Making Your Course Better Through Measurable Objectives


Meeting QM Standards is not about passing or failing. It is about continuous improvement — finding ways to make your course better from the student’s perspective. During the review process, we see many K-12 courses in need of continuous improvement when it comes to measurable objectives. Many courses do not meet Standard 2.1, which relates to course-level objectives, and Standard 2.2, which deals with module/unit-level objectives.

Standard 2.1: Course-level learning objectives or competencies are measurable and describe what students can expect to learn as a result of successfully completing the course.

Standard 2.2: The module/unit-level objectives or competencies describe outcomes that are measurable and consistent with the course-level objectives.

Measurable course- and module/unit-level objectives are critical course components and are required to evaluate Specific Review Standards 2.1 and 2.2. In fact, if less than 85% of your objectives are not measurable, a course review cannot begin. That’s because these objectives serve as the foundation for your course. Other alignment Standards are directly tied to them and work to support them. So it is important that course developers and reviewers understand these Standards.

According to QM’s Course Review Coordinator Cathy McAfee, measurable objectives must go beyond the concepts of “learn” and “understand.” They need to use words that can be measured and also demonstrate what a student will be able to do as a result of taking the course. For example, words such as “identify,” “produce,” and “explain” can be measured through assignments or assessments and may work to describe what your learners will be able to do.

But what if your course- or module/unit-level learning objectives or competencies are mandated by state, local, or program requirements such as Advanced Placement? Or what if they are based on certain design frameworks such as the Understanding by Design framework by Wiggins and McTighe? In both of these cases, the objectives may not be written in a manner that is measurable. In that case, alternative statements, which appropriately represent these non-measurable statements, must also be present in the course.

To help you create measurable objectives and meet Standards 2.1 and 2.2, join us for K-12 Online Course Design, Applying the QM K-12 Secondary Rubric or Objectives and Alignment: The Framework for Student Success.

Date Published