Assessing Cognitive Objectives

Assessment of Cognitive Objectives

This document illustrates how a well-written objective assists one in developing valid assessment instruments. Cognitive objectives are illustrated here.

Goals & Objectives

Develop understanding of a literary piece by "casting" appropriate cartoon figures from modern popular culture, who reflect the personalities of the original literary characters, in a hypothetical movie or TV version of the piece.


Given a character in a piece of literature,

    1. The student will select a cartoon character whose traits resemble that of the literary character.
    2. The student be able to list five major personality traits that the two share and any key differences.
    3. The student will develop a short storyboard (of no more than 10 scenes) for a movie script that illustrates how the cartoon character would interact in the movie version of the story (including other characters as needed).

Purpose of Assessment

To see if can students form appropriate correlations between characters, motifs or themes in a classic piece of literature to those found in modern culture.

Possible Biases

  1. Students who did not grow up in the United States may not be familiar with certain cartoon characters, due to cultural differences, or simply because of lack of exposure to the cartoon genre. In these cases, the instructor may want to assist the student in choosing two characters (cartoon or otherwise, fictional or non-fictional) the student is familiar with, so the student can complete the assignment without negative bias.
  2. Some students may feel uncomfortable with their artistic skills. Since demonstration of artistic abilities is not one of the objectives, instructors can allow for a range of media such as a written script, audio recording or incorporation of photographs.

Assessment Procedure

Project Specifications

  1. The student will list five major personality traits shared by the literary character and cartoon character and at least one difference between the two characters. These are perceived traits, and are not judged by the instructor as to their correctness.
  2. The student will write a paragraph summarizing why they made the decision to connect a particular cartoon character to the literary character. The paragraph should include alternate "runner-ups" and reasons why they were not used.
  3. Then the student would develop short storyboard (no more than 10 scenes) for a cartoon that illustrates three to five of the major shared traits. The storyboard could be plain text (one paragraph would comprise a frame), rough sketches (one sketch per frame), colored drawings (one drawing per frame), or any combination thereof.
    The instructor(s) would assess the storyboard by examining how well the modern cartoon character fits in as the classic character. The themes of the original piece should be recognizable even if certain details have been changed. The instructor(s) should use a provided rubric, like the one below,to assign a score to the student.

Conditions of Assessment

  • Student must have time to complete the project and be pointed to resources they can use to create the storyboard.
  • Ideally, two or more instructors would assess a given student, as the assessment is partially subjective in nature.

Validity Defense

  • Overt, measurable actions are used to assess the student.
  • All assessment tasks work together in that they are assessing a synthesis task. (Internal structure evidence.)
  • This type of assessment is easy to use and provides overt, non-ambiguous results. (Practicality evidence.)
  • No negative or unexpected side effects are foreseen when this assessment is used. (Consequential evidence.)

Reliability Assessment

  • Subjectivity is minimized through the use of a rubric.
  • Two or more judges are recommended to improve reliability of assessors. (Inter-rater reliability).

Assessment Rubric

Directions: For each individual, use the following scale to assign a value to the individual's performance on each item listed in the left column. Place an X in the most appropriate square to the right of each item. The total possible points for this assignment is 36.

Rubric on Comparing Characters
Comparison of Traits

3 - Excellent

The match is highly congruent

2 - Fair

The match is somewhat congruent, but there are differences in degree between the two characters.

1 - Poor

The trait is not shared by both characters

Trait 1      
Trait 2      
Trait 3      
Trait 4      
Trait 5      
Trait 6 (Difference)      


Character Analysis Rubric
Analysis of Character Selection 3 - Excellent

The student’s work on this point is flawless.

2 - Fair

The student’s work on this point is adequate, but open to argument.

1 - Poor

The student’s work on this point lacks execution or is ill-argued.

Appropriate identification of key traits for original character      
Final selection of character based on shared traits      
Appropriate selection of runner-ups      
Text flows gracefully from point to point and arguments are easy to follow      


Storyboard Rubric 1
Traits in Storyboard 3 - Excellent

The storyboard illustrates four or more key traits in action.

2 - Fair

The storyboard illustrates two or three key points only

1 - Poor

The student used at most one of the key traits in the storyboard.



Storyboard Rubric 2
Storyboard Coherence 3 - Excellent

The adaptation of the original story to the cartoon character is completely natural.

2 - Fair

The adaptation of the original story to the cartoon character is adequate, but a little stilted.

1 - Poor

The adaptation contrived and does not match the character or history of the cartoon character.


Total Score: ________ (out of 36 possible points)