by Ken Nehrbass You've heard "Every objective needs to be assessed." But sometimes professors have many objectives throughout a course-- yet they don't want to assign busy work (and don't want to grade a zillion assignments!) Imagine if you have three objectives per module, for 14 modules-- do you really need to have 42 assignments (one each week for each objective)? No- that may be unnecessary and even unrealistic. You have a few very good options for assessing all your objectives: Reduce the number of module objectives: True, you may have students engage in several learning activities in this module (watch a video on operant conditioning, participate in a seminar on behaviorism, read chapters in their textbook on behaviorism) - but why did you assign those activities? Did you want students to be able to describe the theory of operant conditioning; or to summarize research on behaviorism; or to organize theories of behavior change? If you know what your over-arching objective is, you can create the best assignment to assess that objective, and then re-evaluate whether you have chosen the best learning activities for them to be successful with that assignment.1Assess several objectives in a single assignment: Suppose you do have several objectives in a module. You can have a single assessment that covers several objectives. For example, if you want students to "evaluate Kuhn's theory of paradigm shifts" they must first describe a paradigm shift (this would be objective 1), then summarize research since Kuhn, on paradigm shifts (this would be objective 2) and then evaluate the theory (that would be objective 3). An evaluative essay would allow you to assess students' abilities to do all three of these objectives in one assignment.Spread your module out over several weeks: Suppose you have students spend four weeks doing learning activities so they are able to write a literature review. The learning objective over these four weeks would be "Students will create a review of literature." But suppose you envisioned that the first week students would read from their textbook and watch a lecture on lit reviews. The next week they would use the library to gather sources. Next week they would write an outline and organize their thoughts; and by week four they would have a draft. Is this four modules with four different objectives- which all need to be assessed? Or is it one module that lasts four weeks long? You could do this either way. The "four module" option would look like this: Module Objective Module 1: "Students will discuss principles for writing lit reviews." Module 2: "Students will list sources related to their topic." Module 3: "Students will organize their literature." Module 4: "Students will evaluate the existing literature- assessed by their literature review paper." Assessment Module 1: Discussion board on principles for writing lit reviews Module 2: Upload of list Module 3: Upload of lit review outline Module 4: Upload of literature review Learning Activities Module 1: Lecture on Lit reviews; readings on designing lit reviews Module 2: Research in the library Module 3: Readings on how to write an outline in APA format Module 4: Readings and lectures on criteria for evaluating sources On the other hand, you may not see this as four modules, four weeks, with four assignments. You may have a single module that lasts four weeks long, like this: Module 1 (weeks 1 through 4) objective: "Students will evaluate the existing literature." What if there's a huge assignment due at the end of the semester? It is becoming industry standard for the assessment points to be spread out evenly across the term: If you have a 14 week semester, about 7% of the graded assessments would be assigned each week. If you have a major paper worth 30% of the grade, you could break it up into four parts, and have one part due each week, in weeks 10 through 13. 1 Experts in course design have discovered that it would be much better for you to start with your objectives, not your learning activities. Once you know your objectives, choose the right learning activities. See Wiggins and McTighe (2005). Understanding by Design. ASCD.