It is the start of the school year, and many teachers are busy making course outlines for their new courses. Course outlines have all the typical categories like expectations and materials that won’t change, but the evaluation category and anything you are describing about the goals of the course will likely need revision.
Steps in making an outcomes-based course outline:
- List the outcomes of the curriculum, but be sure to use student-friendly language. That might mean changing something like “Evaluate one’s understanding of wellness while participating in various learning opportunities that balance the dimensions of wellness (i.e., physical, psychological, social, spiritual, environmental)” to “I can accurately evaluate my physical, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental wellness.” The goal of stating the outcomes in your course outline is to ensure your students understand exactly what they will need to demonstrate. Putting curricula outcomes in plain language makes that easier.
- Describe how the various outcomes will contribute to the student’s mark by describing the weighting of the outcomes in the overall mark. You can reference specific assessments, but you don’t need to. Remember that final summative assessments, like a final exam, still need to be mapped to specific outcomes when you assess them. When you are moving to outcomes-based assessment, you’ll likely find some of your current assessments are generally related to outcomes, but not designed to specifically evaluate them, so you’ll need to do some revising. Look over all the indicators to see the breadth and depth of the outcome.
For example, you might be teaching Arts Ed 9 and have student playing music as a part of the music strand, but not having them compose as the outcome requires. Outcome CP9.8 says “Combine the elements of music and principles of composition to express unified musical ideas.” It has the following indicators:
- “Pose questions to initiate and guide inquiry into how best to combine elements of music and principles of composition to express musical ideas (e.g., How could we combine the rhythms that we’ve learned to create a Latin feel in this piece?).
- Investigate ways that beat, accent, and metre can be used to create a specific ‘feel’ in music.
- Investigate ways that tempo, rhythm, melody, harmonic structure, or tonality can be used to express an idea or emotional quality in music.
- Use silence effectively in music.
- Demonstrate understanding of how music elements and composition principles create form and structure in music.
- Analyze how elements of music and principles of composition are used in combination to create unified compositions and apply this understanding in own work.”You would want to change your assignment description of playing music to an assignment description of composing music that demonstrates elements and principles of composition.
- Review your outline to ensure you are gathering evidence related to each outcome. No outcomes can be skipped, or just be practiced without being graded.
- Look over your descriptions of your assessment policies to ensure they are consistent with the school division policies. In Saskatoon Public, use administrative procedure 360 and the secondary assessment handbook. References to mark deductions for late assignments, automatic zeros etc. need to be removed.