knowledge is the heart of the more rigorous assessments being implemented in 2014. They share many ideas and concepts yet are different in level of cognitive demand, level of difficulty, complexity of verbs vs. depth of thinking required, and the scale of cognitive demand. Teachers need to learn how the frameworks are used to develop curriculum and how to use them to enhance instructions. Teachers and students can use Blooms Questions Stems and Webb’s DOK questions stems to create higher order thinking and improve achievement. 80% of the PARCC assessments will be based on the highest levels of blooms and the deepest levels of Webb’s DOK. Are you ready to use the DOK or Blooms daily in your class?

The links below are a great resources of Blooms Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge.

Sources from From

Exercise 3 – Gestalt Adoptation in Drawing

Exercise 3: 11 APRIL 2017

    • TASK 1: Discuss about the nature of arts, what do you understand the meaning of art as form
    • TASK 2: Could you find the each following viewpoint has been proposed as a way to differentiate art from human activities and illuminate certain aspect of art?
      • Behavioural
      • Conceptual
      • Contextual
      • Expressive
      • Formal
      • Mimesis
      • Relative
      • Symbolic
  2. PRACTICAL ASSIGNMENT :Student need to draw a technical drawing by considering Gestalt Theory. The drawing should emphasize of depth, space and texture
  3. All tasks should be posted at individual e-Portfolio

PROJECT 1 Preparation

  1. Find examples of geometric pattern
  2. Draw the motive/pattern & study the color
  3. Study the monochromatic color that you choose for 1st project
    • Monochrome Color
    • Canvas (1 1/2 feet x 2 1/2 feet)
    • Please prepare your resources on 18 April 2017
    • Tasks should be posted at individual e-Portfolio

Art Critism – Four Levels of Formal Analysis


Four levels of formal analysis, which you can use to explain a work of art:

Description = Pure description of the object without value judgments, analysis, or interpretation.

It answers the question, “What do you see?” The various elements that constitute a description include:

  • Form of art whether architecture, sculpture, painting or one of the minor arts
  • Medium of work whether clay, stone, steel, paint, etc., and technique (tools used)
  • Size and scale of work (relationship to person and/or frame and/or context)
  • Elements or general shapes (architectural structural system) within the composition, including building of post-lintel construction or painting with several figures lined up in a row; identification of objects
  • Description of axis whether vertical, diagonal, horizontal, etc.
  • Description of line, including contour as soft, planar, jagged, etc.
  • Description of how line describes shape and space (volume); distinguish between lines of objects and lines of composition, e.g., thick, thin, variable, irregular, intermittent, indistinct, etc.
  • Relationships between shapes, e.g., large and small, overlapping, etc.
  • Description of color and color scheme = palette
  • Texture of surface or other comments about execution of work
  • Context of object: original location and date

Analysis = determining what the features suggest and deciding why the artist used such features to convey specific ideas.

It answers the question, “How did the artist do it?” The various elements that constitute analysis include:

  • Determination of subject matter through naming iconographic elements, e.g., historical event, allegory, mythology, etc.
  • Selection of most distinctive features or characteristics whether line, shape, color, texture, etc.
  • Analysis of the principles of design or composition, e.g., stable, repetitious, rhythmic, unified, symmetrical, harmonious, geometric, varied, chaotic, horizontal or vertically oriented, etc.
  • Discussion of how elements or structural system contribute to appearance of image or function
  • Analysis of use of light and role of color, e.g., contrasty, shadowy, illogical, warm, cool, symbolic, etc.
  • Treatment of space and landscape, both real and illusionary (including use of perspective), e.g., compact, deep, shallow, naturalistic, random
  • Portrayal of movement and how it is achieved
  • Effect of particular medium(s) used
  • Your perceptions of balance, proportion and scale (relationships of each part of the composition to the whole and to each other part) and your emotional
  • Reaction to object or monument

Interpretation = establishing the broader context for this type of art.

It answers the question, “Why did the artist create it and what does it mean. The various elements that constitute interpretation include:

  • Main idea, overall meaning of the work.
  • Interpretive Statement: Can I express what I think the artwork is about in one sentence?
  • Evidence: What evidence inside or outside the artwork supports my interpretation

Judgment: Judging a piece of work means giving it rank in relation to other works and of course considering a very important aspect of the visual arts; its originality.

Is it a good artwork?

  • ·Criteria: What criteria do I think are most appropriate for judging the artwork?
  • Evidence: What evidence inside or outside the artwork relates to each criterion?
  • Judgment: Based on the criteria and evidence, what is my judgment about the quality of the artwork?

Barrett’s Principles of Interpretation

  1.  Artworks have “aboutness” and demand interpretation.
  2. Interpretations are persuasive arguments.
  3. Some interpretations are better than others.
  4. Good interpretations of art tell more about the artwork than they tell about the critic.
  5. Feelings are guides to interpretations.
  6. There can be different, competing, and contradictory interpretations of the same artwork.
  7. Interpretations are often based on a worldview.
  8. Interpretations are not so much absolutely right, but more or less reasonable, convincing, enlightening, and informative.
  9. Interpretations can be judged by coherence, correspondence, and inclusiveness.
  10. An artwork is not necessarily about what the artist wanted it to be about.
  11. A critic ought not to be the spokesperson for the artist.
  12. Interpretations ought to present the work in its best rather than its weakest light.
  13. The objects of interpretation are artworks, not artists.
  14. All art is in part about the world in which it emerged.
  15. All art is in part about other art.
  16. No single interpretation is exhaustive of the meaning of an artwork.
  17. The meanings of an artwork may be different from its significance to the viewer. Interpretation is ultimately a communal endeavor, and the community is ultimately self- corrective.
  18. Good interpretations invite us to see for ourselves and to continue on our own


  • Barrett, Terry. (1994) Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Publishing Company.
  • Art Critism Activity



Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences makes people think about “IQ,” about being “smart.” The theory is changing the way some teachers teach.

When Howard Gardner’s book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Basic Books, 1983) burst on the scene, it seemed to answer many questions for experienced teachers. We all had students who didn’t fit the mold; we knew the students were bright, but they didn’t excel on tests. Gardner’s claim that there are several different kinds of intelligence gave us and others involved with teaching and learning a way of beginning to understand those students. We would look at what they could do well, instead of what they could not do.

Later Gardner books, such as The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach (Basic Books, 1991) and Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice (Basic Books, 1993) helped us understand how multiple intelligences could help us teach and evaluate our students in new and better ways.


Howard Gardner, Ph.D. is a professor at Harvard University and the author of many books and articles. His theory of multiple intelligences has challenged long-held assumptions about intelligence — especially about a single measure of intelligence. Dr. Gardner also co-directs Harvard’s Project Zero.Slide1.jpgSlide2.jpgSlide3.jpgSlide4.jpgSlide5.jpg


Gardner discussed the “eighth intelligence” with Kathy Checkley, in an interview for Educational Leadership, The First Seven… and the Eighth. Gardner said, “The naturalist intelligence refers to the ability to recognize and classify plants, minerals, and animals, including rocks and grass and all variety of flora and fauna. The ability to recognize cultural artifacts like cars or sneakers may also depend on the naturalist intelligence. …(S)ome people from an early age are extremely good at recognizing and classifying artifacts. For example, we all know kids who, at 3 or 4, are better at recognizing dinosaurs than most adults.”

Gardner identified Charles Darwin as a prime example of this type of intelligence.

The naturalist intelligence meshed with Gardner’s definition of intelligence as “…the human ability to solve problems or to make something that is valued in one or more cultures.” And the naturalist intelligence met Gardner’s specific criteria:

  • “Is there a particular representation in the brain for the ability?
  • “Are there populations that are especially good or especially impaired in an intelligence?
  • “And, can an evolutionary history of the intelligence be seen in animals other than human beings?”


When asked how educators should implement the theory of multiple intelligences, Gardner says, It’s very important that a teacher take individual differences among kids very seriously … The bottom line is a deep interest in children and how their minds are different from one another, and in helping them use their minds well.”

An awareness of multiple-intelligence theory has stimulated teachers to find more ways of helping all students in their classes. Some schools do this by adapting curriculum. In “Variations on a Theme: How Teachers Interpret MI Theory,” (Educational Leadership, September 1997), Linda Campbell describes five approaches to curriculum change:

  • Lesson design. Some schools focus on lesson design. This might involve team teaching (“teachers focusing on their own intelligence strengths”), using all or several of the intelligences in their lessons, or asking student opinions about the best way to teach and learn certain topics.
  • Interdisciplinary units. Secondary schools often include interdisciplinary units.
  • Student projects. Students can learn to “initiate and manage complex projects” when they are creating student projects.
  • Assessments. Assessments are devised which allow students to show what they have learned. Sometimes this takes the form of allowing each student to devise the way he or she will be assessed, while meeting the teacher’s criteria for quality.
  • Apprenticeships. Apprenticeships can allow students to “gain mastery of a valued skill gradually, with effort and discipline over time.” Gardner feels that apprenticeships “…should take up about one-third of a student’s schooling experience.”

With an understanding of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, teachers, school administrators, and parents can better understand the learners in their midst. They can allow students to safely explore and learn in many ways, and they can help students direct their own learning. Adults can help students understand and appreciate their strengths, and identify real-world activities that will stimulate more learning.

Instrument: Multiple Intelligences Test


  1. Armstrong, Thomas. Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1994.
  2. Armstrong, Thomas. 7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Many Intelligences, New York: Plume, 1993.
  3. Armstrong, Thomas. In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child’s Personal Learning Style, New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1987.
  4. Armstrong, Thomas, “Utopian Schools,” Mothering, Winter, 1996.
  5. Armstrong, Thomas. “Multiple Intelligences: Seven Ways to Approach Curriculum,” Educational Leadership, November, 1994.
  6. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Multiple Intelliaences CD-ROM, and Multiple Intelligences Video Series; 1250 N. Pitt St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1453 (800-933-2723).
  7. Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basic,1983
  8. Gardner, Howard. Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice. New York: Basic, 1993.
  9. Gardner, Howard. Intelligence Reframed:  Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century.  New York:  Basic, 2000.
  10. National Professional Resources, 25 South Regent St., Port Chester, NY 10573, 914-937-8879. Producer of several videos on MI including, Howard Gardner, “How Are Kids Smart?” Jo Gusman, “MI and the Second Language Learner”, and Thomas Armstrong, Multiple Intelligences: Discovering the Giftedness in All”.
  11. New City School, Celebrating Multiple Intelligences ( 5209 Waterman Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108).
  12. Skylight Publications, 200 E. Wood St., Suite 250, Palatine, IL 60067 (div. Simon and Schuster). Publisher of many MI materials.
  13. Zephyr Press, PO Box 66006, Tucson, AZ 85728 (602-322-5090). Publisher of many MI materials.

Defining ADDIE Model Paradigms

Overview and Evolution of the ADDIE Training System

The problem and the solution. The workforce of the 21st century is in a continual state of flux.This has created a need by human resource development scholars and practitioners to continue to review best practices in developing a workforce with the latest technology,knowledge, and expertise. Revisiting traditional training models and processes is important as a means of moving forward. Although there are many system models, almost all are based on the generic analysis, design, develop, implement, and evaluate (ADDIE) model that evolved from instructional systems research following World War II. The purposes of this article are to (a) reacquaint the profession with the background and basic concepts of the traditional ADDIE model and (b) compare the original and revised ADDIE models. Subsequent articles in this volume deal with issues and advancements surrounding ADDIE and the ADDIE phases.

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