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UNMC530 Good Practice in Higher Education: Curriculum Design


UNHE501 - Curriculum Design, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education

Unit rationale, description and aim

As a tertiary educator, your knowledge, comprehension and skills in understanding the role that assessment plays in higher education and its design are fundamental to your professional role. Building upon your understanding of learning and teaching foundations and concepts in higher education and principles of good curriculum design from preceding micro-credentials (UNMC510, UNMC520 and UNMC530), in this micro-credential you will evaluate the constructive alignment of the assessment in a unit you teach. In doing so, this will make you aware of the principles of good practice of assessment design, and how this extends from the principles of curriculum design. You will examine and reflect on these principles in relation to your assessment strategy and that of others in order to help you to develop your understanding of them.  

You will learn each step progressively in a scholarly way basing good assessment principles on evidence and a real-world imperative. Along with critical reflection, these skills are invaluable in underpinning the development of your scholarship of teaching. Therefore, this micro-credential aims to develop your knowledge, comprehension and application skills in assessment design, and to gain an understanding of educational evaluation practices. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Communicate knowledge and comprehension of the principles underpinning assessment design principles in higher education. (GA3, GA5) 

LO2 - Evaluate and improve unit’s assessment design used in higher education in a scholarly way. (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8) 

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include: 

  • Good assessment design principles. 
  • The concept of assessment, the purpose of assessment, formative and summative assessment, validity and reliability, principles of good practice in assessment.  
  • Designing effective assessment.  
  • Formulation of assessment criteria, marking, grading, moderation, and benchmarking.  
  • Policy matters relating to assessment design.  
  • The concept of evaluation, evaluative critique of assessment. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Participants of this micro-credential are predominantly academics whose geographical location is widespread. These participants are adults, all of whom are qualified with at least one tertiary degree. Participants have expertise that collectively spans the full range of disciplines taught by a university. Their experience in tertiary teaching is diverse. Notwithstanding that some participants have decades of experience as tertiary teachers resulting in considerable ‘practice wisdom’, and some participants bring formal disciplinary expertise in higher education with a scholarly base. All participants in this micro-credential will however have completed UNMC510, UNMC520 and UNMC530 (or the equivalent) and will therefore have acquired a very good knowledge of learning and teaching foundations and curriculum design principles in a higher education context respectively. Further they will have developed a very good understanding of the key concepts, principles and theories in key educational literature, and will have applied this to an analysis and improvement of their own teaching.  

This micro-credential will build on this foundation by helping all participants to progressively develop their knowledge, understanding and skills to include assessment design through a lens of an evaluation of educational programs. As with the preceding micro-credentials, this developmental progression needs to be informed by learning and teaching foundations, the needs and circumstances of their students, institutional mission and its teaching and learning policies, and other governance requirements in the higher education sector.  

This micro-credential is delivered using an online mode of delivery, and will be facilitated primarily through online forums and webinars. This capitalises on the maturity and capability of the participants, their understanding of learning and teaching foundations from UNMC510 and UNMC520 and extending the knowledge of curriculum design principles from UNMC530. It provides equitable access to a full provision of learning experiences within which a community of scholars can continue to be developed. 

This online engagement will be supplemented by telephone and email communication as requested by individual participants. Individualised textual feedback on your formative and summative assessment tasks is provided to support your continuing development and refinement of your project as you progress in this micro-credential. 

The micro-credential is structured as a progressive, constructive, developmental narrative that supports participants’ learning through a sequence of three overlapping learning stages. In each stage, the nature of the learning and the nature of the teaching supports provided are different but complementary. Each stage builds on the next so that learning from one act as necessary foundation for the next.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy in this micro-credential needs to consist of a developmental sequence of interconnected tasks that supports the educational purpose of each of the three stages described above as these are replicated for each topic area. The assessment needs to progressively assess the learning outcomes which are in the same constructive developmental sequence.  

The first task comprises a formative learning activity that relates to the knowledge, comprehension and skills in relation to assessment design. This task relates primarily to scaffolds participants’ learning for learning outcome 1.  

The second assessment task is a summative task that extends the participants’ thinking from the first task in a way that allows participants them to apply their understanding of the inter-relationships between learning and teaching foundations in the educational literature to the redevelopment and justification of assessment in a higher education context. This must use the participants’ developing knowledge and conceptual understanding of the principles and theories contained within the scholarly higher educational literature related to assessment.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Formative assessment 

Giving thought to the concepts of the need for a unit rationale and constructive alignment principles, write a critique of the assessment strategy and tasks within one unit, citing appropriate educational and assessment related published literature.  

Note: The unit you pick should preferably be yours or one that you teach into as it will be the focus of the subsequent assignment. 

Guide length: between 1000 and 1200 words. Not including the reference list. 


GA3, GA5 

Assessment Task 2: Summative assessment 

Utilising the concepts of constructive alignment, assessment design principles, and referencing appropriate published literature, re-develop and justify the assessment strategy and tasks within one unit you teach into.  

Guide length: between 1800 and 2000 words. Not including the reference list.  

LO1, LO2

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8

Representative texts and references

Required text 

No text is required, but there are several required and recommended readings. A number of key readings have been made available through the University’s copyright library Leganto which can be found in the Required and recommended readings tab in LEO. 

Recommended and suggested readings 

Angelo, T. (2012). Designing subjects for learning: practical research – based principles and guidelines. In University Teaching in Focus: A learning-centred approach. Lynne Hunt and Denise Chalmers (Eds.), pp.93-111. ACER Press. 

Biggs, J. (2014). Constructive alignment in university teaching: HERDSA Review of Higher Education1, 5–22. 

Biggs, J. B., & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university (4th ed.). London: McGraw-Hill Education. 

Bloxham, S., & Boyd, P. (2007). Developing Effective Assessment in Higher Education: A Practical Guide: A Practical Guide. London: McGraw-Hill Education. 

Bloxham, S, den-Outer, B, Hudson, J., & Price, M. (2016). Let’s stop the pretence of consistent marking: exploring the multiple limitations of assessment criteria, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education41(3), 466-481. 

Boud, D., & Associates. (2010). Assessment 2020: Seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education. Sydney, Australian Learning and Teaching Council. 

Boud, D., & Soler, R. (2016). Sustainable assessment revisited. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education41(3), 400-413. 

Conole, G. (2014). The 7Cs of learning design – a new approach to rethinking design practice. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Networked Learning 2014, pp.502-509.  

Fry, H., Ketteridge, S., & Marshall, S. (2008). A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education: Enhancing academic practice. London: Routledge. 

Hounsell, D. (2009). Evaluating courses and teaching. In H. Fry, S. Ketteridge & S. Marshall (Eds.), A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education: Enhancing academic practice, 3rd ed., pp. 40-57. London: Routledge. 

Huitt, W. (2011). Bloom et al.'s taxonomy of the cognitive domain. Educational psychology interactive22

Hunt, L., & Chalmers, D. (Eds.) (2013). University teaching in focus: a learning-centred approach. London: Routledge. 

Knowles, M. S., Holton III, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (2015). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development (7th ed.). London: Routledge. 

Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom's taxonomy: An overview. Theory into practice41(4), 212-218. 

Meyers, N. M., & Nulty, D. D. (2009). How to use (five) curriculum design principles to align authentic learning environments, assessment, students’ approaches to thinking and learning outcomes. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education34(5), 565-577. 

Naylor, R., Baik, C., Asmar, C., Watty, K. (2014). Good feedback practices. Centre for Higher Education. Melbourne, Vic: University of Melbourne. 

Nicol, D.J., & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2016). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, (31)2, 199-218. 

Norton, L. (2009). Assessing student learning. In H. Fry, S. Ketteridge, & S. Marshall (Eds.), A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education: enhancing academic practice. 3rd ed, pp.132-149. Routledge, London. 

Potter, M. K., & Kustra, E. (2012). A primer on learning outcomes and the SOLO taxonomy. Course Design for Constructive Alignment, 1-22. 

Prosser, M., & Trigwell, K. (2014). Qualitative variation in approaches to university teaching and learning in large first-year classes. Higher Education67, 783-795. 

Race, P. (2014). Making learning happen: A guide for post-compulsory education. London: Sage Publication. 

Race, P. (2019). The lecturer's toolkit: A practical guide to assessment, learning and teaching (5th ed.). London: Routledge. 

Sadler, R. (2005). Interpretations of criteria-based assessment and grading in higher education. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education30, 175-194. 

Sadler, R. (2009). Grade integrity and the representation of academic achievement. Studies in Higher Education34, 807-826. 

Smith, C. (2008). Building effectiveness in teaching through targeted evaluation and response: Connecting evaluation to teaching improvement in higher education, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education33, 517-533. 

Stefani, L. (2009). Planning teaching and learning: Curriculum design and development. In H. Fry, S. Ketteridge & S. Marshall (Eds.), A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education: Enhancing academic practice (3rd ed., pp.40-57. London: Routledge. 

Thomas, T. (2018). Implementing first-year assessment principles: An analysis of selected scholarly literature. Student Success9(2), 25-38. 

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