As more instructors articulate learning objectives for their students within one course, or academic staff collaborate to articulate learning outcomes for programs, a robust means to assess student performance within these becomes increasingly important. The Examinations Institute of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Division of Chemical Education, has recently published content maps that utilise a structure of subdiscipline-independent fundamental concepts narrowing down to content details that are specific to subdisciplines. This structure has then been utilised to align items and can be used to assess student performance throughout a program. Learning objectives that are designed for a course can then be aligned to the framework and used to gauge student learning within a course or across a program. One key to making well-informed instructional decisions is to obtain as much valid information from such assessment work as possible. This paper describes the combination of using a rubric for assigning complexity with scaling student performance to gauge achieving learning objectives that are aligned to fundamental concepts in the content maps in general chemistry and organic chemistry. It can be argued that information in these forms can provide useful guidance for designing improved instruction.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/thomas_holme/26/