Q: If we have a list of goals, why are objectives needed?
A: The objectives represent specific learner outcomes that must be achieved to meet the goals.
Each program should have a list of objectives, along with a list of objectives (learner outcomes) for each course in the program. Clear course objectives serve as a guide for making sound judgments with respect to content selection, instructional strategies, classroom activities and the nature of field placements. There should always be a close link between that which is taught and that which is assessed.
Q: What are the characteristics of a well-written objective?
A: An objective should contain specific learner outcomes that can be measured.
- Ninety per cent of the students taking the Praxis specialty test will achieve the state mandated minimum score.
- On the Assessment of Student Teacher Preparation Instrument for university supervisors,
at least 80% of students will score "strong"; to "very strong"; on both designing
and implementing unit and lesson plans.
Q: How can we make sure that the objectives are aligned with our goals?
A: The objectives should be written with the goals in mind. A good question to ask with respect to each goal is, "What must be done to achieve this goal?" The answer(s) can then be written in the form of an objective.
Q: How can we make sure the objectives for each course are aligned with program objectives?
A: When courses are developed or revised, program objectives should be used as a guide for the development or revision of course objectives.
Q: How can we make sure course objectives are communicated to new faculty?
A: Objectives should be placed on each course outline.
Q: How can course objectives be communicated to students?
A: (1) Objectives should be listed on the syllabus for the course. (2) Course content, projects, and activities should be aligned with the objectives.
Q: Is there a procedure to ensure that program objectives are addressed in all sections of a course?
A: In some departments, faculty members submit a copy of the syllabus that is used for each course they teach. These copies are submitted to the chairperson of the department and can be examined for linkage to program goals/objectives. In other departments, new faculty members and adjuncts may be asked to submit a copy of the syllabus used for each course they teach.
Q: Some of the tests our students take are not developed by us and may not be tied to our program objectives. How can we make sure our students perform well on them?
A: If student scores are weak in a particular area that can be linked to some of the existing program objectives, the area should be matched with the proper course or courses. The content and class activities in those courses should be improved to help the students master the area. If the scores are weak in an area that is not linked by any of the existing goals and/or objectives, faculty should discuss the possibility of writing an objective to address the weakness. If a new objective is written, it should be matched with the proper course or courses.