Blueprinting assessment to enhance constructive alignment

Boland, Josephine, Finn, Yvonne and Geoghegan, Rosemary (2014) Blueprinting assessment to enhance constructive alignment. In: 16th OTTAWA CONFERENCE, Transforming Healthcare through Excellence in Assessment and Evaluation, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada April 25-29, 2014, Ontario, Canada.


Background : Blueprinting of assessment is advocated as an essential step for enhancing constructive alignment and validity of assessment. It is of particular value in medical education, given the high stakes of the examinations and the need to ensure that we graduate ‘fit-for-purpose’ doctors. Blueprinting represents one of the elements of a comprehensive curriculum mapping strategy. It can be addressed at a range of levels and is promoted as a precursor to effective assessment/test construction. The process of academic simplification of the undergraduate curriculum in the School of Medicine, National University of Ireland Galway has had particular consequence for the clinical years. The associated challenges represented an opportunity to implement blueprinting of assessment. Summary of Work: Medical educators and clinicians from across the clinical years collaborated on a blueprinting process – at macro level (i.e against mandated Medical Council outcomes), at meso/module level (i.e. mapping assessment techniques against learning outcomes) and at a micro level (i. e. mapping assessments against domain, content areas or cases of importance). Initial work has focussed on OSCEs and MCQ/EMQs. Summary of Results: Our experience suggests that blueprinting can serve as an effective quality assurance tool and provides evidence that informs assessment design. Moreover, the collaborative process has fostered greater integration within a spiral curriculum. It has helped identify duplication and omissions of key content areas or under-represented domains. Conclusions: Blueprinting is not just an academic or theoretical exercise. It supports deliberative and collaborative assessment planning, at programmatic (rather than module) level, ultimately, enhancing student learning. Take-home Messages: Blueprinting is a key component of any curriculum mapping strategy

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