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Creating high challenge/high support academic environments through constructive alignment : student outcomes
journal contributionposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Helen Larkin, Ben Richardson
Higher education needs to provide challenging yet supportive learning environments catering for students with diverse academic needs. There is also an emphasis on using student-driven outcome measures to determine teaching effectiveness. How can these measures be used to reflect upon and evaluate teaching initiatives? Using an undergraduate occupational therapy programme as the site for exploration, this article reports on an application of constructive alignment principles and describes how available empirical data were used to explore student outcomes. A comparison was made between student evaluations and academic grades prior to, and after the implementation of the initiative. Results provide evidence of improvement in student satisfaction and academic grades as a result of implementing constructive alignment. Whilst it is acknowledged that changes in academic grades and student evaluations can be attributed to a number of factors, findings of this study support a view that constructive alignment facilitates students' learning and experiences.