Curriculum alignment in course design starts with the end in mind (Biggs, 1999). It means ensuring that the learning outcomes (purpose) are in alignment with teaching strategies and assessment.
In curriculum alignment the teacher’s responsibility is to create a supportive and challenging learning environment for all students where the learning activities, assessment tools, and learning outcomes are connected. To do this, the instructor must have a clear idea of what they want the students to be able to do by the end of the course or session.
When matching goals, teaching strategies, and assessment tools, the instructor should consider:
- What are the ‘desired’ outcomes?
- What teaching methods require students to behave in ways that are likely to achieve those outcomes?
- What assessment tasks will tell us if the actual outcomes match those that are intended or desired? (Biggs, 1999)
By teaching a course in which purpose, teaching, and assessment are aligned, a relationship of trust with students is created. When students are told what they should be able to demonstrate (learning outcomes), but are not assessed on these outcomes, they understandably feel confused and cheated. When teachers have clear learning outcomes, teach to and assess those outcomes, they may build a trusting relationship with their students.