Congruence table

As a teacher, you are at least partly responsible for one or more modules. When determining the content, design and testing of a module, it is important to consider the larger whole within which this module belongs: the programme curriculum. One tool to use in coordinating your module to the programme curriculum is the completion of a ‘congruence table’.

How does it work?

  1. Look up the programme competencies for the programme in which you are teaching. They can usually be found in the prospectus. If necessary, you could ask one of the coordinators of the programme.
  2. Keep the list of learning objectives for your module at hand. For a new module, these learning objectives must be constructed.
  3. Create a table in which the learning objectives are positioned in relation to the programme competencies: which programme competencies do you seek to achieve through the learning objectives, and which do you not address? Most importantly, can you justify these choices? (For example, because your course is not a practical, there might not be a learning objective that contributes to a programme competency with regard to practical-experimental skills.)
    • If so, the learning objectives of your module are in congruence with the programme competencies, and your module contributes to their realisation.
    • If not, this indicates a discrepancy between the objectives of your module and the programme competencies. This provides cause to reconsider the learning objectives (and, subsequently, the associated content, design and testing) of your module and/or to discuss the identified discrepancy with your colleagues or the coordinator of the programme.

If every teacher in a programme completes this exercise, it will be possible to determine the extent to which the programme competencies are sufficiently covered by the various modules (and their learning objectives). If certain programme competencies are not addressed or addressed only in a summary manner, it will be necessary to investigate a remedy for this situation. Each programme competency should be of central importance (and thus also tested) in at least one module (and preferably in more than one). Excessive overlap can also be detected in this manner. In the future, teachers who are pursuing the same competencies could cooperate where possible, thereby achieving greater integration between the modules in a curriculum.

Constructive coordination for modules

Developing a module is not an easy task. Instructors are regularly confronted with a number of questions and difficulties, for example: ‘How do I know which teaching methods are suitable for this module?’ ‘How should I evaluate?’ In the following section, we present several tips that could help you in the further development of a module:

  • Formulate clear learning objectives
    As an initial step, formulate clear learning objectives that you would like for the students to have achieved by the end of the module. These learning objectives should be congruent with a number of competencies that have been formulated at the programme level. The following could be an example of a learning objective within the module General Psychology: ‘Students are able to explain the behaviour of people in simple situations in terms of psychological mechanisms’.

  • Select teaching methods
    Select teaching methods that will help the students to achieve the specified learning objectives. For example, applied to the learning objective stated above, one suitable teaching method could be a case assignment, in which students are asked to explain particular behaviours. The students must explain the behaviour presented in the case in terms of psychological mechanisms that have thus far been addressed in the course. In the selection of teaching methods, it is also important to consider several conditions, including student characteristics (e.g. size of the student group, educational level of the students). Some teaching methods are more suitable for large or small groups. It is easier to carry out a case exercise in a small group of students than it is in a large group of students. In addition, contextual factors are important in the selection of teaching methods. Some teaching methods require a certain type of infrastructure (e.g. separate tables and chairs or an overhead projector).
  • Select an evaluation method
    Select an evaluation method that will test the stated objectives in a suitable manner. Once again applied to the learning objective presented above, it is clear that a knowledge test that focuses exclusively on the students’ knowledge of psychological mechanisms would not be suitable. A more appropriate form in this regard would be a case test, in which students are presented with a situation and asked to explain the behaviour in terms of psychological mechanisms. It is also important to maintain congruence between the manner of testing and the teaching methods that are used within the module throughout the academic year. If you choose to test students based on case exercises, it is important to allow the students an opportunity to practice this throughout the academic year.