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Three assessment principles from UbD and DI

As was discussed at the beginning of this module, Tomlinson and McTighe identify three guiding principles for evaluation. The first one is “Consider 'photo albums' as opposed to 'snapshots'”.

A single exam at the end of a course is less likely to provide a complete picture of a student's learning than a collection of several tests that may testify to specific or partial aspects. 

McTighe & Wiggins (2004) suggest a variety of techniques to collect this kind of evidence. They are represented in the infographic below, in the form of pictures on a wall. Each one of them has a short description with references to the other two assessment principles discussed in Section 3.1, namely:

  • Match Measures to Objectives: choosing the right assessment method hence depends on the kind of component of competence (knowledge - skills - attitudes) that we need to collect evidence of.
  • Form Follows Function: if the only form of assessment adopted is summative (rather than formative and diagnostic), there is a risk of failing to gather critically important information during the learning process.

In this module we have learned:

What kind of possible assessment tools can be integrated in a course design, in a “photo album” fashion.

How assessment tools can be used to match measures to objectives.

How form can follow function, especially when assessment is going to be differentiated.


McTighe, J., & Wiggins, G. (2004). The Understanding by Design professional development workbook. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Tomlinson, C. A., & McTighe, J. (2006). Integrating differentiated instruction & understanding by design: connecting content and kids. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

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