Using Category Tagging to Educate with Intention - Guidebook An Outcomes-Centered Approach to Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

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Using Category Tagging to Educate with Intention - Guidebook An Outcomes-Centered Approach to Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

Using Category Tagging
to Educate with Intention
An Outcomes-Centered Approach to Teaching,
Learning, and Assessment
Using Category Tagging to Educate with Intention - Guidebook An Outcomes-Centered Approach to Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
Educators bring specific goals to teaching, learning, and assessment, and category tagging
provides the data necessary to achieve these goals. Learn how a digital assessment
solution with category-tagging capabilities can support intentionality in higher ed. This
guidebook will walk you through the basics of category tagging and provide real-life
examples to help you get started.

1. What Is Category Tagging?
Category tagging is a digital assessment feature that allows educators to connect exam
items and rubric areas to text-based categories. These categories are completely
customizable to accommodate a range of academic subjects and assessment types.
They are also divisible into tiers, allowing a single parent category to house multiple
subcategories. In short, category tagging makes it possible to create a system of categories
and subcategories that correspond to individual questions on an assessment.

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Using Category Tagging to Educate with Intention - Guidebook An Outcomes-Centered Approach to Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
2. Why Use Category Tagging?
Category tagging supports the triangulation of teaching, learning, and assessment, giving
educators the opportunity to tie the topics they’re teaching back to their assessments and
use the results to figure out if students are achieving the necessary learning outcomes.

By connecting exam items and rubric areas to specific categories, category tagging lays the
groundwork for post-exam reporting that details performance in specific content areas.
With insights from these category-based reports, educators can make informed decisions to
support students, courses, and entire programs.

Category tagging gives educators the tools to center assessment on specific learning targets,
which promotes intentionality in the educational process.

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Using Category Tagging to Educate with Intention - Guidebook An Outcomes-Centered Approach to Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
3. What Does It Mean to Educate
with Intention?
In Understanding by Design (UbD), Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe introduce a concept called
“backward design,” which involves identifying learning goals prior to developing content or instructional
strategies. When learning goals serve as the foundation of teaching and assessment, educators can
trace back every content area they teach or assess to these goals. These foundational goals represent
the intention that drives a course or curriculum.

Promoting intentionality in education with this outcomes-centered approach deepens student learning,
both by providing cohesion and consistency across learning activities and reinforcing students’ grasp of
key concepts and ideas. While learning goals vary depending on the nature of the course or program,
category tagging allows educators at all levels and across academic disciplines to generate the reports
they need to gauge performance within each content area, course objective, or programmatic outcome.

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Using Category Tagging to Educate with Intention - Guidebook An Outcomes-Centered Approach to Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
4. What Specific Goals Can Category
Tagging Support?
With category tagging as a framework for every assessment, educators can collect the data they need
to support achievement at the individual student level, at the course level, and even at the program or
institutional level. Category tagging supports the following efforts:

• Fostering Student Success                               • Simplifying Accreditation Review

  - Identify areas where students excel so they can         - Tag exam items to accreditation standards
    make informed career decisions.                           to demonstrate where they are taught and
  - Indicate content areas where students need
    improvement to guide effective study habits.            - Demonstrate the attainment of educational
                                                              outcomes, both in aggregate and at the individual
  - Share exam performance by category, giving
                                                              student level.
    students the autonomy to self-remediate.
                                                            - Provide evidence to accreditors that the program
• Providing Quality Instruction                               continuously evaluates and improves curriculum

  - View performance trends across exam-takers to             and teaching.

    identify course-wide areas of improvement.
                                                          • Improving Curriculum Design
  - Identify which instructional methods and
                                                            - Identify and eliminate content gaps within
    teachings are working and which aren’t.
                                                              instruction and assessment.
  - Understand the distribution of time needed to
                                                            - Demonstrate progress on teaching and assessing
    effectively reinforce topics in class.
                                                              learning goals over the semester.

• Delivering Effective Exams                                - Show the correlation between assessment

  - Build exam blueprints to define exam content              topics and the topics covered in classes and

    based on the subject areas covered in teaching.           assignments.

  - Use performance statistics to identify which exam
    items will best accomplish learning goals.
                                                            Common Category Types
  - Ensure exams are well balanced, fair, and reliable       • Course Objectives           • Board/Licensure Exam
    by tagging exam items to difficulty levels, such as      • Programmatic Outcomes       • Accreditation Standards

    Bloom’s Taxonomy.                                        • Core Curricular Areas       • Professional Competencies
                                                             • Bloom’s Taxonomy            • Non-Cognitve Skills

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Using Category Tagging to Educate with Intention - Guidebook An Outcomes-Centered Approach to Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
5. What Reporting Is Possible with
Category Tagging?
Having a system for category tagging in place makes it possible to generate focused reports that reveal
performance insights for each category. Data from these reports can help educators track progress on
the goals or intentions they bring to teaching, learning, and assessment. Below are three examples of
category-based reporting:

Category Reports for
Individual Students
Students tend to be most familiar with quiz or
exam material immediately after completing an
assessment. Providing detailed performance
feedback can deepen student learning and guide
study efforts, especially when students receive
this feedback shortly after testing.

Sharing these reports with students helps
to contextualize their final score with their
performance in each category included on
the assessment. Category-based reporting
can give students meaningful feedback on
their performance without revealing specific
questions and answers on a quiz or exam.
When students know the categories in which
they excel, as well as the areas that require
improvement, educators can turn every
assessment into a valuable learning opportunity.

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Using Category Tagging to Educate with Intention - Guidebook An Outcomes-Centered Approach to Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
Course-Wide Category Reports
When delivering instruction to large courses or multiple sections of a course, educators may find it
difficult to know if their teaching methods are effective across the board. While assessment is a good
way to gauge instructional effectiveness, it can be challenging to observe performance trends across
every quiz and exam delivered throughout the semester.

Category tagging can help you analyze performance data across multiple assessments in a single
course or in many courses. These course-wide reports show the areas where most students are doing
well and where they are struggling, which helps educators to identify the topics they may need to revisit
in their teaching.

Educators can also configure these reports to show category performance over a selected period and
gauge the efficacy of instructional adjustments over time. With longitudinal data to observe course
performance, each assessment represents a chance for educators to check in on students’ progress
and make instructional changes to strengthen their grasp of required outcomes and achieve key
learning targets.

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Using Category Tagging to Educate with Intention - Guidebook An Outcomes-Centered Approach to Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
Programmatic Category Performance
Program administrators are responsible for ensuring that courses within the curricula are on track to
achieve certain goals, such as programmatic outcomes and accreditation standards. A category tagging
tool makes it easy to view content coverage across multiple courses and assessments.

By implementing category tagging across courses within a program, administrators can generate
reports that reveal performance trends, identify any at-risk categories, and observe any content area
gaps — for single courses or multiple courses. With these insights, programs can strengthen their
curricula to ensure all courses are on track with required objectives.

Administrators can also customize the reports to show trends in performance over time. These
longitudinal reports demonstrate compliance with accreditation standards and show accreditors
that the program is engaged in the continuous improvement of teaching, learning, and assessment
necessary to earn and maintain accreditation.

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6. Real Examples of How Educators Are
Using Category Tagging

Sullivan University, College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Goal:         Reveal performance trends and content coverage at the course and program level.

Categories: Faculty Name, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Content Area, Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Education (CAPE)
              Outcome, Pharmacy Curriculum Outcomes Assessment (PCOA) Standard

Results:      The Office of Academic Affairs and Assessment (OAcA) runs longitudinal performance reports to demonstrate
              that the PharmD and Physician Assistant programs are meeting the required criteria.

                                                  Read the Full Case Study

University of Toledo, College of Nursing – Maternal-Child Course

Goal:         Explore the effectiveness of empathy-building exercises with pre-intervention and post-intervention assessments.

Categories: Non-cognitive, interpersonal skills

Results:      While this research is still in progress, these pre- and post-intervention assessments are intended to determine
              if the exercises are effectively developing students’ empathy skills toward patient populations.

                                                  Read the Full Case Study

William Carey University, School of Pharmacy

Goal:         Generate programmatic performance reports to support the accreditation process.

Categories: Educational Outcomes and Competencies (EOCs), Ability-Based Outcomes (ABOs), Levels of Learning.

Results:      These programmatic reports have provided a birds-eye view of performance to streamline accreditation visits
              and illustrate improvements from curricular adjustments.

                                                  Read the Full Case Study

                                                                               Using Category Tagging to Educate with Intention | 9
Are You Ready to Get Started
with Category Tagging?
ExamSoft’s data-driven assessment platform gives educators the tools to create
a custom category-tagging system and access pre-built reports for individual
students, courses, and programs, all to achieve goals related to teaching, learning,
and assessment.

      Contact us to learn how ExamSoft supports an outcomes-centered
      approach to education.

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About Turnitin
Turnitin is a global company dedicated to ensuring the integrity of education and
meaningfully improving learning outcomes. For more than 20 years, Turnitin has
partnered with educational institutions to promote honesty, consistency, and fairness
across all subject areas and assessment types. Our products are used by educational
institutions and certification and licensing programs to uphold integrity and increase
learning performance, and by students and professionals to do their best, original work.

About ExamSoft
ExamSoft is the digital assessment platform that helps institutions achieve higher
levels of course, program, and student success. With an intuitive testing application,
ExamSoft makes it simple to create, administer, and grade exams, and generate detailed
performance reports from the results — all to provide educators with a complete and
accurate view of student learning.

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